The seniors of Oceana High School are almost there; it’s only a little longer before they graduate and leave their high school life behind. But for many, this does not signal an end to their education. For many, the next step in life is college, where they will obtain the skills necessary to get the jobs they want and to live independently. Before that, however, the future graduates must apply to a college. For seniors who are taking a break from education, or for future seniors who plan to go to college, OHS senior JT DePriest explains the process he went through when he filled out his own college applications.
The first thing many will think of when hearing about applying to a college would be, of course, the applications.
Before someone can even apply to a college, however, they must be sure to have met the requirements to get into one. As JT puts it, “You have to pass all your classes and get good grades […], and then even once you meet those requirements, the better your numbers look the higher your chances are.” But what are these requirements you must meet to be able to apply to a CSU or UC? At Oceana High School, this information is made known and available to students from the start of freshman year in their OHS planner, pictured below.
For JT, the applications he filled out were for California State Universities (CSU) and Universities of California (UC), both with their own application processes. “This year, at least, the UC application had you do four separate mini essays,” JT recalls. “You had a choice between ten different questions you could answer, […] such as how you’ve impacted your community, or what you would say your greatest strengths are. […] They were more personalized.” JT finds the CSU applications “significantly easier” than the UC applications. “[…] it was just filling out information, and you got in based on purely your numbers.” It required more basic information, such as “information from the transcript, as well as name, parents, that kind of stuff.” This sort of information is a requirement for both college systems’ applications, but UC’s have the additional essay requirement.
Applications have deadlines, and if they are not completed on time you may have difficulty getting into classes you want, or you may even have to wait for the next semester to enroll. JT applied for the Fall semester of 2019, and says, “Most applications were due November 31st.” Applications are commonly due approximately half a year before the term you are enrolling in begins, so be sure to plan ahead and turn them in on time. Information on deadlines can be found on UC and CSU websites.
Once applications have been finished and sent in, it’s time to wait. While JT had to wait only one month to hear back from one of the colleges he applied to, he talks about how most only let him know whether he had been accepted or not four months later, in March. But for some, he was put onto a wait list, where he is “still waiting” for the colleges to process other applications and decide if he will fit into their roster of students. During this time, it is important to keep your grades up and be sure that you will have met the entrance requirements by graduation.
To close off the interview, JT gives advice to future college applicants. “It’s never really too early to start working on applying for college […], even if you’re just doing scholarships or just improving your grades so you have a better chance to get into it. Though the only thing I’d say is, just be prepared, because once you finally do get accepted, or if you don’t get accepted, there’s a lot of stuff you have to do in a short amount of time, like filling out a bunch of paperwork. So just always check your emails once you start applying.”