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Jumpstart Your College Applications



Why start now when even the earliest applications are due in November?

Because filling in information now gives students more breathing room before application deadlines.

Colleges and universities make their applications available in August of every year. This is true for both public and private schools. Intrepid and forward thinking students get started on the applications early so they can pay more attention when it comes down to crunch time. And, more importantly they can get their applications filed well before the deadline when the servers crash and 99% of the other students are racing to apply.

Personal information, transcript classes and grades, extra-curricular activities won't change before November, so get all of that information entered before senior year activities and homework start piling up.

Don’t worry if you haven’t narrowed down, or even started, your college list. You will be applying to public or private schools, many of which share applications or application platforms.

Hints and Tips:

  • Create a professional email address that your grandmother would like.

  • Disable pop-up blockers.

  • Create a user name and password for the application sites and WRITE IT DOWN!

  • Enter your name exactly the same on all documents.

  • Get a copy of your high school transcript, and your middle school one if you took the advanced math track. Some colleges accept math and language courses from middle school to fulfill requirements. Don't try to remember which class and which grade, get the real info.

  • Enter your 12th grade classes as “pending” or “in progress.”

  • Create a comprehensive list of extracurricular activities, including volunteerism, work experiences, significant family obligations like child or family member care. List when these activities took place and calculate the amount of time spent doing them.

  • Work on essays or short answers offline and paste them in when fully polished.

  • Print out this handy hint list

  • Take a breath and smile! You finished the boring part of the application and got it out of the way!

Applications, which ones and why….

Community Colleges each have their own applications. Start them NOW for Fall 2017 and get an application number. Once you have your application number, you can be first in line to get your student ID in Spring. The earlier your register in Spring the more likely you are to get your classes of choice.


University of California (“UC”) Applications

  • The nine UC campuses share one application.

  • Choose your desired schools and rank them in order of preference.

  • Applications submissions are accepted Nov. 1 through Nov. 30

  • Apply EARLY do not wait until Nov. 30th!

  • Essays and personal statements have been replaced by personal insight short answer questions limited to 350 words each. Choose 4 out of 8 questions.

  • UCs do not require letters of recommendation, with the exception of specific programs at specific universities. Notice will be sent after applications are received.

  • $70 fee for each school applied to. Fee waivers available.

  • For application, information, and questions: http://www.admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/how-to-apply

California State University (“CSU”)


  • The 23 CSU campuses share one website portal: CSU Mentor.

  • Each school has its own application and requirements.

  • Fill out, complete, and submit one application first. Once submitted, the common information will populate into all other applications.

  • Applications submissions are accepted Oct. 1 through Nov. 30.

  • Apply EARLY do not wait until Nov. 30th!

  • CSUs do not require essays.

  • Eligibility depends on a combination of GPA and ACT or SAT test scores. However, impacted campuses or majors may allow them as an option.

  • $55 fee for each application. Fee waivers available for up to four applications only.

  • For application, information, and questions: http://www.csumentor.edu/AdmissionApp


Common Application (“Common App”): Private Colleges and Universities

  • 700 private colleges and universities use the Common App.

  • While the Common App. is accepted by all schools, some schools require supplemental essays, short answer essays, additional test scores, and other information.

  • Start the application and choose the list of desired colleges.

  • Keep track of the specific requirements for each school.

  • Agree to waive your FERPA rights. It is strongly suggested that you waive your right to read recommendation letters ahead of time (FERPA waiver). Colleges and recommendation writers believe the letters are more truthful. Each school has its own policy regarding the waiver and it may disadvantage the applicant if they refuse to wave the FERPA rights. ONLY pick teachers you know and trust to write your letters.

  • Fees range from 0 to $80 for each school.

  • Early Decision and Early Action application deadlines start on Nov. 1st.

  • Regular application deadlines range from January 1 through February 15. Some schools’ deadlines are in March or April, others have rolling admissions.

  • For application, information, and questions: http://www.commonapp.org


Coalition Application (Coalition App): Some private and public schools

  • New application being rolled out this year by the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. A coalition of schools intending to increase access for low income, first generation, and underrepresented students.

  • Intended to be used by 90 schools. All but a few schools will still accept the Common App or state applications. This will change if the application is successful.

  • Has its own essay prompts and requirements.

  • Suggested that students use other applications this year unless specifically required by a college. There may be technical problems with the rollout.

  • Allows all high school students to upload and save items in a secure locker that allows them to be added to applications. Locker is intended for graded papers, performance recordings, art, thoughts, essays, etc. which can be uploaded to applications if desired.

  • Fees vary by school. Fee waivers available.

  • For application, information, and questions: http://www.coalitionforcollegeaccess.org/


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