College Applications 

Take time to review the college application before you start. See what information you will need to provide. It's a good idea to have everything prepared before you start your application so you're not trying to track down information at the last minute.

For most college applications you'll need:


Have an unofficial transcript and refer to it as you fill out the application to ensure the information you enter is accurate.


Test scores. 

If you're a freshman or sophomore applicant, you'll have to include your scores from the ACT Plus Writing or the SAT Reasoning Test. (If you're applying for fall, be sure to complete these tests by December). All applicants should report scores for any SAT Subject Tests, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, TOEFL or IELTS exams they have taken.

Annual income 

for last year and the current year (your parents' if you're a dependent; your income if you're independent). This is optional unless you're applying for an application fee waiver or for the Educational Opportunity Program.

Social Security number. 

if you have one. We use this to match your application to things like your test score report, final transcript(s) and, if you're applying for financial aid, your Free Application for Federal Student Aid. If you do not have a social security number, you can apply for one here.

Citizenship status. 

You must enter your country of citizenship (or "No Selection"). If your country of citizenship is outside the United States, you'll need to provide your immigration status and your visa type. 

California Statewide Student ID (optional). 

Each K-12 student in California public schools is assigned an ID number. If it's not printed on your transcript, ask your counselor or registrar. 


It's a good idea to write your essays in advance so you have time to revise them. Have your case manager, English teacher, or other adult read them for grammar errors and clarity. Essay topics vary by school, but the Common Application essays (650 words maximum each) are:

                  Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete                       without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

                  Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

                  Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again? 

                  Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to                          you?

                  Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your                                 culture, community, or family.

Credit card. 

If you prefer to pay by check, you can mail your payment.


Generally you want to apply to at least four colleges. We suggest 6-8 colleges if applying to four-year institutions, at least two of which you should be fully qualified for (often called 'safety schools').

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