College & Career General Info
- RECOMMENDED WEBSITES FOR COLLEGE EXPLORATION
- ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
- 6 STEPS TO GAINING ADMISSION INTO COLLEGE
- IDENTIFYING THE RIGHT COLLEGE FOR YOU
Work hard for good grades.
Enroll in challenging courses.
Spend time preparing for the college entrance exams (SAT or ACT).
Polish your writing skills.
Establish relationships with teachers and advisors who can write strong letters of recommendation for you.
Get involved in activities, community service, or work experiences that will enable you to display your values, talents, and skills.
The process of choosing a college can be overwhelming? Below are a few suggested tips provided from the College Board website -
Identify Your Priorities
Think about who you are and what you're looking for in a college. Make a list of what's most important to you - here are some things to consider
- Affiliation - Public or Private? Independent or Religion Affiliated?
- Size of the Student Body - Size will affect many of your opportunities and experiences, including: Range of academic majors offered, Extracurricular activities, Amount of personal attention you'll receive, When considering size, look beyond the raw number of students attending; a large school may offers some smaller departments or learning communities. Investigate not just the ratio of faculty to students, but how accessible faculty are.
- Location - Do you want to visit home frequently, or do you want to experience a new part of the country? Perhaps you want a city or urban location with access to museums, major league sports, or ethnic foods. Or maybe you prefer easy access to the outdoors or the culture of a small college town?
- Campus Life - Consider what life will be like beyond the classroom. Aim for a balance between academics, activities, and social life. Consider what extracurricular activities, athletics, and special interest groups are available? Does the community around the college offer interesting outlets for students and are students welcomed by the community? Think about the geographic, ethnic, racial and religious diversity of the students. How do fraternities and sororities influence campus life? How are dorms assigned? Is Housing guaranteed - and for how many years?
- Academic Programs - If you know what you want to study, research reputations of academic departments by talking to people in the fields that interest you. If you are undecided, relax and pick an academically balanced institution that offers a range of majors and programs.
- Athletic Programs - If you are an Athlete, which sports are offered and what Division?
- Accreditation - Accreditation is a voluntary process of review and self-regulation by members of an accrediting agency. Accreditation ensures that the institution meets the basic standards of that particular Agency in their administrative procedures, physical facilities and the quality of their academic programs. There are many regional and national accrediting agencies with varying standards. Colleges accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education meet the basic standards for college-level study, their students can apply for Federal Financial Aid and/or federal education tax breaks, and the degree you will earn at the end of your studies will be recognized by future employers.
- Admission Requirements - Required Course work, Tests, GPA?
- Selectivity - How many students apply each year and how many are accepted? What are the average GPA and Test Scores for those accepted?
- Retention and Graduation Rates - Learn the percent of students who return after the first year and the percent of entering students who remain to graduate. Comparatively good retention and graduation rates are indicators that responsible academic, social, and financial support systems exist for most students.
- If the Campus or Major is impacted due to overcrowding, what is the likelihood of getting the courses I need and what is the projected time required to complete the degree program?
- What is the school's policy regarding Advanced Placement high school courses?
- As a freshman, will I be taught by Professors or Teaching Assistants?
- Is the surrounding community safe?
- Can I Afford this College? Today's college price tags make cost an important consideration for most students. Most colleges work to ensure that academically qualified students from every economic circumstance can find financial aid.
Attend College Fairs - Pick up catalogs and brochures, talk to representatives and other students, and feel like you're officially starting the search process.
Attend "College Preview Days" or "Open House" Events and Information Nights - Generally held in the Fall (for seniors) and Spring (for Juniors), these events provide prospective students and parents the opportunity to obtain information and get answers to questions about institutions, their admissions process, financial aid, programs and much more. Preview Days and Open House Events are held at the individual campuses. Information Nights are generally held at a location (such as a Hotels, Public Libraries and Selected High School Campuses) and typically are given by Colleges and Universities located outside of our region or state. Many of the Information Nights are held in the Sacrament and San Francisco areas.
View College Websites and Guidebooks - These resources provide a wealth of information about majors and programs offered, activities, campus life and often Virtual Campus Tours.
Attend Presentations by visiting Admissions Representatives in the Sheldon Career Center - See Mrs. Ochoa in the College & Career Center for a calendar of which campuses will be visiting Bear Creek.
Schedule Campus Visits - You've heard the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words." Well, a campus visit is worth a thousand brochures. Nothing is better than visiting and walking around a campus to get a feel for it. Campus visits are a chance to see the campus and its dorms, libraries, and other facilities in person, talk to admissions officers, observe classes, talk to students about student life (clubs, fraternities, sororities, etc), and much more. Visiting may even make you think of needs you didn't know you had.
Hundreds of thousands of California young people get their start each year in exciting and rewarding careers through secondary Career Technical Education (CTE) courses. Whether students plan to further their education in community colleges, technical schools, or four-year colleges and universities, receive on the job training, or pursue careers in the military, secondary Career Technical Education can be the first step in a pathway toward productive employment and citizenship.
The mission of Career Technical Education is to help empower students for effective participation in an international economy as world-class workers and citizens. CTE programs are designed to contribute to the broad educational achievement of students, including basic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as to their ability to work independently and as part of a team, think creatively and solve problems, and utilize technology.
For more information on Career Technical Education, visit the LUSD Technical Academy Website: lincolntech.lodiusd.net or you may contact a school counselor.
High school graduates and high school students (high school students must obtain a work permit) may decide that they want to find full-time/part-time employment. Certain things should be done before beginning the job hunt.
With some of the initial work out of the way, it is time to start getting organized.
If you are between the ages of 14 to 17 and are working, you must obtain a "Statement of Intent to Employ Minor and Request for Work Permit" This form is available in the Registrars Office. Work hours and regulations are also explained on this form.
Work Permit Request must be completely filled out and then brought to the Registrar's Office for processing. This will usually take up to 2 days to process. Once the Work Permit is complete, you must pick up your completed WORK PERMIT and submit it to your employer for their records.
Bureau of Labor and Statistics -- Occupational Outlook Handbook
California Career Zone -- California Careers
Career Voyages -- Great videos and information on national level
Labor Market Info -- Career search throughout California
Mapping Your Future -- Career exploration
Job-Hunt -- Career and job market information
Inside Career Info -- Career reports from the Real World
IT Career Paths -- One of the leading IT Job resources for the IT/Tech Career Sector
- An AA/AS is an Associates degree and generally takes two years to complete at a community college.
- A BA/BS is a Bachelor’s degree and typically takes at least four years to complete at a 4-year college or university.
2. What is the minimum GPA needed to go to a 4-year college right after high school?
- To go to a California State University (CSU), a student must have at least a 2.00 GPA in all of their college prep classes.
- To go to a University of California (UC), a student must have at least a 3.00 GPA in all of their college prep classes.
- To go to a private or independent college, minimum GPA’s vary.
3. What college admission tests are required to go to college?
- CSU’s require either the SAT or ACT.
- UC’s require either the SAT or ACT + Writing
- SAT subject tests are required by some private colleges and recommended by UCs for some majors.
4. Will Bear Creek High School sign me up to take the SAT and/or ACT? No
5. Do I have to take the SAT or ACT to go to a community college? No
6. When should I take the SAT/SAT subject tests and/or ACT + Writing?
- The SAT and/or ACT + Writing should be taken first in the spring of your junior year and then can be retaken in the fall of your senior year.
- The SAT Subject Tests should be taken as soon as you finish the course you will be tested in.
- You cannot take the SAT Subject Tests and the SAT Reasoning Test during the same test administration; but you may take up to three SAT Subject Tests on a single test date.
7. What if my family cannot afford the fees to take the SAT or ACT or to apply to college?
- There are fee waivers you can apply for when registering to take the SAT or ACT and when you apply to college. Visit the Career Center for more information.
8. What if I earned a “D” in one of my college prep courses, do I need to retake the course?
- If you plan to go directly to a 4-year college after high school, you need to retake the grading period in which you earned a “D”. Non-college preparatory classes do not apply to this rule.
- If you plan to attend a community college after high school, you do not need to retake the class, but you would be better prepared for college level work if you did.
9. How many colleges should I apply to?
- An average number of colleges to apply to are three to six. You could have one or two dream colleges, one or two moderate colleges, and you should always have one or two safe colleges.
10. Should I apply for financial aid? And when do I do that?
- YES, everyone should apply for financial aid regardless of GPA or family income level. Much of financial aid goes un-awarded because students do not apply. Financial aid is given for different reasons and can be used at all different types of colleges: 4-year, community and career technical. Students should apply for financial aid in January of their senior year of high school.
Should I take the PSAT? Absolutely! It’s good practice for the SAT and inexpensive. It is offered only once per year in October. Sign up in early September at the Counseling Office.
When should I take the ACT or SAT? We recommend juniors take the exam(s) at least once in the spring of their junior year. Students applying to UC schools must take the ACT with writing. Some UC departments/majors may recommend one or more SAT Subject tests (e.g. math and science for engineering or science majors) – check the university website or ask your counselor.
How many SAT or ACTs should I take? There is no magic number. Look at the ‘Freshman Profile’ for the colleges you want to attend to see what the average scores are – this will give some guidance. If feasible, take both.
Do I have to take an ACT or SAT if I am going directly to the community college? If you transfer as a junior, you will not be required to have SAT or ACT scores. If you are not 100% sure, take one or more anyway. What can it hurt? Keep your options open.
How do I know if I am eligible to apply directly to a four-year university? You will need to have completed the required ‘A-G’ Subject Requirements with grades of ‘C’ or better to meet minimum eligibility. More competitive colleges will have higher expectations. Meet with your counselor to make sure you are on track and to seek guidance regarding how you can improve your chances of admission to your universities of choice. Private universities may have different criteria (contact the Admissions office).
Will I have a better chance of getting into a prestigious college if I transfer from the community college as a junior? You may, depending on how strongly you performed in high school. If you transfer as a junior, the university will consider your college performance.
If I don’t need algebra 2 (or pre-calculus) to graduate, why should I take it? Entering freshmen (community college and many universities) take a math and English exam for placement purposes. If you do not score proficient at the intermediate (algebra 2) level, you will be placed in one or more remedial math classes which cost $$$, time and = no credit! So, prepare while you are still in high school.
I’ve taken most of my challenging courses early so that I could relax in my senior year. Is that a good idea? NO! Colleges want to know that you challenged yourself up until the end of your high school career – a coach wouldn’t seek out an athlete who hadn’t been in training for over a year. So, keep yourself in good academic shape.
When do I apply for UC, CSU or private colleges? Between Oct. 1-Nov. 30 (CSU) and Nov. 1-30 (UC) of your senior year; private universities will have differing deadlines – check their websites. Contact the admissions offices to get general information mailed to you.
Do I need letters of recommendation for college? Not for UC or CSU schools. Private university and scholarship applications will typically require one or more letters of recommendation (check specifics). Ask people who know you well, and give them at least two weeks notice. Provide a resume or informational facts sheet to help secure a better recommendation. You might consider asking your junior teachers, as they would have had the opportunity to work with you for one full term.
When should I make campus visits? Yesterday! It’s not too early to begin checking out campuses. Try to schedule tours when you are visiting family or during vacation. Don’t wait until your senior year to cram in campus visits, applications, recommendations and essays. Also, check out CollegeWeekLive for periodic virtual campus visits and college fairs online.
How do I find colleges that best fit my goals? Utilize Naviance Student! Visit the College & Career Center or see your counselor. Explore CaliforniaColleges, CollegeBoard, and Cal State Apply to start your search.
What about scholarships? Our College & Career Center posts scholarships on Naviance Student. Most scholarships are offered to seniors, but a few are available for juniors (e.g. Discover Card, WalMart). Go to Fastweb and TuitionFundingSources
When should I apply for financial aid? Beginning Oct 1st of your senior year for the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or CADAA (California Dream Act Application). You can get your FSA ID in the spring of your junior year, if desired.
Will my AP test scores earn me college credit at every university? For the state universities, most probably. Private colleges may handle these in different ways. View AP Credit Policy Search by university.
What if I want to play sports at a Division I or Division II school? Register with the NCAA at the beginning of your senior year. Meet with your counselor to verify that you are on track to meet the NCAA requirements!
- Do I have to take an ACT or SAT if I am going directly to the community college? If you transfer as a junior, you will not be required to have SAT or ACT scores. If you are not 100% sure, take one or more of these tests anyway. What can it hurt?
- Will I have a better chance of getting into a prestigious college if I transfer as a junior? You may, depending on how strongly you performed in high school. If you transfer as a junior, the university will consider your college performance.
- If I don’t need algebra 2 (or pre-calculus) to graduate, why should I take it? Entering freshmen (community college and many universities) take a math and English exam for placement purposes. If you do not score proficient at the intermediate (algebra 2) level, you will be placed in one or more remedial math classes which cost $$$, time and = no credit! So, prepare while you are still in high school.
- When should I apply to the community college? In late February or early March for fall; October for spring admissions.
- When do I apply to 4-year colleges? Apply ONLINE October 1-November 30 for CSU (Cal State Apply). November 1-30 for UC (UC Admissions) ; private universities have differing deadlines – check their websites or call the admissions office for information.
- When do I find out if I am accepted? For CSUs, the earlier you apply, the sooner you will hear back. UC acceptance letters are typically received in early March. Private universities will vary.
- When do I have to make a final decision regarding acceptance? By May 1, in most cases. Read and respond to requests for information carefully when you receive your acceptance letters!
- Should I live in the dorms or off campus? When should I look for housing? Typically, freshman will seek on-campus housing, if available (some schools require freshmen to live on campus). Living on campus gives you the opportunity to network with more students and have your meals provided for you! Apply for housing when you apply for admission (if allowed).
- Do I need letters of recommendation for college? Not for UC or CSU schools. Private university and scholarship applications will typically require one or more letters of recommendation (check specifics). Ask people who know you well, and give them at least two weeks notice. Provide a resume or informational facts sheet to help secure a better recommendation.
- How many colleges should I apply to? Probably 3-4, unless you are planning to stay local: a ‘Dream” school, a couple of “probable admittance” and one “no problem”.
- Should I make campus visits? Absolutely! It’s chancy to buy something without checking it out first (and you don’t want a four year ‘blind’ date). Try to schedule visits periodically throughout your high school career.
- How do I find colleges that will best fit my major and areas of interest? Visit the career center, see your counselor and check out websites listed on the colleges link of the career center.
- How can I find out about scholarships? Our College & Career Center posts scholarships on the Naviance Student and maintains a scholarship file in the College & Career Center. Check weekly. Apply to the financial aid departments at the colleges you are seriously considering. Go to websites such as Fastweb and Tuition Funding Sources
- When should I apply for financial aid? Get your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) or CADAA (California Dream Act Application). You can get your FSA ID in the fall of your senior year. Apply for the FAFSA between Oct. 1 and March 2.
- How many SAT or ACTs should I take? There is no magic number. Look at the ‘Freshman Profile’ for the colleges you want to attend to see what the average scores are – this will give some guidance. If feasible, take both.
- Will my AP test scores earn me college credit at every university? For the state universities, most probably. Private colleges may handle these in different ways. View AP Credit Policy Search by university.
- What if I want to play sports at a Division I or Division II school? Register with the NCAA at the end of your junior year. Meet with your counselor to verify that you are on track to meet the NCAA requirements!
- Will BCHS send my final transcript to my college? Not unless you fill out a ‘REQUEST FOR FINAL TRANSCRIPT’ with the registrar! Please see the Registrar in the Counseling Office, and provide the information to the admissions office of the college you plan to attend.