Quick Guide for Undocumented Students Applying to the CSU as a First-time Freshmen + Transfer Student

Applying to California State Universities is an incredible accomplishment! Congrats to you! Sometimes the process can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. There are several resources out there to help you! Including, our website! So you are in the right place. Whether you are applying to a CSU as a first time student or as a transfer student, the process can be overwhelming. Keep on reading to get started! 

* This quick guide is intended to support undocumented first-time freshmen and transfer students applying to the CSUs for Fall 2021* To check which CSU’s are still accepting applications click here. 

Applying to the CSU as a first-time student

Overview of Applying to the CSU (for full details and steps click here: Quick Guide for Undocumented Students Applying to the CSU as a First-time Freshmen)   

  1. Visit the Cal State Apply page (Cal State Apply | CSU
  2. Completing Your Profile
    • Degree goal: Select “First Bachelor’s Degree” 
    • Current educational goal: As a first year applicant, you will choose “Graduating High School Senior or equivalent” with or without college credit. This is based upon classes completed and your academic transcripts. 
    • Previous attendance: If you have attended a CSU campus before and are returning to complete an earlier program, make that clear. Contact the campus to find out how to apply for re-admission. 
    • U.S. Military status: Indicate your current or anticipated U.S. Military status at the time of application. 
    • Residency: Indicate if you have or will need an F1 student or J1 exchange visa. Undocumented 
  3. My Application Dashboard: Your dashboard gives you access and details to each part of the application you need to complete. The four sections you must submit are:
    • Personal Information 
    • Academic History 
    • Supporting Information 
    • Program Materials

NOTE: In order to be officially coded as an AB540/ SB68 student and pay resident fees at the CSU, you must submit your affidavit and an official copy of your transcripts/attendance records to the Admissions offices at each of the universities where you applied. Check with each campus for their deadline.

  1. Choosing Your Programs
    • Selecting programs: Click on the plus icon next to add programs/major. Add alternatives if desired.
    • Residency: The state where you claimed residency in the profile section will already be entered. Visit your profile section to change it. Select the state you claim as your permanent home. If you qualify for AB540/SB68, choose “yes” for California residency. Enter the date your present stay began.
    • Race and Ethnicity: Indicate how you identify. You may decline to answer these questions.
    • Parent/Guardian Information 
    • Other Information
  2. Academic History 
    • High Schools Attended
    • High School Coursework 
    • College Coursework 
  3. Submitting Your Application 
    • Be sure to review each section to ensure that your information has been properly entered. Mistakes could complicate or prevent your admission to the CSU. 
    • When you apply through Cal State Apply, you are automatically considered for an application fee waiver based on the information you entered.
    • REMEMBER: Undocumented students who will qualify for AB 540/SB 68 non-resident tuition exemption can be considered for the fee waiver.

For the full guide, go Quick Guide for Undocumented Students Applying to the CSU as a First-time Freshmen 

Applying to the CSU as a transfer student

Overview of Applying to the CSU as a transfer student (for full details and steps click here: Quick Guide for Undocumented Students Applying to the CSU as a Transfer Student   

  1. Visit the Cal State Apply page (Cal State Apply | CSU
  2. Completing Your Profile 
    • Level of degree you’re seeking: Select “First Bachelor’s Degree” 
    • Entry status: As a transfer applicant, you have two options:
      • If you are transferring with an Associate Degree for Transfer, select “Transferring with an Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T, AS-T) from a California Community College.” Indicate your community college and ADT program. You may enter up to two. 
      • If you are transferring from a CA community college or another college, select “Transferring from a California community college or from another two-year or four-year institution.” 
  3. Choosing Your Programs 
    • Selecting programs: Click on the plus icon next to add programs/major. Add alternatives if desired. 
    • You may be asked to select an alternate choice for certain programs that are impacted. Impacted programs are majors that receive more applicants than available spaces. You will automatically be enrolled in this alternate program should your first choice become unavailable.
  1. My Application Dashboard 
    • Personal Information 
    • Academic History 
    • Supporting Information 
    • Program Materials

NOTE: In order to be officially coded as an AB540/ AB2000/SB68 student and pay resident fees at the CSU, you must submit your affidavit and an official copy of your transcripts/attendance records to the Admissions offices at each of the universities where you applied. Check with each campus for their deadline.

  1. Submitting Your Application 
    • Be sure to review each section to ensure that your information has been properly entered. Mistakes could complicate or prevent your admission to the CSU. 
    • When you apply through Cal State Apply, you are automatically considered for an application fee waiver based on the information you entered.
    • Payment: Cal State Apply charges $70 to apply to each program
    • REMEMBER: Undocumented students who will qualify for AB 540/SB 68 non-resident tuition exemption can be considered for the fee waiver.

For the full guide, go Quick Guide for Undocumented Students Applying to the CSU as a Transfer Student

Provided by:

Why Graduation Rate Matters

The graduation rate of the college you are thinking of attending is an important factor. It can tell you a lot about the value of education at the college. 

A low graduation rate can indicate several reasons why the college may not be the best fit for you. Some reasons include a lack of student support services or guidance and a tendency to have students take more remedial courses. Make sure you do a bit of research before you commit! 

 

To learn more about why graduation rate matters, download this guide Why Graduation Rates Matter. Guide provided by DecidED 

 

 

Diversity

When choosing what college to attend, one of the most important components to consider is the campus’s diversity. Not only in terms of race or ethnicity of the student population but also considering how diverse the campus is in terms of cultural background, geographic location, sexual orientations, gender identities, and abilities. These components tend to get overlooked because we are caught up in the beauty of the campus or its reputation.

Diversity is crucial. You must be able to relate to your peers and feel comfortable knowing that your values align with the campus you will earn your degree in. 

 

To learn more about why and how to consider diversity when comparing schools, download this guide Diversity. Guide provided by DecidED 

 

 

Applying to Community College

Applying to Community College

By MONICA AGUILERA

Boba-drinking, Zelda-playing, Horror-watching brown girl from Oaxacalifornia.

Welcome to Community College! Community college is a great option for students who are looking to save money, want to explore different career options, hoping to raise their GPA to transfer, etc. In addition, community colleges offer affordable summer and winter courses that can help you speed up your GE requirements if you already attend a UC or CSU! In California, there are over 116 community colleges you can apply to. 

According to the CCC Chancellor’s office: 

  • Nearly half of students earning a bachelor’s degree from a University of California campus in science, technology, engineering and mathematics transferred from a California community college.
  • Twenty-nine percent of University of California graduates and 51% of California State University graduates started at a community college.
  • Students earning a degree or certificate from a California community college nearly double their earnings within three years.

If these stats are something that you want to be a part of, great, keep following along! 

 How to Apply

  1. The first thing you want to do when applying to community college is visit https://www.cccapply.org/en/apply. This helpful source lets you easily go down the list of 116 community colleges in California.
  2. After selecting the college that interests you the most, (visit our college list if you’re still searching for your just right college), you will be redirected to the college’s personal application.
  3. While every application is different, a majority of applications will consist of:
    • Your Full Name
    • Mailing Address
    • Social Security (SSN)
    • Driver’s License Number
    • High School Transcripts
    • Latest English and Math Classes Completed
  4. After the application is finished, you then complete your FAFSA or Dream Act Application and connect the school you are applying to using their school code.

    If you need support applying for FAFSA, find our guide here 

  5. After finishing your application, your college will most likely request for you to attend orientation, take a math/ english placement test (if you were not able to send in your high school transcripts), and meet with an academic counselor to plan out your courses.
  6. Finally, you start registering for classes and wait for the semester to begin. You are now a college student!

Here are some important dates:  

FAFSA: Opens October 1st- Closes June 30th, 2020

Class Registration: Varies per Campus (check on their personal website)

Other Important Sites to pay for Community College:

CCC Money 

CCC California Promise Grant

Creating a College List Part 2:  How to Research Colleges to Develop a “Balanced College List”

Creating a College List Part 2:  How to Research Colleges to Develop a “Balanced College List”

Once you have spent time “Discovering You” and determined your core values important in your college search, the next step is to begin researching schools and solidifying where you will be applying. Before you begin your college research, it is important to understand how many schools you should apply to and how to construct a balanced college list.

How many colleges should I apply to?

Application platforms nowadays simplify the process, it is important for you to know that just because it is easier for you to apply to a lot of schools, it does not mean that you necessarily should apply to an extraordinary amount.

  • Stay focused and develop a list of eight to twelve total schools that you plan to apply to. These schools should not only meet your core values, but should have your academic major, be financially affordable to you and your family, but, perhaps most important, they are institutions you would be excited to attend if accepted.  

What is a “Reach”, “Target” or “Likely” school? 

In general, a college with an acceptance rate between 1-25% is classified as a “Reach”; a college with an acceptance rate between 26-50% will be classified as “Target”; and colleges with an acceptance rate above 51% will be classified as “Likely” school.  

  • To determine this information for a particular college, the first thing you should do is to visit the admissions website and find the previous year’s admission profile —see the UCLA example below. 
  • If the acceptance rate for that particular school is not easily detected, simply divide the college’s total number of admitted students by the total number of applications it received last year; this will determine their acceptance rate.  
  • It is important to locate the school’s mid-50th percentile for both the GPA and test scores (if they accept them) for last year’s admitted class. If you cannot locate any of this information on their website, do not hesitate to reach out to the admissions office.  Once you have this information, ask yourself, where does my academic profile fit in with this particular college?  

What is a holistic application review?

Something important to note regarding “Reach” and “Likely” schools is that these are considered selective colleges and even if you meet the college’s academic profile, this does not guarantee you will be admitted. 

  • Grades and academic rigor are usually the top two most important factors that go into determining an admissions decision, but most of these selective schools utilize a “holistic” application review in their admissions process.  
  • In addition to grades and test scores, many other factors are considered in their decision; including an applicant’s activities and resume list, interviews, essays, letters of recommendation and demonstrated interest and much more.  

How do I know if my college list is balanced?

While it is important to make sure the colleges you apply to are an academic, social and financial fit for you–and they represent your core college values–it is equally important to make sure you have many realistic options after the whole process is complete.  To have a balanced college list means you have an equal amount of colleges and universities in your “Reach”, “Target” and “Likely” categories that you are excited about applying to–usually three to four colleges in each category.

 

The National Average Acceptance Rate is 66.1%.  Acceptance Rate does not determine if the school is a fit for you or if you will be successful there. 

Reach:  Your academic profile is slightly below the school’s mid 50th percentile and/or school’s acceptance rate is between 1 to 25%

Target:  Your academic profile is in the range of the school’s mid 50th percentile and/or school’s acceptance rate is between 26-50%

Likely:  Your academic profile is above the school’s mid 50th percentile and/or school’s acceptance rate is 50% or higher.  These schools may likely offer you more merit-based scholarships than the other two categories.

**For UC’s, CSU’s or other large state college systems–even though you may apply to more than one school in this system, it is recommended counting these as just one college on your overall college list** 

Don’t be afraid of rejection!

Rejection is a natural part of the college application process and being rejected from that first college is never easy. It is important to understand that selective colleges and universities may also utilize their own institutional priorities that guide them while shaping their admission class each year. These factors vary institution to institution and not all schools may have them every year.  

In general these priorities are not known to those outside the institution and can always change year after year. All in all, students can do everything right in this process and still be denied from a particular school.  So, now that you know this reality, do not be afraid to put yourself out there and please know, if you create a balanced college list, you will certainly have some fantastic options at the end of this process.  

Be Organized!

Create a spreadsheet, like Google Sheets, to keep all of your college research in one place. In the first column, list all of the schools you are planning to research. In the next column indicate if this is a “Reach”, “Target” or “Likely” school using the information indicated above. Additional columns should include the college’s academic profile and acceptance rate, as well as other indicators that will help differentiate the colleges on your list, such as:

  • Percentage of Need-Based Aid the Institution Meets
  • Testing Policies (Test-Optional, Flexible, etc.)
  • Number of Undergraduates
  • 4 and 6-year Graduation Rate
  • Major(s) That Interest You
  • Clubs/Organizations That Interest You
  • Unique Courses Offered
  • Links to Virtual Visit Resources
  • Potential Questions You Have for the College Admissions Counselor
  • Application Deadlines (Early-Decision, Early Action or Regular Decision)
  • Application Platform (Common Application, Coalition, Institutional Application)
  • Supplemental Essays (if required by the institution)
  • Are Optional Interviews Available
  • What You/Parents Think About the College

Organizing yourself with a document like this will not only help you compare the colleges you are researching, it will help you indicate if your college list is balanced. In addition, once your college decisions begin to come in, you will also be able to use this document to easily view the colleges that have accepted you and compare their financial aid packages. All of this will assist you in making that all important decision: out of the colleges that said yes to you, what college will you choose to call home!

Chuck Liddiard is the founder and executive director of The Paratum Scholars, whose vision is to empower students to discover their college, their passion and their path.  Learn more about The Paratum Scholars and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.