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College Application Tips

Use the information on this page to ensure you have the information needed for completing college applications. In addition, tips are provided to help you successfully complete college applications. Having the following information on hand before you start your application will definitely make the process go faster.


  • A copy of your transcript for each high school and college you attended and a copy of SCHS’ UC and CSU approved course list. Don’t enter classes and grades from memory; misreporting your academic record can jeopardize your application. When completing applications, report only approved UC/CSU courses taken and grades received. If they have been pre-approved, the courses will show up on the pull down menus. For out of state schools, you will have to type courses in under “other” in the pull down menu. REPEATING CLASSES: Both university systems allow the repeating of a grade below “C.” UC wants you to report the “D” or “F” and the repeated grade (their admission staff will recalculate the GPA using the repeated grade only); CSU wants you to show the repeated grade only on the application (this allows their built-in GPA calculation system to function properly in your favor).

  • Name, dates attended, address and CEEB or School Code # for all schools attended (check UC Pathways or CSU Mentor on-line for high schools in California). SCHS’s Code # is 053-297. In case you need them, Cabrillo’s College Code # is 4084 and UC’s College Code is 4860.

  • Parent Information: Name, address, estimated annual income for each parent. Read each application’s information regarding how to handle this information if your parents are separated, divorced, out-of-home but financially supporting you, etc.

Tips for Completing College Applications

  • Be sure to spell your name exactly the same on all documents. For example: Your name should be the same on your Social Security card, your transcript, your registration for SAT and ACT testing, etc. Some universities will provide a reference to A.K.A. (Also Known As) or Alias, if applicable. If your test scores are listed by a different spelling, it is recommended that you email each campus to which you are applying to be sure that they know that test reports for “J. R. Smith” are really for “James Robert Smith.”

  • Complete the application on-line if you can. Both CSU and UC prefer that you apply on-line. In fact, UC is not providing a printed version this year—though one can be downloaded. You will need a current Web Browser on your computer— one can be downloaded from CSU Mentor or UC’s Pathways site. Also you must disable pop-up blockers, as much of the application relies on you viewing pop-up information (you can look for a message at the top of the window to see if content is being blocked and temporarily allow blocked content). Viewing their application virtual tours or movies will answer many questions and likely prevent errors that could delay your application or cause you to be denied.

  • Be thorough and honest regarding all aspects of your college applications. These are legal documents and once submitted, it is your responsibility to inform them (in writing by email or letter) of any changes or corrections to the original application. For instance, if you drop a class that you listed on your application, you must let the campuses to which you applied know. Otherwise, when the college you want to attend receives your final transcript and realizes that your transcript is different from your application, it could be grounds for them to rescind your acceptance.

  • All universities are looking to make sure that the senior year is academically challenging. If your senior year lacks rigor, add something for 2nd semester.

  • Apply broadly: “86% of students who applied to 4 campuses were admitted to one of their choices” Whether you apply to UCs, CSUs or private universities, apply to a couple campuses that would be a real stretch (likely won’t get in), 2-3 campuses where you have a good chance of getting in and a couple campuses where you know you will get in (safety schools).


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