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Private Colleges & Universities

Private colleges and universities may carry a hefty price tag but the benefits may outweigh the cost.  HuffPost Top 5 Reasons to Apply to a Private School list five top reasons to apply to private universities:

  1. Financial stability helps students to graduate in four years.
  2. Educational curriculum is flexible and innovative
  3. Close interaction among students and with professors.
  4. Campus culture tailored to students’ values and personalities.
  5. Job preparation through critical thinking and perspective.

Steps to Take:

  • Location/Sites: AICCU publishes a list of California private school with valuable information on schools and Common App has a list of their schools.
  • Most will require A-G and SAT or ACT.  Check school websites.  CaliforniaColleges publishes a quick guide for course work requirements for private schools in California and Common App has a list of the requirements for the schools in their system.
  • Filing Periods: Filing dates vary by school.  Most begin in January and may go as late as April.  Check dates on college and application websites.
  • Applications:
  • Common App: More than 800 schools use Common App for applications.  How to apply walks you through the process.
  • School-Specific Application: Certain schools use their own applications.  Check their website for application procedures.
  • Deadlines:  Be aware of each school’s deadlines.  Check email daily and follow up as soon as possible.  Do not leave things to the last minute!!! 
  • Essays: Most applications will require an essay.  Here are some tips.
  • Letter or Recommendations:  Request letters of recommendations early.

Words to Know
College lingo may be a bit confusing.  The Common Application has a great Application Dictionary.  Here are some of the definitions that you should know.

Early Action (EA) is an application process by which you apply and receive a decision much earlier than the Regular Decision notification date. However, unlike Early Decision (ED), Early Action is "non-binding." In other words, if accepted by a college under the Early Action plan, you have no obligation to enroll and will have until May 1st to consider the offer and confirm enrollment. 

Early Decision (ED) is an application process by which you commit to enrolling to a certain college if you're admitted. You might hear people refer to Early Decision as a "binding" plan. This means that you can apply to other colleges but only one can be marked as your Early Decision college. If admitted to your Early Decision college, you must withdraw your applications from all other colleges. 

Rolling is the term used for a decision plan that lets students submit an application at any time throughout the year. The institutions that offer this plan review applications as they are submitted and render admission decisions throughout the admission cycle. If accepted by a college under this plan, you will have until May 1st to consider the offer and confirm enrollment.