FAIR OPPORTUNITY PROJECT COLLEGE ADMISSIONS GUIDE
The following guide is the product of 20+ college students, 250 high school counselors, and numerous advisors in the education space.
Need this guide in another language? Several languages, including Chinese, Korean and Spanish are available at the Fair Opportunity Project website.
INTERESTED IN GOING TO COLLEGE OUTSIDE OF CALIFORNIA?
When you think of college athletics, often it’s the NCAA (Div I, Div II etc.) that comes to mind. The NCAA is comprised of approximately 460,000 student-athletes at more than 1,200 schools, conferences and affiliate organizations, all vying to compete in one of 89 championship events under the NCAA umbrella.
The NAIA is a much smaller association of schools than the NCAA but is a formidable association, including more than 260 colleges and universities and representing 60,000 student-athletes. The NAIA also oversees 23 national championships in 13 different sports. And while the overall level of competition isn’t what you would find at D-I schools, NAIA sports are generally considered to be on par with NCAA Division II schools.
"I was Accepted!"
57th Assembly District College Career Fair
COLLEGE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS I: THE RIGHT CLASSES!
Most colleges and universities have a certain set of classes you must take to be eligible for admission. The most common pattern is the A-G requirements used by the CSU and UC system. While private schools may vary, following this pattern will ensure you are well on your way.
COLLEGE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS II:
Maybe you took all the right classes... but how did you do in those classes? GPA has a big impact on how competitive an applicant you can be. If you earned D grades in any A-G classes, you'll have to repeat them. The CSU and UC will not recognize D grades as meeting the requirements; independent schools might, but they really impact your cumulative GPA. Keep in mind that there are many different GPA's that are used for colleges, financial aid, and even scholarships. On a very basic level, your GPA is made up using the following formula:
A= 4 points, B= 3 points, C= 2 points, D= 1 point and F= 0 points; add up the number of points you have and divide by the number of classes you counted. What about honors? Great question!
Here is a quick reference breaking down the different GPA's that are often used:
Cumulative Unweighted GPA (found on your transcript): Every class listed on your transcript using the basic formula above with NO additional points for honors or AP classes. This GPA can never be higher than 4.0.
Cumulative Weighted GPA (found on your transcript): Every class listed on your transcript; an extra point will be given for every honors or AP class where a C or higher is earned. While this GPA can often go above a 4.0, the GPA scale used is still considered to be a 4.0 scale.
A-G College Admission GPA, often referred to as a "recalculated GPA": This GPA is NOT found on your transcript; however you will be given a CSU Eligibility report in your junior year with this GPA. CSU and UC campuses use this GPA to evaluate students for college admission. It includes only the grades earned in A-G classes beginning the summer after freshmen year. AP classes will always earn an extra point (as long as they are passed with a C or better) but not many honors classes are given an extra point for this GPA. To see what La Puente offers that is A-G approved as well as which classes earn the extra point, see our official A-G course list. Keep in mind that colleges will limit extra points to a maximum of eight semesters, including no more than four semesters taken in the 10th grade year.
REPEATED COURSES: If you earn a grade of D or lower in a class and choose to repeat it for grade improvement, the higher grade earned will be used to calculate your GPA provided the courses are the same. Example, if you earn a D in Algebra 2 and then take Algebra 2 again over summer school and earn an A, the A would be used in your GPA calculation, not the D. However, if you earned an F in English 2 Honors and then took English 2 over summer school and got a B, BOTH the F and B would be calculated in your GPA since they are not the same course.
COLLEGE ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS III: ADMISSION TESTING!
(CURRENTLY ON HOLD, SAT OR ACT NOT REQUIRED FOR CSU AND UC)
- There are two options for college admission testing, the SAT and the ACT. While most people tend to be more familiar with the SAT, both tests are viewed equally by colleges and universities. To determine which test may be best for you, we recommend taking a practice test or two that can help you make a decision. La Puente offers the PSAT every October.
- When should you take your admissions tests? Generally, we recommend taking the official test during the spring of junior year. This gives you more time in classes that will expose you to content that will be on the test. While you can always test earlier, especially if you are taking prep classes or are in advanced math, the deadline will be November of your senior year - while many schools will also take December scores, you are safer getting it done by November.
- What about SAT Subject Tests? SAT subject tests are hour long, multiple-choice exams that assess a student’s knowledge in a specific subject. These test are less commonly completed by students than the ACT or SAT. They may be required by some schools, though not the CSU or UC systems. Other colleges strongly recommend them, and some schools have no preference at all. Usually the recommendation is based on your intended major. Subject tests should be viewed as an opportunity to provide depth and variety to your profile if you feel you can do well.
Confusing? Don't worry, that's why you have a counselor!
COLLEGE SEARCH WEBSITES
Below are a sample of the different search engines and websites devoted to helping you choose the best school for you. Always be aware that some sites are geared towards schools that have paid to advertise, but generally they provide pretty accurate information. It is always best to double check information on the actual school website.
California Colleges: A highly recommended all-in-one search site to help start your search.
Big Future School Match Assistant:This is a great site that allows you to begin with over 3,000 schools across the country and narrow down based on factors important to you. Really great for looking at details such as price, especially for in state versus out of state tuition!
Major and Career Descriptions: Not sure what you want to do after high school? Check out this great resource provided by CollegeBoard. Here you can search by major categories or by career categories to see what options you might want to pursue. It may not have everything, but it is a really easy way to start researching different paths for after high school.
Cappex: This a pretty inclusive site that allows you not only to research various schools, but they have a calculator that will determine your odds of getting into a specific college, based on numbers alone of course. That are also a lot of student reviews and worksheets.
University of California System: Going directly to the source is always a good idea! Our website has compiled bits of information and links to specific sections of the bigger UC site. Check it out for a great overview and search away!
California State University System: Yup, you guessed it - we have information for you posted for the CSU system too! The major search is particularly helpful when trying to decide which of the 23 campuses in California may be a good match for you.