Parents.College Board -- This website is for parents/guardians to assist students plan for college. Parents/guardians may create an account to receive emails and texts about college information, advice, and reminders. Also available in Spanish version Padres.College Board 
CaliforniaColleges - Official source for college and career planning in California
Bigfuture - "Big Future" College Board College Exploration
CSUMentor - California State University website
CCC - California Community Colleges Information
UniversityofCalifornia - University of California website
AICCU - Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
Educationplanner - One-stop Career and College Planning Website
CollegeWeekLive - College exploration website
CollegeMajors101 - The #1 Resource for College Majors Information
MyMajors - Take the Free quiz to create your customized pathway to college and career readiness
U-CanGotoCollege - Historically Black College and Universities
Petersons - Information on college search and selection, test preparation, and financial aid. Petersons offers online services for essay editing and instruction.
CampusTours - college sites with virtual tours
AffordableonlineAssociateDegrees - Online Associate Degrees
FindingTheBestCommunityCollege - Finding the Best Online Community Colleges


Click on the links below for quick and easy access to college and career websites.
Yosemite Community College District -- Columbia Community College and Modesto Junior College
Los Rios Community College District --American River College, Folsom Lake College, Sacramento City College, and Cosumnes River College


Your high school years are supposed to be fun, but putting effort into your schoolwork and extracurricular experiences can prove beneficial and less stressful when applying to your choice colleges. Although simple, following steps are extremely important!
  1. Work hard for good grades.
  2. Enroll in challenging courses.
  3. Spend time preparing for the college entrance exams (SAT or  ACT).
  4. Polish your writing skills.
  5. Establish relationships with teachers and advisors who can write strong letters of recommendation for you.
  6. Get involved in activities, community service, or work experiences that will enable you to display your values, talents, and skills.
(Princeton Review's The Best 376 Colleges, 2012 Edition)


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?

Research Colleges

  • 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.

College Guide -- The guide features academic record for students, high school year by year, college planning, and money for college.  


Khan Academy

Khan Academy Free Online Test Prep

Khan Academy is a not-for-profit educational organization started by Salman Khan in 2008.

Khan Academy's mission is to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. All resources are completely free forever, regardless of whether you're a student, teacher, home-schooled, principal, or adult returning to the classroom after 20 years.

Online materials cover subjects ranging from math and finance to history and art. With thousands of bite-sized videos, step-by-step problems and instant data, Khan Academy provides a rich and engaging learning experience. You can earn points and gadgets along the way, and coach others as well. Sign up and take the math pretest, then practice and level up your skills! Or choose from thousands of lessons to learn something new. Then on your profile, select your avatar and show off your badges.

Where Do I Begin? How Should I Get Started?

  1. Start by taking a Tour of the Site
  2. Select a topic from the "Learn" menu or do a search for a topic of your choosing! Or practice your skills using the Math Knowledge Map. Start at Addition1, or explore on your own.
  3. Profiles: Log in to see your badges and track your learning progres


ACT Academy is a new resource available to students, it is a free personalized online tool and test practice program. Their are video lessons, interactive practice questions, full-length practice tests, educational games, and other materials targeted to a student's academic needs. 


Number 2 is a free online test prep course for the ACT and GRE. Students get customized courses that include user friendly tutorials, practice sessions, build their vocabulary, and much more. 



4Tests  is a free online practice exams; Educational Exams; SAT, ACT, CLEP, AP, GED, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, etc.. it also has practice exams for Computer Exams, Professional Exams, and Fun Exams. 

Financial Aid

What is this Financial Aid Thing Anyway?

What Is Financial Aid?
Any money from outside the family that pays postsecondary (college) expenses
Understanding College Costs
• More than just tuition:
Also includes room and board, books, transportation, personal expenses, etc.
• Vary by type of college:
Community colleges are less expensive than four- year schools
Private colleges can be more expensive than public colleges
• Look at costs over a child’s entire postsecondary education
Four to six years total
Expected Family Contribution (EFC)
• Amount family can reasonably be expected to contribute, but not what the family will pay to the college
• EFC the same regardless of what college the student attends
• Calculated using a federal form and formula
What Is Financial Need?
• Difference between college costs and EFC
• Will vary by college
• Amount of financial need determines the aid a student will receive
Types of Financial Aid
• Scholarships
Awarded on the basis of merit or unique characteristics; does not have to be paid back
• Grants
Awarded on the basis of financial need; does not have to be paid back
• Loans
Considered self-help aid
Must be paid back, usually after student finishes school
Many different types
A good investment in child’s future
• Employment
Self-help aid
Earnings used to cover college expenses
Sources of Financial Aid
• Federal government
Largest source of financial aid
Awarded mainly on the basis of financial need
Apply every year using a standard form
• States
Offer both merit-based and need-based aid (CalGrant)
Usually have residency requirements
• Colleges
Varies widely from college to college
Offer both merit-based and need-based aid
May be offered as part of the admissions process
• Private sources
Churches, civic organizations, and employers
Varying award amounts and application procedures
Small awards add up
How to Apply for Financial Aid
• Complete a standard federal form every year
• Standard federal form is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA
CA High School Seniors file between October 1st and March 2nd of Senior Year.
Collects demographic and financial information about the student and his or her family
Data used to calculate the EFC
• File the CalGrant GPA Verification Form by March 2nd of the senior year for CalGrant consideration
• Information from the FAFSA may be used by states, colleges, and private sources to award aid
• Ask colleges if other forms are required - Many Private schools require the CSS Profile in addition to the FAFSA.
Federal Financial Aid Programs
• Federal grant programs
Federal Pell Grant
Academic Competitiveness Grant (ACG)
National Science and Mathematics Access to Retain Talent (SMART) Grant
Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) Grant
Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
• Federal loan programs
Federal Perkins Loan Program (borrowed by students)
Stafford Loans (borrowed by students)
PLUS Loans (borrowed by parents and graduate students)
• Federal employment programs
Federal Work-Study (student earns money through a campus provided job to help pay for education)
Estimating Eligibility Using FAFSA4caster
• On-line tool developed by U.S. Department of Education to help families financially prepare for college
Asks for data provided on the FAFSA
Estimates the EFC
Estimates eligibility for federal financial aid
• Estimates possible financial aid at various types of colleges
• Gives an idea of realistic costs, financial need, and financial aid
Researching Financial Aid
• Begin early
• Find scholarships that match student’s academic interests, hobbies, and unique characteristics
• Don’t pay for scholarship searches
• Be wary of promised results
• Report fraud
What to Do Now
• Begin researching financial aid options
• Start saving
• Encourage your student to take college prep classes
• Share information with student
• Encourage student to participate in extracurricular activities
Develop leadership skills
• Help your student develop strong study skills


Do you need help paying for college? The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the first step to Financial Aid. If you are not eligible to file the FAFSA but meet AB540 criteria, you may be eligible to file the California Dream Act Application (CADAA) and qualify for California Aid.
Attend a FREE Cash For College Workshop. We'll assist you with filling out the FAFSA or CADAA. 
Think your family income is too high and you won't qualify for financial aid?
- MIDDLE CLASS SCHOLARSHIP provides undergraduate students with family incomes up to $150,000. a scholarship to attend University of California (UC) or California State University (CSU) campuses.
Wed, Dec 5, 2018 in the Library from 4:00-7:00 pm
Information and Materials you need to bring to the workshop in order to complete the FAFSA or CADAA:
  • student's and parent's FSA ID (if available)
  • student's Social Security card and drivers license (or government issued ID) if available
  • parent's Social Security card (if available)
  • parent's federal income tax return or W-2 forms from tax year 2017
  • records of untaxed income such as child support, TANF, interest income, veterans non-education benefits, Social Security benefits
  • student W-2 forms, pay records or records of income earned during 2017
  • bank account records or statements
  • records of stocks, bonds or investments
  • business records
  • if not a US citizen, bring alien registration card (if available)
  • a list of the colleges you are interested in
Remember, to qualify for a Cal Grant you must submit the FAFSA or CADAA no later than March 2nd.
LUSD high schools will submit all senior Cal Grant GPA's to the California Student Aid Commission for Cal Grant consideration by October 1st. Create your account on Webgrants4students to check your California Aid Report (CAR) once your FAFSA and GPA have been submitted.
Can't join us on Dec 5th? Visit Cash4College for a complete list of workshops in your area.



Estimate your aid with FAFSA4caster


How much will my loan payment be and how much interest will I pay?

Check out the FinAid when deciding about student loans.



High school graduates may decide that they want to find full-time employment and start bringing home a regular paycheck. Certain things should be done before beginning the job hunt.
  1. Discover your interests. Reflect on past part-time jobs, volunteer work, and everyday tasks that were enjoyable.
  2. Explore job options. Find out what types of jobs are available to high school graduates who have little or no further training.
  3. Conduct informational interviews. Sit down and talk to someone who is currently working in a job that might be of interest.
  4. Network. Ask friends, family, and neighbors if they have any connections to help find a job. This may be the best way to find employment, because the majority of jobs are not advertised.
With some of the initial work out of the way, it is time to start getting organized.
  1. Write a resume. Be sure to stress education, part-time and summer jobs, clubs, and awards.
  2. Locate job openings. Use a combination of the following resources:
  • Local newspaper
  • Internet
  • Local library
  • Employment centers
  • Family, friends, and neighbors
  1. Apply for a job. This usually means submitting a cover letter, resume, and job application.
  2. Prepare for the interview. Research the company and job before going on the interview. Also, rehearse some answers to possible interview questions.
  3. Follow-up. Write a thank you note. This helps remind employers who you are and lets them know that you are still interested in the job.


Brain Track -- University, College & Career Searches
Bureau of Labor and Statistics -- Occupational Outlook Handbook
California Career Zone -- California Careers
Career Voyages --  Great videos and information on national level
PBS Road Trip Nation -- “Road Trip Nation”
Labor Market Info -- Career search throughout California
Mapping Your Future -- Career exploration
Job-Hunt -- Career and job market information
Getting Ready College Early -- Handbook for parents and educators
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