Have any questions? Call (530) 244-4022

The College Application Process

When to apply?

Community College:Some applications available in the fall, others become available throughout the year

CSU: October 1 – November 30 Initial filing period. Absolute deadline

UC: November 1 – November 30 Available August 1, submitted Nov 1-30 Absolute deadline

Private Colleges/Universities:  Varies – check with school Generally November – February

Before You Begin…

  1. Obtain your transcripts from high school Counselor/Registrar (allow 2-3 days)
  2. Obtain your test scores (allow 2 weeks)
    SAT Reasoning and Subject: www.collegeboard.com
    ACT: www.act.org
  3. Write your essay in a word processing program (UC and private applications)
  4. Decide which campuses and which majors/programs you want to apply to
  5. Request letters of recommendation (private/independent schools)

Calculate Your GPA

It is a good idea to calculate your GPA to determine which campuses you will be eligible to apply to. Also, most applications will ask you to self report your GPA, but they will do their own calculation as well.

“Academic 10-12 GPA”

Grades from A-G approved courses only:

Not required for Community College applications

Private/Independent Colleges-Follow directions on the application

Will included courses taken during summer after 9th grade, 10th grade, summer after 10th grade, 11th grade, and the summer after 11th grade . Cal Poly includes 9th grade A-G courses

  •   +/- does not count
  • Designated honors and AP courses may be weighted. Follow directions included in the online application tutorial.

College Entrance Exams

Community College: None required however, the SAT Reasoning or ACT can be used for placement purposes at some schools

Private: varies. Typically SAT Reasoning or ACT (some also need SAT Subject Tests)

UC: SAT Reasoning or ACT (with writing).

  • OPTIONAL: SAT Subject Tests in different subject areas
  • December test dates at the latest

CSU: SAT Reasoning or ACT

  •  Taking the tests earlier is better.
  • Can be taken as late as December of your senior year, but check with colleges to be sure.Private: varies.Typically SAT Reasoning or ACT (some also need SAT Subject Tests)

Additional Application Materials

Letters of recommendation

  •  Community colleges, CSU and UC – not required
  • Private schools – typically required
  • Common requirement for scholarships
  • Allow letter writers at least 3 weeks
  • Follow directions about whether to include with application or send directly to the school
  • Be sure to give a thank you note to anyone who writes a letter of recommendation for you
    Sending transcripts

Sending transcripts

  • UC and CSU – send in July after graduation requirements are verified or sooner (but only if they request them from you)
  • Private – follow application directions

Test Scores

  • Request test scores to be sent directly to the schools at time of application


Pay Special Attention to…

Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

  • UC: check box “yes”, discuss why in personal statement; no additional application
  • CSU: check “yes” on EOP question, go to EOP section on csumentor.edu website, complete separate application to each CSU campus you are applying to

Extended Opportunity Programs and Services (EOPS)

  • Community College version of EOP-separate application required

UC application is also the scholarship application

  • Can indicate up to 16 scholarships; look at descriptions carefully
  • A few require an additional application-be sure to check with your department/major

How Do They Decide?

Community College

  • 18 years old or High School Diploma or pass the CAHSEE


  • GPA in 10th and 11th (Cal Poly 9-11th) grades
  • ACT or SAT Reasoning test scores
  • Decision notification by March 15th


  • GPA in 10th and 11th grades
  • ACT or SAT Reasoning; SAT Subject test scores
  • Information presented in essays and list of activities, awards, employment (“Comprehensive Review”)
  • Every application is read by 1-3 people
  • Decision notification by March 15th


  • Entire application is considered
  • Grades from 9th-11th or 10th-11th (varies), tests, activities, essays, letters of recommendation

For more help…

  • High School Guidance Counselors
  • English teachers (for essay)
  • College admissions offices
  • Pre-college program counselors (AVID, ETS, GEARUP, etc)
  • College & Career Options – personal statement workshops and individual appointmentsRemember –
    don’t wait until the last minute and Good Luck!