‘Tis the season for Cal State University and University of California applications. The deadline for both is November 30, 2015 for students entering in Fall 2016.
Here are some tips on applying:
- APPLY EARLY, get it done BEFORE Thanksgiving weekend. The deadline is midnight, Nov. 30, but with the increased number of applications there is a real possibility that the servers will crash from the overload.
- For the UC essay/personal statement: WRITE IT IN A WORD PROGRAM AND CUT AND PASTE. Do not write it on the application while you are applying. If you pause to think of that perfect word, craft that phrase, or stop to feed the dog the application may time out and you will lose anything you have written.
- SAVE, SAVE, SAVE. Get into the habit of saving each page or section of the application. You can always come back later to work on it, only if it is saved.
- GET STARTED Put in all of your personal and family information ahead of time, even before you have chosen which campus to apply to.
- REMEMBER YOUR USER NAME AND PASSWORD. WRITE IT DOWN AND TAPE IT TO YOUR MONITOR (or tattoo it on your arm). Once you start an “account” you will not be able to create another one if you forget how to log in.
- For CSU applications: Completely finish the first application, then and ONLY THEN start applications for the other CSUs you want to apply to. When you finish the first application a great deal of the information will be automatically entered into subsequent applications. If you really like spending time putting in all classes taken in high school, calculating GPA, entering your address etc., then you can start more than one application at a time.
- www.CSUmentor.edu is the website for the Cal States.
- admissions.universityofcalifornia.edu/applicant/login.html is the UC Application page
- Some Cal States require that you declare a major and an alternate major. Check www.CSUmentor.edu to see if the campus requires it. If you can’t’ find the answer, call the admissions office. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo requires major declaration, San Diego State does not.
- Cal State LA has great advice on choosing a major: www.calstatela.edu/sites/default/files/users/u28031/careercenter.pdf
- Some majors are impacted at both CSU and UC campuses. Check to see if the major you want is impacted. Impacted means that they have more students applying or currently working on the major than they have room for. Some majors are closed, but you may be able to apply as a freshman as a Pre-major (e.g. pre-nursing).
- Impacted majors may require higher GPA or test scores than other departments at both UC and Cal States.
- Some campuses require higher GPA and test scores than others, for example: UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Irvine, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
- UC impacted majors: admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/how-to-apply/check-majors/by-applicant-level/freshman/index.html
- Cal State impacted majors and campuses: www.calstate.edu/sas/impaction-campus-info.shtml
- For the Cal States, students living within the geographical area of the campus will get some priority.
- Neither Cal State nor UCs count pluses or minuses in grades
- Calculating GPA for both Cal States and UC: only a-g courses taken summer before 10th grade through 11th grade. For Cal States www.csumentor.com/planning/high_school/gpa_calculator.asp . Note: count the grade in each semester. Honors points only if got a C or better. For UC: admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/counselors/q-and-a/calculating-gpa/
- For both Cal State and UC, a total of 8 semesters of honors will be counted which will weight the GPA. In other words, they will calculate the GPA according to their criteria which means it may be different from your high school a-g GPA
- Application fees UC: $70/campus (fee waivers available for 4 campuses based on family size and income)
- Application fees Cal State: $55/campus (fee waivers available for 4 campuses, based on family size and income)
- Letters of recommendation are not required for Cal States or UCs. Except for some applicants to UC Berkeley. In early December certain students will be invited by email to submit two letters. The Berkeley letters are due midnight Jan 15. admissions.berkeley.edu/freshmanpolicy
Confused, anxious, frustrated? Get to work on your applications as soon as possible. Do all of the easy stuff first to get it out of the way.
REMEMBER submit your application before Thanksgiving! Enjoy turkey day and relax!
Get Smart and apply.
Get Smart for College
Independent Educational Consultant
Jamie is a UCLA trained college counselor and parent of a high school junior.
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