A: History/Social Science - 2 Years Required
(Including 1 year of U.S. History and 1 year of Social Science)
B: English - 4 Years Required
(4 years of college preparatory English Composition and Literature)
C: Mathematics - 3 Years Required/4 Recommended
(Including Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, or higher mathematics)
D: Laboratory Science - 2 Years Required/3 Recommended
(Including 1 Biological Science and 1 Physical Science)
E: Foreign Language - 2 Years Required/3 Recommended
(2 years of the same language)
F: Visual and Performing Arts - 1 Year Required
(Dance, Drama or Theater, Music, or Visual Art)
G: College Preparatory Electives - 1 Year Required
(Additional year chosen from the "a-g" list)
Creating an academic plan can help assure that you take all of the classes that will help maximize your chances of getting into your desired university, especially if you know what it is you'd like to pursue. Being able to see that plan and map out your four years is an entirely fluid plan of action that you can alter or better as you go through high school. Even more so, this allows you to share this intent with trusted adults like your counselors or college and career technicians. This is a very beneficial part of creating a plan because it allows the adults you share it with to provide clear and good feedback that will benefit your future goals.
As a high school student, it is completely understandable to not know exactly what your goals are for the future or how you want your life after high school to look like. Though with this regard, it would not punish you by any means, if you have some sense of idea that you'd like to attend a UC or CSU, to make a brief plan and speak with people like your counselors about those goals! With lots of students to assist, make sure that you take the initiative to utilize and maximize your on-site resources. This is your future!
Noteworthy! You can most certainly create a plan regardless of if your desired school is not a CSU or UC. Here, we will just be providing direct resources from both of the California systems, thus it mostly serves students who’d like to attend a UC or CSU!
Both the University of California and California State University system have an A-G Requirement resource guide. On this website you can find a breakdown of each requirement, frequently asked questions, search through all of the A-G approved courses, and your schools/districts courses!
If a desire of yours is to attend one of these California systems, you should understand the system in which you'd like to attend in order to exhaust all possible opportunities to meet/exceed their requirements. Here, you'll be able to get a full and in depth breakdown of the entrance requirements to the system. Do you need to memorize each word of what is required? No! Though the intent is that you understand the requirements enough to build a fluid plan that you can change as time goes on with the help of trusted adults as you begin to gain a clearer perpsective of your goals!
College Board Resources!
In conjunction with creating an academic plan using the A-G resource guide from the California systems, College Board offers an array of useful guides to help you find majors to pursue, what classes you can take in high school to be prepared for the major in college, information on universities across America, and help you find what colleges may suit you.
A-G Requirements: A high school student wanting to go to a university in the CSU or UC system must fulfill specific courses in high school that meet the minimum admission requirements. Those course requirements are all arranged into specific categories, from A-G - thus the term, A-G requirements. There are 7 core subject categories with many class options available through each.
Weighted GPA: Weighted GPA includes the extra points added in from the higher level courses taken, such as honors or advanced placement. This is based on a 5.0 scale.
Unweighted GPA: A student’s unweighted GPA is the overall grade point average on a 4.0 scale.
FAFSA: FAFSA stands for: Free Application for Federal Student Aid. A FAFSA is an application that determines a students' need and eligibility for financial aid. The FAFSA is for students who are U.S. Citizens. There really is no income that is "too high" that does not allow you to apply, and every student should apply to see how much they could receive. In the end, it can only reduce your college tuition!
Merit-based scholarships: Merit scholarships are financial awards given to a student for their success in high school. These scholarships are mostly awarded for academic success but are given to students that demonstrate strong civic engagement, artistic abilities, and or other special cases.
SAT Superscore: An SAT Superscore is a student's highest score from each section, taken from more than 1 SAT that they took, to make up a higher score altogether. Universities like Boston University, Harvard, New York University, USC, or University of Miami allow superscoring!
Fee waivers: Qualifying for a fee waiver means that you will be waived, or allowed to not, pay for a fee. In the instance of a college application fee waiver, if you qualify, you won't need to pay for the application which tends to cost $70. An SAT fee waiver means that you will be allowed to register and take the SAT free of charge.
PSAT: The PSAT is a preliminary SAT - a practice exam for the SAT created by College Board that tests students’ reading, writing, and math skills.
College Preparatory(CP): CP courses in high school are the standard classes that are designed to prepare high school students for a higher institution - college/university.
Honors(H) Courses: Honors classes are higher level than CP, but driven by the same curriculum. The difference is the courses are more rigorous, fast paced, and more in-depth. Honors courses were created for those students who want more of a challenge.
Advanced Placement(AP) Courses: AP courses were designed by College Board so that high school students would get a chance to receive college credit by taking an exam. These classes are designed to test your ability on the subject you took throughout the year. The benefit to learning in these courses and excelling in the exams is: students who pass every, or even one exam they take in high school can earn their undergraduate degree much faster and save money!
International Baccalaureate(IB): IB is an international program developed to give students more of a global education. You can take IB courses and the exams individually, but these courses were designed so that students would be driven to complete the IB Diploma Program. In order to earn the diploma a student must take the classes from the six subject groups - three classes must be taken at the “high level” and not “standard level,” and a student must pass the IB exams. This diploma has huge advantages as it could help you fulfill all your General Education classes in college. Meaning that you will get college credit with this diploma and will not need to spend more time or money in college.
Early Action(EA): An option during the admissions process to submit your applications before the regular deadline. With this, you receive your decision earlier.
Early Decision(ED): An option to submit your application, to your first-choice college, before the regular deadline. You do receive a decision earlier. ED is binding, meaning that if admitted, you must attend/enroll into the school.
Rolling Admission: An admission policy that allows students to submit applications on a rolling basis. There is no set deadline for the school by which you need to submit all your materials. As long as space permits, the school will consider your application and notify you as soon as possible.
Brag Sheet: Brag sheets are a way for the people you chose to write you a letter of recommendation, to get to know you better so they can write you a good letter of recommendation! This can include counselors. They or other on-campus resources can give you a template/guide to help you write one! Of course, it's a way for you to brag about yourself and what you have done.
Universities & colleges with rolling admission accept and review applications for a longer period of time. There is often no single deadline. They will review applications and accept qualified applicants as space in their programs allow.
How does it benefit you?
Rolling admission is an application option that is a good way for students to get themselves in front of schools early - or late! There's no concise and strict timeline with this process! You can get decisions earlier this way, and you can get decisions later, after regular decision schools have closed their application periods. If you don't get accepted to your schools of choice or decide you no longer want to go there, you can look for rolling admission schools still accepting applications - and apply! As applications roll in, they review them promptly and send back your decision!
What are some schools that offer rolling admission?
Arizona State University
Indiana University Bloomington
California State University Fullerton
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
California Lutheran University(Cal Lu)
Pennsylvania State University(Penn State)
University of Alabama
Keep in mind!
It is important to consider that although this option is more flexible, some schools may still require or set different guidelines. By all means, consider this option! It is a great opportunity. It can help to call the admissions office of the school that you are interested in to see if space is still available!
To view the full list of schools that offer rolling admission in America, click the link below!
The GI Bill is for qualifying military Veterans and their dependent family members to get money to cover all or some of the costs for college, graduate school or training. If you’re an active-duty service member or Veteran, a member of the National Guard or Reserves, or a qualified survivor or dependent, you need to explore VA education benefits through the GI Bill and other educational assistance programs ASAP so you can start planning your educational path. If you're a dependent child of a Veteran, go to
https://www.va.gov/education/about-gi-bill-benefits/ for more information and start getting informed about how the GI Bill can help you pay for college!
The Federal TRIO Programs (TRIO) are Federal outreach and student service programs that provide services for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds, including first-generation college students. TRIO includes eight programs! TRIO's Upward Bound program provides fundamental support to participants in their preparation for college entrance. Local students have benefited from joining a college prep program like TRIO. Incoming & current high school students - check with your counselor to see if there is a TRIO/Upward Bound program at your school and see if you are eligible to join.
An SAT Superscore is taking your highest scores from each section of the SAT to make up a higher score overall.
Your scores can be taken from any date that you took the SAT. So when someone says their superscore, it’s their highest score from each section, taken from more than 1 SAT to make up a higher score altogether.
To give you an idea - if you took the SAT twice; the first time you got a 580 in the English portion and 560 in Mathematics. The second time you took it months later you got a 620 in the English and 520 in Mathematics. Certain schools will allow you to combine the second English score with the first Mathematics score to make up a higher score. Universities like the UC’s do not superscore.
When universities do superscore, the benefit, is of course that you can send in a higher SAT score. Which, as some of you may know, your SAT is a major portion in your college applications.
When universities do not superscore, you will simply just have to pick whichever SAT you feel more confident in sending in as a whole.
Colleges & Universities that DO Superscore!
University of Chicago
Azusa Pacific University
Cal Poly Pomona
Cal Poly SLO
Cal Sate LA
University of San Diego
Claremont McKenna College
The College Scholarship Service Profile(CSS) is entirely separate from the FAFSA application and is accepted by many colleges and universities throughout America. The CSS Profile is administered through the College Board to provide the opportunity for applicants to receive nonfederal aid. Not every college requires or accepts a CSS Profile, but many do, including:
California Institute of Technology
University of Southern California (USC)
So why does a CSS Profile matter? Why should it matter to you? The simple answer is: when you graduate college, you do not want to be paying back all of your loans. So, getting all of the aid you can, to "walk out of college loan free" is the goal!
The Coalition Application was established just a few years ago in 2015. It is quickly grabbing traction and is accepted by universities that the Common App does not, such as: Texas A&M University, University of Washington Seattle, James Madison University, and more!
Some key facts about applying through the Coalition App:
So why is the Coalition Application important to keep in mind? When the time comes, you'll want to apply through the application that offers the most schools you are applying to so that it is easier.
You do not want to spend time applying through both the Common Application and Coalition Application if the Coalition App offers the schools the Common App does. This way you won't need to do anything twice.
Member Schools of the Coalition Application:
Arizona State University
Claremont McKenna College
Florida State University
Johns Hopkins University
Loyola Marymount University
University of Chicago
University of Arizona
University of Oregon
We, The Student For Students Network, have created a timeline to help students plan for their college admissions process! We want to make sure that as a network, we are as inclusive of all grade levels as possible. We want to assure that we are providing useful information and resources to all students.
Our timeline for grade levels 8-12 is available on our website - TheStudentForStudents.org! Definitely check out our student advised guide for tips to find out what you can do to stay on track and get ahead!
On the next slide is a brief summary of what you can find on our website in the "For Students" tab under "Getting Started."
Freshmen (9th grade)
Sophomores (10th grade)
Juniors (11th grade)
Seniors (12th grade)
QuestBridge was founded in 1994 with the mission and vision to live in a society where America's leaders are encompassed by every economic segment. They serve high-achieving low-income high school students by alleviating all financial barriers in front of them so that they can attend some of America's most prestigious universities and colleges with full four year scholarships!
So How Does This Work?
Well, the National College Match is a college admission and scholarship process in which these specifically talented students can be admitted early with full four year scholarships to their partnered schools. Some of which are:
Claremont McKenna College
Princeton Brown University
USC Stanford University
University of Notre Dame
In late summer, a free online application opens.(NOTE: You can now apply if you're a Senior!)
Once you submit it by the deadline you then rank up to 12 college partners in order of preference and submit it. From here, finalists are selected. If you are a finalist, you must submit "match requirements." Once this is submitted, the partnered colleges ultimately determine which students they admit and offer the scholarships too. Students then find out if they matched with one of their ranked colleges or universities on Match Day, December 1st.
If you do not get matched with a college or university, you can review admission opportunities! You may also still receive financial aid.
If you do match, know that it is binding, meaning that you are expected to attend in the fall. During the process, you are expected to have done research into the schools with their Research Worksheet and/or on your own - thus it being binding!
Why is this Better than just Applying Early Action, Early Decision, or Regular Decision?
Financial Aid. As we've mentioned, if you match with a college, you receive a full four year scholarship - worth over $200,000. No parental contribution is needed. No student loans are needed. Your hard work and dedication will cover your tuition and fees, room and board, all school supplies, and travel expenses.
QuestBridge's Unique Application. The National College Match Application gives you more room to speak upon how you excelled and persevered academically despite financial hardship.
Who Qualifies as Low-Income?
"Most of the students who are selected as Finalists come from households earning less than $65,000 per year for a typical family of four with minimal significant assets. However, there are no absolute cut-offs." (QuestBridge.org)
The PSAT is a preliminary SAT; a practice exam for the SAT created by College Board that tests students reading, writing, and math skills.
Firstly, why does the PSAT or SAT matter? A standardized test is a test in which all the students taking it are asked to answer the same questions or same level questions. This allows the test to be graded in a "standard" manner so that others, like college admissions, could compare the student's test knowing that they took the same, or same level test. Though us students do not believe that standardized tests are the whole of your application, they are an important factor considering that to even apply to some universities, you must take the SAT. Thus, high schools and college board invented and help prepare you with the PSAT.
There are a couple different formats of the PSAT because of the fact that students in different grade levels take these exams, some of which go for the Merit Scholarship. The first PSAT we will discuss is the PSAT 8/9:
It is only allowed to be taken by 8th and 9th graders. The difference with this exam(PSAT 8/9) is the length and level of difficulty; rightfully so students in 8th and 9th grade have not learned all the information that an 11th grader has. According to College Board, schools choose when to administer the tests between September and April of their academic year.
Score Ranges: 240-1440
Test Length: 2 hours and 25 minutes
To be taken by 10th graders. This exam is more difficult and longer than the PSAT 8/9. According to College Board, they administer the PSAT 10 to students in the Spring of their Sophomore year.
Score Ranges: 320-1520
Test Length: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Alongside helping students prepare for the SAT, the second notable benefit is that in preparing and taking the PSAT’s 8/9/10, a student can then be well prepared to take the PSAT/NMSQT. The PSAT/NMSQT is a PSAT exam in which you can take to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship.
This scholarship is given to those students who score a high PSAT score. According to College board, it is administered to students in the Fall of 10th and 11th grade. Thus, a 10th grader can take either the PSAT 10 or PSAT/NMSQT if they feel they can qualify for the scholarship.
The American Legion Auxiliary Girl's State and the American Legion Boy's State are prestigious summer leadership opportunities that are earned by one female and one male high school junior from every participating high school in California (other states also have Girl/Boy's State programs!).
Teachers, coaches, and administrators are able to nominate model students with exemplary leadership skills for the extensive selection process. The program coordinators will select one Delegate to attend the program. Two alternates are seleceted to replace the delgate should they not be able to attend.
During this program the Delegate will engage in a week-long educational experience that will help strengthen their knowledge of the foundation of the American government system by engaging in political activities such as city-planning, voting, Moot Court, and campaigns for government positions.
Boy's State is traditionally held at California State University in Sacramento, while Girl's state is held at Claremont McKenna College.
This program allows students to meet others with exceptional talents for leadership, and fosters an environment for sisterhood/brotherhood amongst peers through team building exercises.
Read what a Boy's and Girl's State Delegate Alumni have to say about their experience!
"Coming to Boy's State gave me an insight into how local governments play a role in an individual's daily life. Often times, we're too busy focusing on the macro-scale (i.e. state and national government) that we forget how fundamentally important the city and county governments are as well. Boy's State, for me, was both fun and informative, and allowed me to develop a sense of how politics work within local governments." (Lance Pascasio, 2019 Boy's State Delegate)
"Being the only girl in my family, I gained several sisters at Girl's State. While at Girl's State I learned the importance of having people in your corner and being yourself unapologetically. I still talk to my sisters almost every day! My biggest takeaway from Girl's State was definitely having self-confidence and becoming empowered by the successes of others, as well as my own." (Nathaly Castrejon, 2019 Girl's State Delegate)
The UC Comprehensive review is a process used by the UC admissions to guide the evaluators when looking at factors beyond grades and courses. The review is made up of various factors that are both academic and non-academic. For example, grade point average (academic) and achievements in special projects (non-academic) are two of the factors.
It's important to mention that UC schools can and may apply these factors differently. Schools are allowed to use different approaches when applying this review. Thus, some UC schools might consider one factor to be greater than the other, while other schools like UCLA use the Holistic Review where no factor is weighed more heavily than another. Schools that use the Holistic Review: UCLA, Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Santa Cruz, and San Diego. So why should I know about how the UC's review applications? Understanding how UC's evaluate applications can help you make decisions throughout high school and give you an upper hand when applying.
The UC Comprehensive Review Factors:
"Special talents, achievements and awards in a particular field, such as visual and performing arts, communication or athletic endeavors; special skills, such as demonstrated written and oral proficiency in other languages; special interests, such as intensive study and exploration of other cultures; experiences that demonstrate unusual promise for leadership, such as significant community service or significant participation in student government; or other significant experiences or achievements that demonstrate the student's promise for contributing to the intellectual vitality of a campus.
Completion of special projects undertaken in the context of a student's high school curriculum or in conjunction with special school events, projects or programs.
Academic accomplishments in light of a student's life experiences and special circumstances.
Location of a student's secondary school and residence.
Quality of a student's senior-year program, as measured by the type and number of academic courses in progress or planned.
Quality of their academic performance relative to the educational opportunities available in their high school.
Outstanding performance in one or more academic subject areas.
Outstanding work in one or more special projects in any academic field of study.
Recent, marked improvement in academic performance, as demonstrated by academic GPA and the quality of coursework completed or in progress.
Identification by the UC system as being ranked in the top 9 percent of their high school class.
Academic grade point average in all completed A-G courses, including additional points for completed UC-certified honors courses.
Number of, content of and performance in academic courses beyond the minimum A-G requirements.
Number of and performance in UC-approved honors and Advanced Placement courses."
Notice some similarities?
Although it might be easy to think that you are being compared to all of the applicants, you're actually not! The UC schools analyze the applicant's high school; the number of AP classes offered, number of academic opportunities offered, etc. They then look at the applicant's achievements, the classes they took, participation, improvement, etc., in comparison to what their high school offered, where it is located, and various other factors. From what we can clearly tell from this review, UC schools want to see that the student has challenged themselves, taken advantage of what their school offers, and has improved and or persevered as a student.
Prepping and studying for the SAT can be a stressful time for high school students. It can create a lot of pressure for students trying to balance what feels like a hundred things on their to-do list!
There is an upside for students who feel that the SAT does not measure their academic skills well enough. Colleges and universities are now joining the ongoing list of schools that do not require the SAT. However, this does not mean that all of these schools will completely disregard all tests, but rather acknowledge that other factors come into play and or are just as important when choosing applicants. For example, some schools will take the SAT Subject Tests in place.
How is that better? Well because you choose the subject! You can choose your strongest suits and show colleges! Take a look at this list of some colleges and universities that will allow for you to substitute the SAT, or are not too keen on needing one in order for you to apply!