OCSA COLLEGE HANDBOOK

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1 OCSA COLLEGE HANDBOOK ORANGE COUNTY SCHOOL OF THE ARTS Mission Statement We provide a creative, challenging, and nurturing environment that offers bright and talented students unparalleled preparation for higher education and a profession in the arts. ~ Core Values Student growth and education comes first. Commitment to excellence, innovation, professionalism and integrity. Foster a nurturing environment of creativity, respect, and collaboration. Commitment to life-long artistic and scholarly development.

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Course Requirements and College Applications Introduction Page 3 Senior College Planning Calendar Page 4 Junior College Planning Calendar Page 5 Sophomore College Planning Calendar Page 6 Freshman College Planning Calendar Page 7 What is Naviance? Page 8 Graduation and UC Requirements Page 9 University of California Entrance Requirements Page 10 California State University Entrance Requirements Page 14 Community College and Private College Entrance Requirements Page 16 Higher Education Summaries Page 18 College Tours Page 20 College Comparison Worksheet Page 21 What Do Colleges Look At In The Application Process? Page 22 Admission Testing Page 23 Testing Time Lines for College Admission Page 25 Applying To A College or University (Early Decision/Early Action) Page 27 College Essays Page 29 College Application Tips Page 30 Transcript Requests Page 31 Recommendations Page 31 Creating a Balanced College List Page 32 Completing College Admission Requirements Page 33 Final Thoughts Page 34 1

3 Financial Aid Financial Aid Materials Page 35 Types of Financial Aid Page 35 Applying for Financial Aid Page 38 Student Loans Page 40 Scholarship Myths Page 41 Financial Aid Calendar for Senior Year Page 42 Online Resources College Websites / Resources Page 43 Financial Aid Information Page 44 Test Preparation Page 44 Career Information Page 45 2

4 HOW TO USE THIS COLLEGE PLANNING HANDBOOK A message to students: The purpose of this Planning Guide is to provide you with information so that you can plan for your future after high school. You can use this handbook as a road map remembering that along the way there are resources available to get you to your destination. It is important to identify and access those individuals and resources that can give support as you travel towards your future after high school. It is equally important that each student develop a personal educational plan by giving careful thought and evaluating the information provided in this book, making decisions, and acting on them in a timely manner. A message to parents: It is important that students make the most of their high school careers. You, as a parent, play a pivotal role in your child s life. You are encouraged to become informed on graduation requirements, college admission requirements, college/career goals, and your child s interests and abilities. You are a key resource and cheerleader for your child as he or she continues on this journey towards their future. COLLEGE INFORMATION On the next few pages you will find information regarding UC, Cal State, Community College and Private Universities. Please read each section carefully as each type of college has their own procedures and application deadlines. Please your school counselor if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule an appointment to talk to us. We are here to support and guide you with your decisions through this process. You will find that some private schools require Letter of Recommendations. These recommendations must be requested to your teachers and counselor at least 4 weeks before the due date. School Counselors also write letters of recommendation that are included in the School Report (which is required by all Common Application colleges). Your school counselor is here to assist and write information on your behalf if needed. We look forward to meeting with you. Stay on top of your deadlines, communicate if you need support and remember to de- stress and enjoy your Senior year! Last Names: A- G = Mrs. Talbert Last Names: H- O = Mrs. Shiroma Last Names: P- Z = Mrs. Vance - Freeland 3

5 Senior College Planning Calendar September October November December Make decision about postsecondary education plan Review your fall schedule, ensure it includes college admission requirements Register early for SAT I, SAT II, ACT Join CSF, if eligible Work on College Applications! Save electronic or hard copies of your applications Research Scholarships and sign up for Internship Opportunities Visit with College reps Meet with your Counselor or Dean about Letter of Rec. Request Teacher letters Read Art Attack! Take SAT I, SAT II, ACT (make sure all scores are sent directly to the colleges) Many Early Action and Early Decision deadlines are this month and next month Fill out UC/CSU applications Work on College Essay Update your college portfolio / resume Visit with College reps Request letters of recommendation Plan College Visits Attend OCSA s College Night! Order initial transcripts to be sent to colleges: UC/CSU applications due between Nov Take SAT I, SAT II, ACT Last chance to register for the ACT / SAT I these test scores are required for most scholarships and 4-year universities Remember to get a certificate of mailing at the post office for any mailed applications Continue focusing on your grades all year Apply to independent colleges and universities Attend OCSA s Financial Aid Night! Last time to take the SAT I, SAT II, ACT for the UC schools Remember: Some colleges need 3 SAT II exam scores math, writing, and a third of your choice Visit college campuses over the winter vacation Apply to Community Colleges of choice Apply for scholarships! Complete the CSS PROFILE (financial aid form for many private colleges) January February March April File FAFSA, beginning January 1: Make sure your spring schedule of classes includes college admission requirements Continue to check for scholarships! CSS PROFILE (financial aid form for private colleges) should be sent by the end of the month Continue applying for scholarships Apply to Community College(s) of choice Check that all schools have received all materials applications, test scores, financial aid forms, etc. Check your College ! Carefully read all information from colleges Continue to check for scholarships! Update your resume of your accomplishments and activities UC/CSU decisions will be sent out this month If colleges request additional information, send it to them immediately Register for AP Exams Update your Naviance account with scholarships or academic awards you have received Register for CSU placement tests, if necessary Continue to check for scholarships! All colleges should respond by this month Financial Aid offers will begin to arrive Continue to check for scholarships! Continue to update your Naviance account with scholarships or academic awards you have received Decide where you wish to attend college! May June Summer Months Make final decision on college: May 1 st! Let your colleges know your decision to attend or not attend Continue Researching Scholarship Opportunities Get housing forms from the college you are going to attend, if you will need housing there Graduation! Order official transcripts from the OCSA website to be sent to the college you will be attending: Make sure you have responded to all requests from your college Write Thank You cards to those who have written letters of recommendation Try to prepare yourself for the expense of college by saving and working summer jobs Work on a financial plan with your parents Register for college summer orientation programs 4

6 Junior College Planning Calendar September October November December Join CSF, if eligible Make sure your fall schedule of classes includes college admission requirements Double-check with your counselor about credits needed for graduation Attend college rep visits during lunch and 7 th block. Upcoming scheduled college visits are listed in Art Attack and on Naviance. Update your college list and college profile on Naviance Register for and take the PSAT! Attend college rep visits during lunch and 7 th block. Upcoming scheduled college visits are listed in Art Attack and on Naviance. Attend the counselor-led Junior Guidance Lesson through your English class Attend College Night! Visit with your Counselor Read Art Attack! Continue focusing on your grades all year Continue developing those very important extracurricular skills, work, and volunteer experience Colleges love students who not only have strong academic backgrounds, but also students who show interest in outside activities! Be a leader in clubs, teams, and committees. Attend Financial Aid Night! Visit college campuses over the winter vacation Develop a preliminary college list with parents and counselor Research scholarships January February March April Make sure your spring schedule of classes include college admission requirements Attend PSAT/Practice ACT Score Pass-Back-Night Prep on your own or take a SAT/ACT practice course Register for SAT I, SAT II, or ACT tests for May and/or June test dates. Join CSF, if eligible (based on first semester grades) Update your resume of your accomplishments and activities Attend the counselor-led Senior Enrollment Meeting through your Social Science classes and begin thinking about what classes you would like to take in 12 th grade Reminder: Sign up for SAT I, SATII, and/or ACT tests to be taken in May or June Start planning summer activities (community service, work experience, internships, etc.) Visit College campuses over the spring break Research and register for the National College Fairs in your local area Obtain information on work permits Register for internships Continue your college search using Naviance Write to colleges or other programs to ask for brochures and admission information Notify counselor about scholarships/academic awards received May June Summer Months Attend National College Fair A.P Exams Take SAT I, SAT II, ACT for college admissions Plan college visits and make appointments Research Scholarship Opportunities Take SAT I, SAT II, ACT for college admission If planning to play sports in college, check out the NCAA website: Many colleges have summer school classes or programs you can take. Check them out! (see the OCSA website) Visit college campuses Try to prepare yourself for the expense of college by saving and working summer jobs Develop financial plan with parents Work on your College Essays Start your College Applications: Aug. 1 st UC Application -- Common Application Apply for scholarships, contests and programs for which you are eligible One of the best scholarship online resources is where you can find scholarships that reflect your interests and abilities. Register early for the fall SAT I, SAT II, ACT tests 5

7 Sophomore College Planning Calendar September October November December Apply for CSF, if you qualify. Attend college rep visits during lunch and 7 th block. Upcoming scheduled college visits are listed in Art Attack. You must sign-up for College Rep Visits through the Student Services Office Sign-up for extra-curricular activities that interest you. Your level of involvement and your accomplishments are most important not the number of activities We encourage all sophomores to take the PSAT for practice! Take the Practice ACT Take the Career Interest Assessment on Naviance to learn more about what types of careers match with your likes and interests Attend counselor-led Sophomore Guidance Lesson through your English class Continue focusing on your grades all year Meet with your teachers during 7 th block for additional help, when needed. Continue exploring the Naviance Family Connection s Career and College tools. Read Art Attack! Visit college campuses over the winter vacation. Make sure you call ahead or go online to schedule a tour and to see if the campus is open and/or in session. Continue exploring the Naviance Family Connection s Career and College tools. Enjoy your winter break! January February March April Research colleges and universities to become familiar with their acceptance requirements. Discuss college requirements with your counselor during enrollment time in spring. Attend the PSAT/ASPIRE Score Pass Back Night Read Art Attack! Apply for CSF, if you qualify. Update your resume of your accomplishments and activities. Attend the counselor-led Junior Enrollment Meeting through your Social Science classes and begin thinking about what classes you would like to take in 11 th grade Review the Curriculum Handbook and select courses that you need for college and graduation purposes. All sophomores will take the CAHSEE in March. Do your best this is a graduation requirement! Register for May or June SAT Subject Test(s) if you are currently in an Honors or Advanced Placement course. Visit to access SAT practice tests and explore colleges. Visit to access ACT practice tests and explore more about colleges. Obtain information on work permits if you plan to get a job this summer. Register for internships, if so desired. Attend the National College Fair in your local area Read Art Attack! May June Summer Months AP Exams Review and update the classes you are enrolled in for summer school, if necessary. Consider taking SAT Subject Exams, if you have just finished the course. Most colleges require entrance exams (SAT or ACT). Begin practicing! Visit college campuses over summer vacation. Check and update your Naviance Family Connection account. Enjoy your summer! Prepare yourself for the expense of college by saving and working summer jobs Work on a college financial plan with your parents 6

8 Freshman College Planning Calendar September October November December Have your parents attend Back to School Night to learn about your classes so that they can help support you throughout the year Make sure your fall schedule of classes includes college admission requirements Get to know your counselor and make sure you are on track for graduation and post-secondary goals Work hard to get good grades; realize that all 4 years are considered by colleges for acceptance and scholarships Obtain info in the Student Services Office for college rep visits Map out your high school career: 4-Year Plan. Set goals and make an academic plan to get you there Read Art Attack! Research colleges and universities! Know their acceptance requirements, so that you are able to prepare yourself and register for the right classes Continue focusing on your grades all year freshman grades DO COUNT! Begin developing those very important extracurricular skills, work, and volunteer experiences Attend the counselor-led Freshman Guidance Lesson through your English class Take the Personality Type Assessment on Naviance to learn more about what types of careers/majors would be a good match for you Colleges love students who not only have strong academic backgrounds, but also students who show interest in outside activities! Be a leader in clubs, teams, and committees January February March April Finals: make sure you ve prepared for your finals and are ready to do your best these may make a huge difference for your final semester grade Continue researching your post-secondary options! Make sure your spring schedule of classes include college admission requirements Attend the counselor-led Sophomore Enrollment Meeting through your Social Science classes and begin thinking about what classes you would like to take in 10 th grade Remember to think about both graduation and college requirements Apply for CSF, if you qualify. Attend the National College Fair in your local area Continue your college search in the Student Services Office and using Naviance Start planning summer activities (community service, work experience, internships, etc.) Start a resume of your accomplishments and activities Verify that you are making progress towards fulfilling graduation, CSU/UC and NCAA (if applicable) requirements Obtain information on work permits Prepare for, and do your best on, the California Standards Tests. Remember, the CST s help get you ready to do your best on the CAHSEE and SAT/ACT May June Summer Months Register for summer school if you need to make up any D or F grades Review A-G College Requirements (CSU/UC admissions requires grades of C or better) Review Graduation Requirements (passing is a grade of D or better) Finals: be prepared! Try to prepare yourself for the expense of college by saving and working summer jobs Begin work on a college financial plan with your parents Most colleges require entrance exams, like the SAT Reasoning Test and/or the ACT. Begin thinking about these and try to prepare yourself to take the PSAT next fall Visit to access SAT practice tests and explore colleges. Visit to access ACT practice tests and explore more about colleges. Apply for scholarships, contests and programs for which you are eligible One of the best scholarship online resources is where you can find scholarships that reflect your interests and abilities. 7

9 WHAT IS NAVIANCE? Naviance is an electronic college data management system used by our Student Services department to keep track of OCSA student data. The college data in Family Connection allows a student to search for individual college matches that are right for them. Family Connection can also be used to store a personal game plan, a list of possible careers and majors, a resume, a list of colleges a student is considering, a list of colleges to which he/she is applying, college application tasks, and college application results. This is private information that can only be accessed by the student, parents and the school counselors. Students can also be contacted by e- mail about college visits, deadlines, surveys and other pertinent college information from the Student Services department. Students and parents can log onto Naviance: with their user name & password Graduation Requirements and UC/CSU Requirements All students attending the Orange County School of the Arts must accumulate 240 credits in grades nine through twelve to graduate from high school. Students must pass all required courses in order to receive a diploma and to participate in graduation ceremonies. The 240 credits are necessary for graduation. Students must attend a minimum of four blocks a day on campus. Conservatory classes are in addition to these four blocks. The required classes below comprise 170 of the 240 required credits. The remaining 70 credits are student elective choices. 8

10 COURSE OCSA GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS UC/CSU ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS *A C grade or better must be attained for all courses taken A History/Social Science 3 years/30 credits required: 1 year World History, 1 year US History, 1 year Economics/Government 2 years/20 credits required B Literature and Composition 4 years/40 credits required 4 years/40 credits required C Mathematics D Lab Science 2 years/20 credits required: (Must be through Geometry or IMP ll) 2 years/20 credits required: (Biology & Chemistry or Physics) 3 years/30 credits required (Algebra, Geometry, & Algebra II) *Algebra may be taken in 7th or 8th grade - 4 years recommended 2 years/20 credits required (Biology & Chemistry or Physics) - 3 years recommended E World Language 2 years/20 credits required : 1 year may be taken in 7th or 8th grade 2 years/20 credits of one world language required *1 year may be taken in 8th grade - 3 years recommended. F Fine Arts G Elective 2 semesters/10 credits: Art, Drama, Music 70 credits: Student elective choices 1 year/10 credits required 1 year/10 credits required: in A - F area course + 70 more credits during your 4 years Health/SOAR Physical Education Test Proficiencies 1 semester/ 5 credits : Health 1 semester/ 5 credits: SOAR* * (Required for incoming 9th grade students only) 2 Years/20 credits required California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) SAT/ACT + Writing SAT II: Optional GPA calculated and based on: 9th through 12th Grades 10th/11th A- G courses 9

11 College Entrance Requirements Admission to the University of California System Subject, scholarship, and examination requirements for freshman applicants are described below. Subject Requirement To satisfy this requirement, you must have successfully completed a specific sequence of high school courses in the subjects listed below. These required high school courses are often called the A- G subjects. To be accepted by the University, these courses must appear on a list certified by your high school principal as Courses to Meet Requirements for Admission to the University of California. The grades you earn in the A- G subjects taken in the 10th, 11th, or 12th grades are the only grades the University will use to calculate your grade- point average for admission. It will take 15 units* of high school work to fulfill the Subject Requirement. At least seven of the 15 units must have been earned in courses taken during the last two years of high school. History/Social Science 2 years required. One year of United States History or one- half year of United States History and one- half year of Civics or American Government; and one year of World History, Cultures, and Geography English Composition, Literature Four years required; maximum of one year in the 9th grade allowed Mathematics Three years of Mathematics Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II; four years recommended. Laboratory Science Two years required; three years recommended in at least two of these three disciplines: Biology (which includes anatomy, physiology, marine biology, aquatic biology, etc.), chemistry, and physics. The final two years of an approved three- year integrated science program may be used to fulfill this requirement. Foreign Language Two years required; three years recommended. Visual & Performing Arts One full year from approved arts courses from a single Visual and Performing Arts discipline: dance, drama/theater, music, and/or visual art. *Recommended during the academic day. College Preparatory Elective In addition to those courses required in A- F above, one year (two semesters) of college preparatory electives are required, chosen from visual and performing arts, history, social science, English, advanced mathematics, laboratory science, and language other than English. Note: Courses that meet University of California entrance requirements will be marked U.C. (subject area). Only grades that are C or above will be accepted. 10

12 Scholarship Requirement In calculating your grade point average for admission, the University uses only the grades you earned in A- G courses taken in the 10th through 12th grades. These grades are counted as follows: A = 4 points, B = 3, C = 2, D = 1, and F = 0 If your grade- point average is 3.0 or higher in the a- g subjects taken after the 9th grade, you are eligible for admission to the University, regardless of the scores you earn on the standardized tests used for the examination requirement. You must also have completed all A- G subjects with satisfactory grades. The grades earned in A- G subjects taken in the 9th grade or earlier are not used to calculate your grade- point average for admission. However, these courses are used to meet the subject requirement if they are completed with a grade of C or higher. Honors Level Courses Students who take demanding, advanced academic courses in high school strengthen their preparation for University work and increase their chances of success in undergraduate study. The University assigns extra points for up to eight semesters of University- certified honors- level and Advanced Placement courses taken in the last three years of high school: A=5 points, B=4 points, C=3 points. No more than two yearlong UC- approved honors level courses taken in the 10th grade may be given extra points. A grade of D in an honors or advanced placement course does not earn extra points. These courses must be in the following A- G subjects: History, English, Advanced Mathematics, Laboratory Science, and World Language, and must be certified by your high school as offered at the honors level. In these fields and, additionally, in the fields of Computer Science, Social Science, and the Visual and Performing Arts, courses that are designed to prepare students for an Advanced Placement examination of the College Board and college courses that are transferable to the University are acceptable as honors level courses. (Five point classes include all A.P. classes and Pre- Calculus) Repeated Courses Required A- G courses must be completed with a grade of C or better. Courses in which grades of D are earned must be repeated, EXCEPT in the areas of math and language other than English, where grades of D can be validated by successful completion of higher- level coursework. Note: If you have completed A- G courses with D or F grades, you should consult with your School Counselor to determine how these grades can be improved and how the University will use them in evaluating your scholarship record. 11

13 Examination Requirement To satisfy this admission requirement, you must submit scores from the standard tests described below: Either: ACT Plus Writing The composite score will be reported OR SAT Plus Writing The critical reading, math and writing scores on this test must be from the same sitting o Note: SAT II Subject Tests are optional but may be recommended for some majors High School Proficiency Examination If you do not have a regular high school diploma, the University will accept the Certificate of Proficiency awarded by the State Board of Education upon successful completion of the California High School Proficiency Examination. The University also will accept proficiency examinations from other states and the General Educational Development (GED) Certificate in place of a diploma. However, you must still meet all of the other admission requirements described on the preceding pages. Admission by Examination Alone If you do not meet the subject and scholarship requirements, you may be able to qualify for admission to the University by examination. You may qualify for admission to the University by earning high scores on the ACT Assessment plus Writing or SAT Reasoning Test, and two SAT Subject Tests. To qualify this way, you must achieve a minimum UC Score Total- - calculated according to the Eligibility Index instructions- - of 410 (425 for nonresidents). In addition, you must earn a minimum UC Score of 63 on each component of the ACT or SAT Reasoning Test and on each SAT Subject Test. You may not use an SAT Subject Test to meet these requirements if you have completed a transferable college course in that subject with a grade of C or better. Further information regarding UC admission requirements can be found at: Deadlines: August 1 Application opens for applicants for next fall November 1-30 Submission period for applicants for next fall Note: Each UC campus will notify you of its admission decision, generally by March 31 if you're a fall freshman applicant. 12

14 Statewide path If you're in the top 9 percent of California high school graduates and aren't admitted to any of the UC campuses you apply to, you'll be offered a spot at another campus if space is available. The state uses a formula called an admissions index to determine if you fall in that group. TO APPLY TO THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA Log on to The application deadline is November 30th, but it is best to submit prior to that date. The application requires two personal statements. The application does not require letters of recommendation. *Note: Starting in 2015: UC Berkeley may request some academic letters of recommendation later in the application process for some fields of study. Transcripts are required after admittance. 13

15 Admission to the California State University System Subject Requirement To satisfy this requirement, you must have successfully completed a specific sequence of high school courses in the subjects listed below. The University will calculate the GPA based on all courses taken in the last three years of high school, except P.E. United States History One year of United States History or one- half year of United States History and one- half year of Civics or American Government. English Composition, Literature Four years required; maximum of one year in the 9th grade allowed. Mathematics Three years of Mathematics Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. Laboratory Science Two year of lab science including one year of Biological science and one year of Physical science. World Language Two years of one world language required. (Subject to waiver for applicants demonstrating equivalent competence.) Visual and Performing Arts One year required. Approved Electives Three years of courses chosen from History, English, Advanced Math, Laboratory Science, World Language, Social Science, and Visual, or Performing Arts. Examination Requirement To satisfy this admission requirement, you must submit scores from the standard tests described below: Either: SAT The critical reading, math and writing scores will be reported. ACT The composite score will be reported. 14

16 Honors Courses Grades in up to eight semester courses, taken in the last two years of high school, that are designated honors in approved subjects receive additional points in grade point average calculations. Each unit of A in approved courses will receive a total of 5 points; B = 4 points, C = 3 points, D = 1 point, and none for F grades. Note: Courses that meet California State University entrance requirements will be marked C.S.U. (subject area). Local Admission Guarantee Under the local admission guarantee, local CSU- eligible first- time freshmen and local upper division transfer students shall be admitted to a local CSU campus on the basis of established CSU system admission policies. However, admission to an impacted campus does not include assurance of admission to a specific major if that major is impacted at the local campus. "Local" first- time freshmen are defined as those students who graduate from a high school district historically served by a CSU campus in that region. Further information regarding CSU admission requirements can be found at CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY ELIGIBILITY INDEX The Eligibility Index Table shows the combination of test scores and averages required to meet minimum eligibility requirements. Go to: TO APPLY TO THE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY Log on to The application deadline is November 30th, but it is best to submit prior to that date. The application does not require or request letters of recommendation, or essays. Transcripts will be required upon acceptance. 15

17 Admission to the Community College System Graduates of a four- year high school or its equivalent are eligible for admission and may undertake any program of study for which they are prepared. Others may be eligible if they meet any of the following criteria: Any person possessing a California High School Proficiency Certificate, OR Any person 18 years of age or older who can profit from instruction, OR Any person under 18 years of age who can profit from instruction and who has a recommendation from the dean of academics, OR Any person under 18 years of age not enrolled in school who can profit from instruction and who has a recommendation from a parent and/or guardian. Admission to Private Colleges & Out-of-State Public Institutions Subject Requirement Subject requirements vary among private colleges and out- of state public institutions. However, if students follow the University of California requirements, they probably will meet the requirements for the majority of schools. The highly selective private colleges will look for a minimum of four (preferably five) academic classes each year. Scholarship Requirement Grade requirements vary greatly among private colleges and out- of- state public schools. Highly selective colleges will seek students who have GPA s between 3.75 and 4.0+ and who have SAT scores of 2000 or above. Other schools will accept students who rank in the top half of their class and who have average SAT scores (1500 or above) or ACT scores of 18 or above. Examination requirement Most four- year colleges as well as art schools and conservatories require applicants to submit scores from either the SAT or the ACT. If the school uses COMMON APP for their applications: Log on to Create an account Identify and list the colleges to which you are applying Complete Common App form and all supplemental materials. Complete FERPA waiver form. Log onto your Naviance Account and enter the address that is linked to your Common App account and click Match. Your account is now ready for information to be uploaded and sent electronically. 16

18 Request letters of recommendation from your school counselor / teachers and be sure to talk to your teachers before making the request in Naviance! ** NOTE: IF a school you are applying to does NOT use COMMON APP or NAVIANCE for their applications, follow their procedures for applying to their specific school. If any of your schools require a specific form to be part of the paper submission, please print all necessary forms and school reports and give them to your teachers or counselor. 17

19 HIGHER EDUCATION SUMMARIES Community College Awards Associate degrees and certificates Remains the least expensive option to high education Offers both academic and occupational programs Helpful for students who are undecided about future careers or four- year schools Serve as a feeder to four- year schools with many transfer agreements and transfer guarantee programs Minimum admission policy is to admit any high school graduate or person over the age of 18 who will be able to benefit from the instruction offered Some institutions have additional requirements California State University (CSU ) Awards Baccalaureate degrees and Masters degrees. Some also offer Doctorates (PhD) The largest system of higher education in the nation with 23 campuses Minimum requirements for a first- time freshman: Be a high school graduate Completion of the A- G college preparatory classes with a grade C or better Have taken either the SAT or ACT The CSU admission application is common to all campuses University of California (UC) Awards Baccalaureate degrees, Masters degrees, and Doctorates (PhD) There are nine undergraduate UC campuses in California Admission requirements include: A high school diploma Completion of the A- G college preparatory classes with a grade C or better Scores from either SAT or ACT + Writing. Admission is impacted (competitive) There is a common application for admission for all 9 campuses 18

20 Private/Independent Colleges and Universities Awards a wide range of degrees and certificates up to the doctorate (PhD) level as well as professional degrees (such as law and medicine) The cost can be the highest of all schools, but with financial aid, the cost can be comparable to the cost of public education Admission requirements are similar to those of CSU / UC Conservatory Schools Award Baccalaureate degrees and Masters degrees Admissions requirements include: High school diploma or equivalency certificate Audition or portfolio; sometimes an interview Some schools require SAT or ACT scores Art Schools Award Baccalaureate degrees and Masters degrees Admissions requirements include: High school diploma or equivalency certificate Audition or portfolio; sometimes an interview Some schools require SAT or ACT scores 19

21 COLLEGE TOURS The best way to select a campus is to see it for yourself. One visit may tell you more than all other sources combined. The sophomore and junior years are excellent times for students and parents to tour college campuses. Helpful hints: Visit during the week, if possible. Most colleges have overnight dormitory stays. Call in advance to make arrangements. All colleges welcome visitors. With prior arrangements it is possible to: Have a guided tour of the campus Indicate the people with whom you would like to speak with (major department, admission, financial aid, etc.) Sit in on classes you request Be invited to spend the weekend on some campuses Speak to students currently attending the school Read the college catalog or visit the website of each campus you are considering. This will give you the background to help you ask more specific questions on your tour since you have had a basic introduction to academic requirements, course descriptions, rule and regulations, faculty credentials, admission policies, expenses, and financial aid. During your visit evaluate: Atmosphere of the campus Library and research facilities Facilities in your major department Student union, dormitories Extracurricular activities Financial aid/scholarships Counseling services Disabled student services Career planning services Work- study opportunities Exchange student program 20

22 COLLEGE COMPARISON WORKSHEET The following is criteria that can be used when making college comparisons. Add other criteria, as appropriate for your particular needs. COMPARATIVE CRITERIA Enrollment Cost Admission Requirements Tests Required Majors of interests % of Commuters % who graduate in four years % going on to higher degrees Housing availability Application fee Enrollment deposit Scholarship/grant/aid opportunities % of students receiving aid Scholarships/Financial Aid availability Faculty- student ratio Faculty credentials Average SAT/ACT scores Class size of freshmen courses Technology and media resources Extra- curricular programs On campus work opportunities College library Other College A College B College C 21

23 WHAT DO COLLEGES LOOK AT DURING THE APPLICATION PROCESS? Course Selection: Colleges prefer to see that a student has gone beyond meeting the minimum high school requirements and has chosen to challenge themselves in their selection of courses. Grade Point Average: CSU and UC schools use the 10th and 11th grade years to determine a student s GPA. However, some private colleges may look at the 9th grade year. Many colleges, while not considering the GPA of the senior year at the time of application, will look at the course selection for the fall semester. Standardized Test Scores: SAT, ACT. Four- year colleges require scores from either the SAT or the ACT. Essays or other writing samples: Writing samples provide information that cannot be determined through normal statistical data on an application form. Counselor/Teacher Recommendations: Recommendations provide another way for the admission officers to get to know an applicant beyond the application form. Extracurricular Activities: Colleges are looking for individuals that are well rounded, students who have many interests. Extracurricular activities may include clubs, theater or music activities, sports, community service, etc. Interview: Some colleges require an interview. If one is required, the student is encouraged to schedule it early on and perhaps coincide it with a campus visit. Often students will interview with an alumni from the school. These interviews may take place locally, the alumni s office, or by phone. Please research the person you are going to be interviewing with before meeting with them. Dress professionally, but be yourself. Practice many times before attending the meeting with various individuals who know you and those that do not. 22

24 ADMISSION TESTING Most four- year institutions require one set of scores from either the ACT or the SAT college entrance exams. It is in the best interest of any college- bound student to determine which exam is best suited to them and focus on taking that exam. PSAT/NMSQT (Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). The PSAT/NMSQT is a multiple- choice test that measures developed verbal, mathematical reasoning abilities, and writing skills important for academic performance in college. The PSAT/NMSQT is administered once a year only, in October, at the OCSA campus. The test compares students with a nationwide group of students (juniors) taking the test. PSAT/NMSQT scores can be used to estimate performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). The PSAT/NMSQT is the route of entry to the National Merit Scholarship Program, the National Achievement Scholarship Program for Outstanding Negro Students, and the National Hispanic Awards Program. Students who take the PSAT/NMSQT may take part in the Student Search Service of the College Board to receive information from colleges about educational and financial aid opportunities. SAT (Scholastic Assessment Test): The SAT is a multiple- choice test that measures critical reading, mathematical, and writing abilities for college entrance. The critical reading questions test vocabulary, verbal reasoning, and understanding of what one reads. The math questions test ability to solve problems involving arithmetic and geometry. The writing component of the test reinforces the importance of writing throughout the student s education. SAT scores help indicate how prepared a student is to do the kind of academic work most colleges require. The SAT is required for college entrance by most colleges and universities. Check college catalogs for information about tests necessary for entrance as well as the number of times the test may be taken. The tests are administered seven times per year at test centers. SAT II which some colleges require for admissions or placement purposes, are one- hour multiple- choice tests in specific subjects. The subject tests measure knowledge of a particular subject and the ability to apply that knowledge. The subject tests should be taken as soon as possible after the last course is taken in that subject. While there are numerous subject tests offered, some colleges require various combinations of the SAT II and some allow students to choose. Check requirement of the colleges to decide which tests to take if the college requires the subject tests. There are six test dates to choose from throughout the school year. The University of California schools no longer require applicants to submit SAT II scores; however some programs/majors may recommend specific test scores be submitted. The Aspire (Practice ACT) assesses 5 content areas: writing, reading, English, math and science. At OCSA we will be assessing students who sign up for this assessment in grades 8 th, 9 th, 10 th, and 11 th grades. The ASPIRE data will help to show a clear line of growth and trajectory towards the goal of college and career readiness after graduation. One of the main goals for this new assessment is to inform students of where they are at. The assessment will show: How did I do? What does it mean? What do I do next?" Which college entrance exam is right for me? 23

25 ACT (American College Testing Program). Many colleges use the ACT as part of the admissions process. Most colleges accept either the SAT or ACT for college entrance. The ACT can help with educational and career planning by collecting information about a student, analyzing it, and reporting it. Students provide information about themselves, the past experiences, and their abilities in the ACT Interest Inventory (part of the registration process). The student is tested in English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. Additionally, there is an optional writing portion, which students applying to a four- year college are encouraged to take. The Student Services Office has more information concerning registration, test dates, deadlines, and cost. It is important to note that the SAT, SAT II, and ACT are three separate exams. All three are not required for college entrance. Check college catalogs or school s specific website for information regarding required tests and possible choices. TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). The major purpose of the TOEFL test is to evaluate the English proficiency of people whose native language is not English. The test uses a multiple- choice format and is given in a single session of about three hours, including the time required for admitting examinees. It consists of three sections: 1. Listening Comprehension measures the ability to understand spoken English. 2. Structure and written Expression measures the ability to recognize language that is appropriate for standard written English. 3. Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension measures the ability to understand non- technical reading matter. Check the college catalog to determine if the TOEFL is required for you. For further information regarding the TOEFL, log on to 24

26 TESTING TIME LINES FOR COLLEGE ADMISSION Sophomores: Students may take the PSAT at OCSA. Scores are returned to students in January. Sophomores are not eligible to enter the competition for National Merit Scholarships. Students should take the June SAT II exam(s) in area(s) related to any sophomore course, if they are UC bound and strong in the course. Sophomores should take the Practice ACT / Aspire test, which is offered, at OCSA in the fall. Aspire scores can be used to estimate performance on the ACT Assessment. The Aspire also has a career interest inventory component. Juniors: Students should take the PSAT in October offered at OCSA. PSAT scores are returned to students in January. PSAT scores may help juniors: Assess their ability to do college work Firm up college plans with parents Predict their college entrance exam scores for the SAT Enter the competition for scholarships awarded by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation Participate in the College Board s Student Search Service which provides information about college and scholarship opportunities Juniors should take the SAT and/or ACT during any of the spring test dates. The SAT/ ACT/SAT II scores can be sent to college(s) under serious consideration. Colleges will save scores until the student applies for admission. Students should take the SAT II in June if they are considering application to a UC campus or competitive private university. Seniors: Seniors should take the SAT or ACT in October, November, or December, if still needed. The SAT II should be taken in November, if still needed. If both the ACT and SAT are taken (or either test repeated), the highest total score will generally be used for college admission. Students planning to apply to competitive campuses should have all remaining testing completed by December. IMPORTANT NOTE: IT IS THE STUDENT S RESPONSIBILITY TO REQUEST THAT THE TESTING ORGANIZATION SEND A COPY OF TEST SCORES (SAT/ACT/SAT II) DIRECTLY TO THE COLLEGE(S). COLLEGE ADMISSION TESTS: All tests are on Saturday morning. Register by mail or online at least six weeks before the test date. Registration materials are available on the website. The SAT and SAT II are given at the same time on the same date; students wishing to take both the SAT I and SAT II must register for two different test dates. OCSA s code number for registration is

27 OPTIONAL MAILING LISTS: Many colleges distribute information to high school students by using selected mailing lists. When registering for college admission tests, a student may request that his/her name be made available to colleges and scholarship agencies. By using the option, students may receive literature from colleges interested in attracting students with certain qualifications. PREPARATION FOR TESTING Suggestions for college admission testing preparation include: College preparatory English and advanced math classes each semester in high school Reading for pleasure as well as for homework assignments Additional preparation in academic areas Begin review and study several (6+) weeks before the test. Study guides are available in libraries and bookstores. Last day cramming will only leave the test taker tired. Visit the SAT Prep Center at or the ACT Prep link at for practice questions and tutorials to help prepare for the test. Suggestions for the day of the test: Do not sit with friends; awareness of others can hinder performance. Bring a watch to keep track of the testing time; pace oneself. Bring a calculator for the math portion of the test. Bring registration ticket and picture ID. Be aware that the SAT is not offered at every high school (OCSA is not an official test site). Check the registration bulletin offered in the Student Services office for testing locations. Do not spend too much time on any one question. Skip the questions and then come back to it if you have time. If the test taker answers about 40-60% correctly, they will receive at least an average score. Be aware that the SAT is scored differently from the ACT: The SAT score is the total number of right answers MINUS a percentage penalty for wrong answers. (However this will change with the New SAT beginning in March 2016) The ACT score is the total number of right answers. 26

28 APPLYING TO A COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY: There are several kinds of admission plans that colleges offer: Rolling: This means that the institution processes applications and makes decisions, as the applications are submitted. There is no deadline, or the deadline is late in the year, such as August. Applicants are notified continuously. This contrasts to colleges that have deadlines and notify applicants at a set time. Regular/Traditional: This type of application option is where the institution has a deadline by which all applications need to be filed. Applicants are then notified after a certain date. Early Decision: This term is used to describe the application process in which the student makes a commitment to the institution, that, if admitted, the student will enroll. Only a student who can make a deliberate and well- reasoned first choice decision should apply under an Early Decision plan because the institution will require a non- refundable deposit well before May 1 (the national reply date). Other features of this option are: The student may apply to other colleges, but may have only one Early Decision application pending at any time. The institution will notify the applicant of the decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time (usually during the winter break) after the Early Decision deadline. A student applying for financial aid will adhere to the institutional Early Decision and application deadlines. If admitted the student will enroll UNLESS the aid award is inadequate. The advantage of this option is that students learn EARLY on in the senior year about their college choice. The unfortunate part of this option is that it has on many occasions created panic among students. More students are selecting this plan because they worry that they will be left out. Again, this option should only be selected by the student who has given much thought and research time to their college choices and can be very certain about their final decision. Early Action: This option differs significantly from Early Decision. The major difference is that Early Action is not binding. Early Action permits the student to apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision early during the senior year (usually during the winter break), well in advance of the normal response dates in the spring. The applicant is NOT committed to enroll at that particular institution. Important features of this option are: The student may apply to other colleges The institution will notify the applicant of the decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time (usually during the winter break) The institution will not offer more than one Early Action deadline date The student applying for aid will adhere to the deadlines The student will not be required to make a commitment prior to May 1, but is encouraged to apply earlier 27

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