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 



Gap Year & Leave of Absence

Gap Year & Leave of Absence

If for whatever reason, attending school is not a viable option at the moment, you may consider taking a gap year or leave of absence. This page covers the basics of what a gap year and/or leave of absence are. Please read more below.

Gap Year vs Leave of Absence The Daily Iowan | Point/Counterpoint | Should students take a gap year?

A gap year is defined as taking a break before starting college, whereas a leave of absence is taking a break already in the middle of your college career. If you are an incoming freshman, you will consider taking a gap year. If you are an upperclassman, you will consider taking a leave of absence.

Gap Year Overview 

If you are an incoming freshman but may need to take a break before starting college, you may consider a gap year.

To start off, consider whether or not you have been admitted into a college yet. If you have not been admitted into a college, you will have to go through the entire application process as a freshman for whatever you’d like to start school.

If you have been admitted into a college, you may be able to defer your acceptance for a later term; this means you can start school later than originally applied to. Be aware that not all colleges (especially larger or more competitive schools) offer the option to defer. If they do not offer a deferment process, you will need to completely reapply or choose to go to a school with deferment. Note that because community colleges have open-enrollment policies, you can more flexibly choose your starting term. CSU and UC schools vary internally on deferment; please check your deferment options with your prospective school’s Admissions or Registrar office.

It is highly recommended that you secure your plans before taking your break. Make sure you know that you’ll come back to school or else you risk putting school off for longer than intended. Again, we at Let’s Go to College CA strongly encourage you stay in school, even if only for a class or two.

Gap Year Pros and Cons


  • You get a break from the stress of school
  • You can explore passion and interestsIs Taking a Gap Year a Good Idea? - Marks Education College Counseling


  • You will have trouble finding a meaningful and well-paying job
  • You will not receive school financial aid while you are out of school
  • It can be very difficult to return to school

Having extra time off may give you the ability to work, but you will be missing out on any potential financial aid (grants, scholarships, subsidized loans, etc) that you get as a student. This also forces you to examine your financial situation: can you live with your parents? What bills will you be acquiring? Will you find a well-paying job?

Colleges usually ask for a valid reason to defer your acceptance, they may ask what your intermediate plan is, requiring you to plan ahead. You may be able to take the time to work in a field you’re interested in to hone in and your passions! That said, consider whether you trust yourself to continue your academic momentum. When you come back to school, you may no longer want to be in an educational setting.

Very important: If you are transferring from a 2-year college to a 4-year college you cannot take a gap year because you will lose state financial aid. If you applied and got accepted you need to make sure that you enroll in the term you were accepted or else you jeopardize your complete financial aid package.

Leave of Absence Overview

If you are already in college but need a break, you may consider taking a leave of absence. Simply put, you tell your college that you will not be attending for a certain amount a time– ranging anywhere from a term (semester or quarter), all the way to a year. Please note that Let’s Go to College CA strongly encourages you to stay in school, even if part-time; our economic situation will make it difficult to find employment and you risk losing your academic momentum.

Depending on your college, you may be required to provide a reason for your leave. Because of community colleges open-enrollment policies, however, you will have more flexibility as a student there. At a CSU and UC, the leave of absence process may be a little more lengthy. Please check your Leave options with your respective school’s Registrar office.

Leave of Absence Pros and Cons

ProsIs online school hurting your mental health? You aren't alone - The Beacon

  • You get a break from the stress of school
  • You can explore passion and interests
  • You have a guaranteed position when you get back to school
  • You can define how long you want your break to be


  • You will have trouble finding a meaningful and well-paying job
  • You will not receive school financial aid
  • You might not want to return to school

Nevertheless, there are a few things to expect from all college systems (CC, CSU, UC). If you are a recipient of financial aid, you will be expected to return the money you would’ve used during your time at school. If the financial aid has not been disbursed, you simply will not receive it during the time that you’re out of school.

This urges you to plan for your financial security. You should guarantee you can afford your costs. On top of that, you must have a secure place to live. Similar to deferment, you must also know yourself well enough to believe you will not lose your academic momentum. After you’re out of school, can you guarantee you will want to return? Your time off can be used for a paid internship or a job in an interesting sector that will more clearly define your future aspirations.

If you need additional support returning back to college after taking a gap year, please fill out out Interest Form to meet with a Comeback Navigator who will assist you in your transition. 

Transfer Students

Transfer Students

Transferring to a new college can be exciting, thrilling, but also nerve-wracking! Whether you are transferring from a community college to a 4-year university or from a university to another university: you must be prepared!

Transferring to a UC

How To Transfer From Community College To UC

Using the UC Transfer Admission Planner can help you track your coursework, progr

ess toward meeting UC admissions and can also serve as your application for the UC Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG).

The basic requirements to transfer to a UC: At least 60 semester (90 quarter) units of UC-transferable credit must be completed. A GPA of 2.4 in UC-transferable units must be earned (or 2.8 if you’re a non-resident).  You will also need to complete the following 7-course pattern by the end of the Spring term prior to fall enrollment: 

  • Two transferable courses in English composition
  • One transferable course in mathematical concepts and quantitative reasoning
  • Four transferable college courses from at least two of the following subject areas:
    1. Arts and humanities
    2. Social and behavioral sciences
    3. Physical and biological sciences

Things to Keep in Mind:

Transfer Students

If you have decided on a major but want to keep your UC campus options open, UC Transfer Pathway is for you! With transfer pathways, you choose your intended major and a list of courses that are required will be listed. This will give you clear guidance on what courses you need to take and will be competitive to get into any UC campus. 

General education & IGETC

The general education requirements give a broad background to UC undergraduates in all academic disciplines. Although these requirements need to be fulfilled before graduating from UC, it is strongly recommended to start taking general education at community college. 

There are two ways to satisfy general education requirements: 

    • IGETC: A series of courses certified by the California community college that you may complete satisfying the freshman/sophomore level general education requirements at UC.
    • UC campus-specific requirements: Each school and college at every UC campus has its own set of general education classes

Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG)

Six UC campuses (Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz) offer the Transfer Admission Guarantee (TAG) program for California community college students who meet specific requirements. By participating in TAG, you may receive an early review of your academic records and early admission notification. 

Transfer Admission Planner (TAP) 

UC TAP helps prospective UC transfer students track and plan their coursework.

Transferring to a CSU 

To be considered an Upper-Division Transfer Student (UDT) applicant, you will need to have at least 60-semester units (90 quarter transferable units) completed by the time you enter a CSU. You may use ASSIST to see what courses from your community college are CSU transferable.

Admission requirements for UDT students:California State University (CSU) | Glendale Community College

    • Overall college GPA of at least 2.00. Keep in mind that in some high-demand majors and campuses a GPA of 2.00 may not be sufficient to be admitted 
    • Be in good standing at the last college or university attended 
    • Have completed 10 general education courses of basic skills courses with a grade of C- or better
    • Additional information about dates, deadlines, checklist, and application guides can be found here

The California Community College (CCC) Associate in Art for Transfer (AA-T) and the Associate in Science for Transfer (AS-T) degrees are two-year associate degrees that are transferable to the CSU. With the Associate Degrees for Transfer (ADT), students who meet the CSU’s minimum eligibility requirements are guaranteed priority admission to a CSU campus. 

Admission requirements for ADT:

    • Have earned or be completing an approved Associate Degree for Transfer (AA-T or AS-T) at the time you apply
    • Have completed a minimum of 18 semester (27 quarter units) in a major or area of emphasis and an approved set of general education requirements 
    • Submit your application for admission to CSU campuses by the published deadline
    • Submit all requested transcripts and documents by published deadlines
    • Meet CSU admission eligibility requirements for the programs to which you are applying
    • Comply with any other prescribed admission requirements 

Advice for transfer students starting at CC:

  • Connect to the transfer center at your CC campus 
  • Check if your chosen UC/CSU campus has a respective transfer student support center, reaching out can provide clarity on support for transfer students
  • First years: the CA College Promise Grant permits enrollment fees to be waived. Making an appointment with an advisor is helpful as they can pinpoint what classes are transferable. 

Transferring to a Private 

The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) comprises 85 independent, nonprofit colleges and universities. 

A full list of AICCU institutions with articulation agreements, click here. For information about admission, academic, and course requirements, please refer to this handbook

Unsure if you want to transfer

If you are unsure you want to transfer, it is recommended that you choose the AA/AS-Transfer track as this ensures you have an Associates and/or transfer in the near future. 

Backwards transferring

Backwards transferring is when a student from a four-year university transfers to a Community College. Here is an article with more information about backwards transferring. To see the requirements for backwards transferring, contact your school as each school has a different process or agreement. 

First Year Students

First Year Students

Transitioning from high school to college is scary in itself, especially as a first-generation student. Worrying about the months ahead is normal, however, it is important to be as prepared as possible, especially as a first-year student. If you are attending college for the first time ever, we have created a first-year student checklist to help you navigate your college experience. 

For current high school students: Education Planning | Jaraiedi Financial Group

  • Make sure you are on track to complete your A-G requirements. Meet with your counselor and let them know you need to take courses that fulfill A-G requirements.
  • Research the colleges you would like to attend and make a list of colleges in order of preference. 1. Top school, 2. Second choice, etc.
  • Make sure you get involved in extracurricular activities like sports, clubs, volunteer organizations, and leadership. Colleges will consider this when reviewing your application.
  • When asking for Letters of Recommendation from teachers it is a great idea to create a ‘Brag Sheet’ to keep track of all your involvements and accomplishments throughout your high school experience, this way they can easily write about who you are. Templates: Brag Sheet Template PDF, Brag Sheet Template Doc
  • If you are a senior in high school, make sure you meet all the application deadlines. College applications are due in the fall and FAFSA or CA Dream Act are due March 2nd every year.

If you are starting college this fall:

  • If you are applying to community college, look up your local promise programs that will help you pay for your tuition and fees.
  • Be sure to check your student portal frequently. Important emailsMoving to College Checklist - Collegeboxes regarding deadlines and alerts from your campus will
    be shared there first.
  • Meet with your college counselor to register for classes and to create an educational plan.
  • Attend your college’s orientation to learn about the opportunities and resources your school offers.
  • Complete your financial aid and ensure that all your paperwork is submitted. Meet with your campus’s financial aid office for any questions. Financial Aid Tips
  • Ask them about scholarships, loans, and how to pay for college.
  • Research and apply for student support programs available at your school, such as Summer Bridge programs, EOP and EOPS for low-income students, and CAFYES/Guardian Scholars programs for students who have been involved in foster care.
  • Find tutoring and writing services that your campus offers. Writing research papers can be confusing, be sure to ask for help.
  • Find student well-being services to help you cope with any anxiety or stress you may be experiencing. Make sure you are familiar with your campus’s health centers, counseling, and psychological services, food pantry, and recreational centers.
  • Research the variety of majors your campus offers. If you are undeclared, this is a great opportunity to do some research and find your interests. Do not feel pressured or rushed into declaring a major.
  • Do not be afraid to ask for support! Your counselors and advisors are there to help you. If you feel overwhelmed, try sending them an email first and then meet with them.

Adapted from L.A. Compact’s Summer of Success Checklist

Applying to Community College

Applying to Community College


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