Applying to Community College

Applying to Community College

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.

 

Scholarships Open to Undocumented Students

Scholarships Open to Undocumented Students

Scholarships are a great way to help pay student tuition. Scholarships are hard to come across, especially when trying to find scholarships tailored for you. Whether you are in high school or college, you should be applying to scholarships because tuition changes and so do our own personal lives. Below are 5 scholarships due this month! Be sure to check the eligibility requirements before you start your application. Best of luck, y’all got this! 

5 scholarships due in November 

1. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship 

Due: November 13, 2020

Award: $40,000 

Academic Level: College Junior or Senior 

Region: National 

Field of Study: Any 

Eligibility:

  • Planning to enroll full-time in a baccalaureate program at an accredited college or university in fall 2021 
  • Demonstrate financial need 
  • Students who have attended a 4-year institution in the past are not eligible for this scholarship 
  • GPA requirement: 3.5

Link: Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship

2. MPower Global Citizen Scholarship

Due: November 15, 2020 

Award: $1,000 – $3,000 

Academic Level: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student 

Region: National 

Field of Study: Any 

Eligibility:

  •  Enrolled or accepted full-time in a degree-granting program at a U.S. or Canadian school that MPOWER supports 
  • Must be DACA-eligible or authorized to work in the U.S. 

 Link: MPower Global Citizen Scholarship

3. NSHSS Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award 

Due: November 15, 2020 

Award: $1,000 

Academic Level: High School Junior or Senior 

Region: National Field of 

Study: Any 

Eligibility:

  • Demonstrate commitment to expanding the diversity and inclusion initiatives in their school, community or workplace 

Link: NSHSS Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Award 

4. Emery Reddy Scholarship for Legal Studies 

Due: November 28, 2020 

Award: $2,500 

Academic Level: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student 

Region: National 

Field of Study: Legal Studies and Law

Eligibility: 

  • Interest in pursuing careers in the legal field  

Link: Emery Reddy Scholarship for Legal Studies  

5. Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders 

Due: November 30, 2020 

Award: $500 – $1,000 

Academic Level: High School Senior, College Freshman or Junior 

Region: National 

Field of Study: Any 

Eligibility: 

  • Enrolled or accepted full-time in an accredited 4-year or 2-year institution in the U.S.  
  • At least one parent must be of Hispanic ancestry 
  • Demonstrate financial need 

Link: Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr. Scholarship for Young Hispanic Leaders  

 Click here for scholarships due in November scroll down to page 70 of the PDF   


IMMIGRANTS RISING SCHOLARSHIP & FELLOWSHIP LISTS

Undergraduate Scholarship List: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/undergraduate-scholarships/ 

Undergraduate Fellowship List: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/undergraduate-fellowships/ 

Graduate Scholarship List: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/graduate-scholarships/ 

Fellowship List: https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/graduate-fellowships/ 

ADDITIONAL DATABASES

Check out these additional databases of scholarships and fellowships available for undocumented young people: 

Dreamers Roadmap: www.dreamersroadmap.com/scholarships/ 

Geneseo Migrant Center: http://migrant.net/scholarships/ 

MALDEF: https://www.maldef.org/resources/scholarship-resources/ 

My Undocumented Life: https://mydocumentedlife.org/ 

Scholarships A-Z: http://www.scholarshipsaz.org/ 

Silicon Valley Community Foundation: https://www.siliconvalleycf.org/scholarships 

The College Expo:https://www.thecollegeexpo.org/resources/scholarships 

CAUTION: Scholarship requirements and deadlines often change from year to year. Please double-check all information listed below with the scholarship directly. If you find any errors, please email us at communications@ immigrantsrising.org so we can update the list

Credit: Immigrants Rising 

 

How to Apply for the California Dream Act

How to Apply for the California Dream Act

College application season is here! That means that applying for financial aid is also here! When you are applying for financial aid, you will either apply for FAFSA or the California Dream Act! So you may be wondering, what is the difference between FAFSA and the CA Dream Act? They both help pay for your college education, but they are two separate applications. Keep reading to find out all the ins and outs of CA Dream Act! 

Background and Eligibility 

Q1. What is the California Dream Act? 

The California Dream Act allows undocumented and nonresident students (U.S. Citizens and eligible non-citizens) who qualify for a non-resident exemption under Assembly Bill 540 (AB 540) to receive certain types of financial aid such as: private scholarships funded through public universities, state administered financial aid, university grants, community college fee waivers, and Cal Grants. In addition, the California Dream Act, allows eligible students to pay in-state tuition at any public college in California.

Q2. Who can apply for the California Dream Act?

Students who live in California and meet the eligibility requirements for a non-resident exemption, as well as students who have a U Visa or TPS status, can use the California Dream Act application (CADAA). Similarly, students without Social Security Numbers or students who have lost DACA status (or never applied for DACA), may still be eligible. The full language of the law and eligibility requirements is stated in CA Education Code 68130.5

Q3. What is the difference between the FAFSA and the California Dream Act application?

Students should only complete one of the applications (not both), according to the citizenship requirements below:

  1. You are eligible to complete the FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov if you are a:
  • U.S Citizen 
  • Permanent Resident 
  • Eligible non-citizen 
  • T Visa holder
  1. You are eligible to complete the CADAA at https://dream.csac.ca.gov/ if you are:
  • Undocumented 
  • Have a valid or expired DACA 
  • U Visa holders 
  • Have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) 2 | Page Revised 09/19 
  • Meet the non-resident exemption requirements under AB 540

Note: If you have further questions, including how to ensure you are completing the correct financial aid application, you can visit the Immigrants Rising website and review the document titled, “FAFSA VS CA Dream Act: Apply to the Correct Financial Aid,” at https://immigrantsrising.org/resource/fafsa-vs-ca-dream-act-apply-to-the-correct-financial-aid-in-ca/ 

Q4. What are the non-resident exemption requirements under AB 540?

Students must meet all four (4) requirements to be eligible:

  1. Time and coursework requirements
  • High school attendance in California for three or more years, OR 
  • Attainment of credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school coursework and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of those schools. OR 
  • Attainment of credits earned at a California adult school, OR 
  • Credits earned at a California Community College, OR 
  • A combination of the schools listed above 
  1. Degree or unit requirements (completion of either of the following):
  • Graduation from a California high school or the equivalent (GED, HiSET, TASC) •
  • Attainment of an Associate degree from a California Community College 
  • Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements from a California Community College to a UC or CSU campus
  1. Register or enroll in an accredited and qualifying California college or university

For a list of Cal Grant eligible schools, please visit: https://webutil.csac.ca.gov/CalGrant_Inst/CalGrantInstSearch.aspx 

  1. Submit a signed “Non-Resident Exemption” Request

Some schools will refer to this document as an “AB 540 affidavit.” This form states that you meet all the requirements to qualify for a non-resident exemption under AB 540 and, if you are undocumented, that you are in the process of legalizing your immigration status (or will do so as soon as you are eligible). 

Please contact the Residency Deputy or the Admissions and Records office at your college for information on how to complete your non-resident exemption form and to determine if supporting documentation is needed. You should complete this form upon accepting an offer to attend a college in California and at least one semester or quarter before you are scheduled to start classes. 

Q5. What should I do if I’ve already submitted a FAFSA before learning that I should have submitted a CADAA?

You must first complete the CADAA and then complete the “Application Conversion Form G-55” which can be obtained at: https://www.csac.ca.gov/post/application-conversion-form Please make a copy of this form for your records, send the original form (along with documentation to prove your identification) to the Commission and contact the financial aid office at the college you plan to attend to inform them of this error.

*For a full copy of of the California Dream Act FAQs for Students and Parents please go to this link: CA Dream Act FAQ

For a checklist of applying  for the CA Dream Act go here: CA Dream Act and Cal Grant Checklist 

For a checklist of applying for a Cal Grant through the CA Dream Act go here: CA Dream Act and Cal Grant Checklist

Sources: CSAC and Immigrants Rising

Campus Resources for Undocumented Students

Campus Resources for Undocumented Students

While California has established statewide programs so undocumented students can safely apply for financial aid, such as California Dream Act, there is a lack of coordination and consistency in how these and other resources are made available to students. The resources vary widely across campuses, and can even be different within the same segment of higher education. This can often confuse or misinform students about critical information. Colleges and universities need to ensure they provide consistent and adequate information and support services for undocumented students that are readily available on their campuses.

The interactive map below serves as a guide to find information about campus centers for undocumented students, support programs, website address with relevant information, and contact information of undocumented allies/liaisons. This information is critical to improve access and success for undocumented students in higher education. 

California Undocumented Student Resources Map

Source: Campaign for College Opportunity and CA Undocumented HIgher-Ed Coalition