How do I get an application?
Most applications are issued directly from the university or college to the student. Students should visit the college’s website, email the admission office or write a standard letter of inquiry to their college choices asking for an application to be mailed for the upcoming fall term.
We strongly encourage students to take advantage of the online versions of both the University of California and California State University applications. The common application exists as a further option for many colleges and universities and can be found in that college’s counseling office or on their website.
How many applications should I file?
While it is recommended that students apply to between eight and twelve colleges, the array of colleges where applications are filed is even more important. Students need to honestly and accurately assess their grades and test portfolio when determining the colleges where they wish to apply. The Guidance and College Counseling Office is also available to help during the Senior Family Meetings.
Students should apply to:
- Several colleges where the student has an extremely good chance of being accepted. These are referred to as “reliable”. Students falling in the upper quartile of a college’s typical applicant pool can reasonably expect to have a strong chance of gaining admission. Nonetheless, a small group of students within this applicant pool will be denied despite their very strong credentials.
- Several colleges where the student has a good chance of being accepted—known as “range schools.” These institutions are colleges where the student falls within the middle 50% range of typically accepted applicants. Depending on the competitiveness of this year’s applicant class and the particular types of students the college is seeking to round out the incoming class, students in this range can reasonably expect to have a fair chance of gaining admission. Again, there exists a group of students within this applicant profile that will be denied admission despite their strong credentials.
- Most students will only apply to one or two “reach” colleges where the student has a limited chance of being accepted. Typically, less than one in five (20%) extremely qualified applicants will gain admission within this category of institutions.
All of a student’s prospective colleges should be places where the student would be excited and happy to attend. You never know what may happen in the admissions process. You should always be prepared for enrollment at choices 7, 8, and 9 of a nine-school applicant list. Ask yourself, if I was only accepted at College “9”, would I be happy? If not, choose other colleges to include amongst the “more than likely” category.
Applying for Early Decisions
Only students who are 100% sure of their desire to attend a college with an Early Decision Program should apply. If you are unsure on October 31, do not apply early! There are advantages and disadvantages to applying for early decision. Some advantages are that the applicant pool is smaller and the colleges know the student is very serious about attending the college. Some colleges may even accept more students in their early decision pool than in their regular admission pool, making the rate of acceptance higher for early decision. Disadvantages may be: the applicant pool for early decision could be more competitive (research each college separately); the college will rely only on the applicant’s junior year grades and test scores; and students must withdraw any other applications if accepted, therefore, a student cannot easily change his/her mind. If you are deciding to apply for early decision or early action make sure you have all of the information necessary to make an informed decision.
Some colleges offer students a chance to apply early without requiring a final commitment to the school. Applying for Early Action can show you are serious about attending the school and will potentially provide you with an earlier admissions decision. Keep in mind, the applicant pool for Early Action is generally more competitive, but often colleges will reconsider applications denied for Early Action during the regular admissions period.