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Free Resources

This page has helpful information in the following categories:


Researching Colleges

  • Online Resources
  • Guidebooks
  • College Fairs & Tours
  • University of California 
  • California State Universities
  • California Community Colleges


Interest, Major & Career Assessment Tools


Standardized Tests

  • Registration and Test Dates
  • SAT Information
  • ACT Information
  • Comparison Charts SAT v ACT
  • SAT Prep
  • ACT Prep


College Application Forms


Financial Aid Information


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RESEARCHING COLLEGES

ONLINE RESOURCES


CaliforniaColleges.edu.  Information on all two and four year colleges in California, includes information on college, career and financial aid planning.


Cappex.  College Search Program.  Research and compare colleges and create lists. Includes admissions chances, scattergrams, majors, scholarships.


Collegeboard. College search program, Big Future, from the publisher of the SAT. Research campuses and create lists using personal search criteria (location, size, major, etc.)


CollegeExpress. Research colleges, category lists, grad schools, summer enrichment, other interests.  Lists for everything from "Colleges for the Fun Loving" to "Colleges with Strength in Snowboarding” and “Colleges with Great Food.”
 

College Navigator. College search and comparison program by the National Center for Educational Statistics.


College Results Online. College graduation rates for four year colleges and universities across the U.S.


College Scorecard. By U.S. Dept. of Education. Provides campus and financial aid statistics such as average annual cost, graduation rates,  post-graduation average salaries, and information on student debt.  


Colleges that Change Lives. Recommends Top 50 Liberal Arts Colleges.


CollegeWeek Live. Research and connect live with 200+ colleges and admissions officers around the world.  Online videos and presentations by colleges.


Common Data Set.   Simply Google “Common Data Set” for the college you are interested in. Comprehensive statistics on majors, enrollment and admittance history.


Cal State Apply. Information for all CSU campuses.


Fairtest. Provides list of 925+ test optional colleges that do not use SAT or ACT in admissions.


GPA Calculator. Calculate your weighted and unweighted GPA to help understand your admission chances.


Naviance.  Potentially available through your high school.  College search program. Research campuses and create lists using personal search criteria (location, size, major, etc.)


Niche. College reviews by students.


Parchment.  Understand admission chances, enter GPA, test scores, extracurriculars. Trusted source. Transcript sending service for thousands of students to verify high school grades and tracks who is accepted where.  Navigate to Students & Alumni then My Admissions Chances.


The Princeton Review. College search program. Research campuses using your preferred criteria, (location, size, major, etc.).  Colleges rated by 143,000+ students in categories such as Top 300 Colleges, Top Colleges for Entrepreneurship, Colleges that Empower Students, etc.


Unigo.  Student submitted photos, videos and reviews of colleges.


University of California. Admission information for all UC campuses.


You University TV.  Videos of universities and colleges listed by a number of different categories, “Best Campus Food,” “Coolest Dorms,” "Most Beautiful Campus," "Trending Now,” etc.

 
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GUIDEBOOKS
 

Fiske Guide to Colleges by Edward Fiske


The Best 381 Colleges by The Princeton Review or use website www.princetonreview.com


Insider’s Guide to the Colleges, 2015: Students On Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know by Yale Daily News


K&W Guide to Colleges for Students with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD by Kravets and Wax


College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs, 3rd Edition, by Paul Harrington


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COLLEGE FAIRS & TOURS
 

In-Person Fairs

Talk to admission reps and research many schools in one place.  Free events, pre-register if available.
 

NACAC College Fair  in Santa Clara at the Convention Center           Saturday, April 25, 2020
WACAC College Fair at West Valley College, Saratoga.                       Spring 2020, Details TBD
Colleges that Change Lives, LAC’s. Marriott, Santa Clara                    Summer 2020, Details TBD

NACAC STEM Fair, Silicon Valley, Santa Clara Convention Ctr           Sun, Oct. 6, 2019, 1:00pm - 4pm

NACAC Visual & Performing Arts College Fair, Santa Clara                Thurs, Sept. 19, 2019, 7pm - 9pm
 

Online College Tours
 

Many campuses offer virtual tours on their websites.  Check individual campus.


CollegeWeek Live. Research and connect live with 200+ colleges and admissions officers around the world.  Online videos and presentations by colleges.


You University TV.  Videos of universities and colleges listed by a number of different categories, “Best Campus Food,” “Coolest Dorms,” "Most Beautiful Campus," "Trending Now,” etc.

 

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UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA
 

Admissions are based on holistic review of 14 factors listed below.  UC’s require either SAT or ACT, application requires answering 4 of 8 personal insight questions.  Some majors require / encourage SAT Subject Tests.  Each of the eight personal insight questions is linked to the 14 admission factors in some way.  UC’s do not require (nor do they read) letters of recommendation.  They only look at grades in 10th and 11th grade a-g courses.
 

14 Factors Considered in UC Application Review


UC Admissions for California residents


Freshman Class Profiles by Campus


a – g Course List. Search for courses at your high school that meet the a-g course requirements at CSU’s & UC’s. 

UC Majors and Programs


SAT Subject Test recommendations for individual campuses


Campus Admission profiles for freshman and transfer students


Apply Online


UC Personal Insight Prompts


Links to each university:
 

UC Berkeley

UC Davis 

UC Irvine 

UCLA 

UC Merced
UC Riverside 

UC San Diego 

UC Santa Barbara 

UC Santa Cruz
 

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CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITIES (CSU’s)
 

Admissions are determined by an Index formula based on grades in CSU-approved courses, and SAT or ACT scores.  No essays or letters of recommendation are required.  Only look at grades in 10th and 11th grade a-g courses.


Cal State Apply.  One stop for nearly all CSU admissions information.


Freshman Admissions Requirements Overview


CSU Eligibility Index calculator for California students.  Calculates MINIMUM eligibility for admission, however many majors and campuses are impacted meaning that indexes for admitted students greatly exceed the minimum threshold.


a – g Course List.  Search for courses at your high school that meet the a-g course requirements at CSU’s & UC’s. 


CSU Degrees and Programs.  Face to face, online and hybrid programs. 


Impacted campuses and majors


CSU Campus Map


CSU Comparative Review of Campuses and Links to each campus
 

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CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES
 

Over 100 campuses in CA.  Check each campus for admission requirements but in general a high school diploma or GED is required or over 18 years old.  High school students may take classes to count for HS graduation.  Check each campus’s policy.


California Community College Homepage

Admission Requirements

Apply Online

CSU Transfer Pathways for students with Associates Degrees

CSU Transfer Overview

UC Transfer Pathways

DeAnza Admissions Information

West Valley Admissions Information

 

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INTEREST ASSESSMENTS & RESEARCH TOOLS
 

Big Future.  Information to explore majors and careers.


CaliforniaColleges.edu.  Interest, skill and career assessment surveys.  Career exploration resources.


Naviance.  Potentially available through your high school.  In ABOUT ME tab: Strengths Explorer, Career Interest Profiler and Career Cluster survey.


O'Net Interest Profiler.  60 Question /5-minute-long Interest Survey.  Maps results into suggested careers based on level of training you desire.


ETC CollegeBuddy.  College Majors cross-referenced with sample careers and salary information.


College Majors 101


My Majors


College Majors Handbook with Real Career Paths and Payoffs, 3rd Edition, by Paul Harrington

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STANDARDIZED TESTS
 

REGISTRATION AND DATES
 

SAT Reasoning & SAT Subject Tests.  Register, Test Dates, Test Prep by College Board. 

ACT.  Register, Test Dates. Test Prep.

Content Comparison Chart – New SAT vs ACT


SAT PRACTICE
 

Khan Academy.  Free online prep, self-paced, practice and full length practice tests.

SAT Question of the Day.  Available on ITunes or Google Store.

SAT Practice Questions 

SAT Full Practice Test 

Get ready for the SAT Subject Tests.  Free downloadable guide.

Subject Test Practice Questions
 


ACT PRACTICE
 

ACT Question of the Day 

ACT Practice Test questions

ACT Full Practice Test
 


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COLLEGE APPLICATION FORMS
 

Cal State Apply.  For all California State Universities.

University of California.  For all UC's.

Common Application.  One application accepted at more than 800 member colleges.

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success
 

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FINANCIAL AID
 

Estimated Family Contribution (EFC) Calculator.    Students and their families are expected to contribute to the cost of college to the extent that they’re able. Use this Calculator to estimate how much the student’s family will be expected to contribute for the year and gain insight into financial aid eligibility. If you’re unable to contribute the entire cost of college, financial aid is available to bridge the gap. The difference between the total cost and the student's EFC is considered the student's financial need and the amount of aid you’re eligible to receive.
 

If you have a specific college in mind, you can get a more accurate estimate of your real cost by using the net price calculator on its financial aid website.
 

FORMS
 

1. FAFSA.  Requires information from your Federal income tax return.  For more information refer to the links below:


FAFSA FAQ’s

Federal Student ID.


2. CSS Profile.   Required by some private colleges in addition to the FAFSA.  In addition to information from your Federal Income Tax Return it also requires information on various assets.
 

TOOLS & RESOURCES
 

FAFSA-4-Caster.   Instead of waiting until your senior year to find out your eligibility for federal student aid, you can use FAFSA4caster at any time to estimate your eligibility early, which will give you better insight when building your list and making college choices.


Compare Aid Awards.  Use to compare financial aid awards for colleges that you’ve been accepted to.


Federal Student Loan Repayment Calculator.   To understand options available for loan repayments for various types of loans.
 

Federal Student Aid.  From the US Department of Education, has comprehensive information on types of aid, qualifying for aid, applying for aid and managing loans.


California Student Aid Commission.  Information and resources on the following areas:


Cal Grant Program Eligibility and Application Process


Middle Class Scholarship (income and assets up to $156k)


California Dream Act.  AB 540 allows non-resident students who meet certain qualifications to pay in-state tuition. These students may include undocumented students, students who are US citizens but who are not CA residents, and dependent students whose parents are not CA residents.


CaliforniaColleges.EDU.   Financial aid planning resources for Californians; What is financial aid?  What are the types of financial aid? Financial Aid 101 presentation.  Financial aid Calculators.  Build Your Financial Aid Plan.
 

CAL Grant Income & Asset Ceilings.  Eligibility based on family size, dependency status, income and assets.