Photo by Jenny Tucker
We are well into September, and college apps season is on its way. But are our bobcat seniors prepared?
This article will explain the similarities and differences between each type of college application, how to go about applying to public, private, and out-of-state schools and what their various requirements are.
Some of the most popular and well-known types of schools are the Cal State schools. Cal State schools are known for evaluating applicants based on their eligibility index score (a number formulated by combing your GPA and SAT/ACT score). This is different than University of California schools since the UC application includes your extracurriculars, awards, and essays. Cal State schools tend to be more student-oriented and the majority of classes are taught by the professors themselves, whereas UC Schools are more lecture-oriented.
Because professors are often doing research or writing books rather than teaching classes, many classes at UC schools are taught by TA’s. The University of California is also known for being a place where many students have the intention of going to graduate school.
The University of California has nine campuses, whereas Cal State has twenty-three. The portal for University of California opened on Aug. 1 and the filing period is Nov. 1-30, while the portal for Cal State schools does not open until Oct. 1. So if you’re thinking about applying to a UC school, make sure to start your application soon!
Note that admissions employees do not actually start reading applications until after Nov. 30. Whether you submit your UC application on Nov. 1 or the 30th, the timing during the month of Nov. is irrelevant to how soon your application will be viewed.
Many students feel that they cannot attend private schools because of the cost. However, many students attend smaller private schools with anywhere from 20-90% scholarships covering tuition
“You could apply for scholarships…you never know when that could compensate and make [tuition] equal to what a public school would cost,” a parent stated encouragingly. She went on to say that it’s best to shoot for the moon during college application because you never know where you could get accepted.
With that in mind, it is totally worth it to apply to private schools. Almost all private schools utilize the common application, a detailed application that can be used for several schools at once. Many schools also have their own essay questions specific to the university that students must also answer.
For each university, there is a section for questions specific to the college, a section for letters of recommendation, and a section where you can review your application as a PDF before you submit it. In addition, the common application itself requests information on your family, education, test scores, extracurriculars, and the common application essay.
Finally, if you are considering applying to a school that is an out-of-state public, such as schools in Washington, Oregon, or Texas, many out-of-state have individual applications as well. For example, most public Texas schools utilize the “ApplyTexas” application, while colleges that are neither in California nor Texas accept applications specific to their school.
Although not as well-known, the Coalition application can also be used for many Ivy League and large public schools in order to minimize the amount of applications students must complete.
Don’t let this long list of applications overwhelm you though; many students apply to only a few colleges because they know for sure exactly where they want to go, whereas others may apply to twenty. Counselor DiBenedetto recommended that “taking the geographic location into consideration, finances, are all those things that might come into play that are unique to each student.
“It can be pretty stressful for seniors in the fall since they have to balance their extracurriculars, their classes, as well as the application process, but we’re here to support,” Ms. DiBenedetto says.
There is no need to rush through long applications right away. Just take it one step at a time and ask lots of questions.
“Have a few close friends, family, and/or teachers give you feedback on essays, but make sure your essays always reflect your own voice and personality,” graduate Breanna Yang advises.
Just take applications one step at a time. The common application or the UC application may seem overwhelming at first, but if broken into little pieces they are much more manageable. Trust yourself, express your genuine interests and opinions in your applications, and the rest will follow. And remember, enjoy every moment of high school.