Differences You Need to Know for College Applications

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No matter which college you’re applying to, you need to know the differences between each application.

Ethan Cardenas, Staff Writer, Copy Editor, Podcast Scriptwriter

It is now college application season for our seniors here at Segerstrom, and many of them are starting to think about where they want to go and which system will fit them best. There are four main college systems for them to choose from within the state; community colleges, Cal States, UCs, and private institutions. Each of these systems has different application processes, and navigating them can be tough. 

Students wanting to save money, have small class sizes while completing general education courses, or earn an associate degree, might consider applying to a community college. The process for applying to a community college is pretty simple because all you need to do to apply is fill out the school’s application and send in transcripts. In general, these applications ask for basic personal and demographic information. Some require students to fill out financial details as well. Community colleges do not have a minimum GPA requirement to apply, unlike most 4-year universities and colleges.

Applying to a Cal State can be a little bit more complicated than that of a community college as prospective students have to fill out more information about themselves. To apply to a Cal State, applicants apply using a common application that can be used to apply to any of the schools in the Cal State system. They also ask for financials and activities applicants have completed outside of school, or extracurriculars, which makes students stand out from each other. There could also be supplemental portions to this application that certain schools also require. To apply to CSU, the minimum GPA requirement is 2.5. Applicants should also be aware of the CSU policy that requires all students to be vaccinated on campus unless they have applied for an exemption.

For seniors applying to UC schools, the process becomes a bit more complex. To apply to a UC, seniors need everything from both the community college and Cal State applications, plus they need to answer at least four personal insight questions (PIQs). There are eight total PIQs for students to choose from, all of which shed some sort of light on the applicant, not only as a student but as a person, in general. These questions are very crucial in the UC application process and play a huge role in the decision-making process for all admissions offices. The UC application process probably takes the longest out of any public college application process; these PIQs need to be written, read over and proofread for the best chance of getting in. To apply to a UC, the minimum GPA required is 3.0, but a 3.5 is preferred at the very least.

Completing private college applications differ from school to school as they all have their own system, yet a majority of private schools will require letters of recommendation from a teacher. These letters of recommendation are preferred by teachers students had their junior year rather than their senior year. The reason is the teachers from the year before have known students for a full year, while senior teachers are still getting to know their senior students.

Regardless of what kind of college or university you want to apply to it is vital for you to have your personal information ready and your transcripts for all applications you are planning to fill out.