4-Year College Information

Selecting the right college to meet your abilities and ambitions is one of the most important decisions you will make as a young adult.  In most instances there is a wide selection of colleges available which will meet your needs.  Selecting the college that is right for you can be an overwhelming task unless you study the differences between colleges and establish your personal priorities in regards to your college experience.

Factors to Consider when selecting colleges

  • SIZE – Size of colleges range from very small (500 students) to very large (>35,000 students)
  • LOCATION – Some students prefer to attend college close to home while others want to experience a new environment and would be able to adjust and function as well or better farther away.
  • TYPE– Colleges are either privately or publicly funded.  Private colleges may or may not be religiously affiliated which may add certain expectations for students who attend that college.
  • COST – This includes tuition, fees, room and board, and travel expenses.  Tuition at state-supported schools is substantially lower than that of private schools.  Students who wish to attend out-of-state public schools pay out-of-state tuition fees, which in most cases equate with tuition at a private institution. However, private institutions often provide significantly more financial aid.
  • ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS – In addition to presenting acceptable scores on entrance exams, some colleges require a certain number of units in high school preparatory courses, as well as essays, recommendations, or interviews.
  • CURRICULUM AND DEGREES OFFERED – A sizable consideration for choosing a college should be the availability of adequate programs in the area you intend to study, as well as the requirements for achieving a degree in your major at that particular college.
  • HONORS – Distinctive academic programs may be available to students who meet requirements.
  • FACILITIES – Some students are interested in the quality of the facilities, including classrooms, laboratories, libraries, residence halls, etc.
  • FINANCIAL AID – Along with federal and state aid, many colleges offer institutional financial aid to bridge the gap between the cost of education and the expected contribution of the family.  Sme private colleges even offer financial aid that places the cost in line with that of public colleges.
  • EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES – The college should offer a variety of activities which are of interest to you, e.g., student government, social organizations, athletic or intramural activities, etc.
  • FAMILY TRADITION– Your family may have strong ties to a particular college.


Cal State University System

The minimum requirements for admission as a freshman are:

  • Completing specific high school A-G approved courses, with a "C" or better

CSU Eligibility Index

*Note: Meeting the minimum eligibility requirement does not guarantee admission. Some programs/campuses may establish a higher index which is not published prior to applying.

Cal State University Quick Links

Bakersfield Fullerton Northridge San Jose
Channel Islands Humboldt Pomona San Luis Obispo
Chico Long Beach Sacramento San Marcos
Dominguez Hills Los Angeles San Bernardino Sonoma
East Bay Cal Maritime San Diego Stanislaus
Fresno Monterey Bay San Francisco  



University of California System

Students must have a GPA of 3.0 or above in all UC approved coursework. You can easily calculate your eligibility for UC by using the interactive eligibility calculator available online at admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/freshman. Most UC campuses receive more applicants than they have room for, so they use a comprehensive review process to determine admission.

*Note: Although SAT Subject Tests are no longer required for admission, scores can still be submitted, and are sometimes recommended by certain campuses or programs.

UC Profiles

University Of California Quicklinks

UC Berkeley UCLA UC San Diego
UC Davis UC Merced UC Santa Barbara
UC Irvine UC Riverside UC Santa Cruz
UC San Francisco (Graduate School Only)



There are hundreds of private colleges and universities from which to choose. There are 63 independent undergraduate colleges and universities in California alone.   Private colleges and universities are quite diverse in nature, including research universities, small liberal arts colleges, faith-based colleges and universities, and specialized colleges. 

The cost is higher than public colleges and universities. However, these institutions have a variety of financial aid programs that often make the cost comparable to a public institution. Your ability to graduate in 4 years at a private institution may be greater than at a public institution due to more courses being available to you as a student there. 

Some independent institutions, such as USC, Stanford, and California Institute of Technology, are highly selective. Other universities are less selective in nature. Visit their websites for specific admission information. Transfer to a private college is possible after your freshman year at a community college or other institution.

Many schools take applications through the Common Application or Coalition Application. Others have their own independent applications.

*There are also numerous out-of-state public colleges and universities that are great options as well.

Did you know...

Through the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program, you may be eligible to enroll in more than 150 participating two- and four-year public institutions at 150 percent of the enrolling institution's resident tuition?

California Independent and Private Colleges Quicklinks

American Academy of Dramatic Arts, LA La Sierra University, Riverside San Francisco Conservatory of Music, SF
American Jewish University, Los Angeles  Laguna College of Art & Design Santa Clara University,  Santa Clara
Antioch University, Los Angeles Loma Linda University, Loma Linda Scripps College, Claremont
Art Center College of Design, Pasadena  Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles Simpson University, Redding
Azusa Pacific University, Azusa Marymount Ca. University, Palos Verdes Soka University, Aliso Viejo
Biola University, La Mirada The Master's College, Santa Clarita Southern Calif. Univ. of Health Sciences, Whittier
California Baptist University, Riverside Mills College, Oakland Stanford University, Stanford
California College of the Arts, San Francisco Mount St. Mary's University, Los Angeles Thomas Aquinas College, Santa Paula
California Institute of Technology, Pasadena National University, La Jolla Touro University, Vallejo
California Institute of the Arts, Valencia Notre Dame de Namur University, SF University of La Verne, La Verne
California Lutheran U., Thousand Oaks Occidental College, Los Angeles University of Redlands, Redlands
Chapman University, Orange Otis College of Art and Design, Los Angeles University of San Diego, San Diego
Claremont McKenna, Claremont Pacific Union College, Angwin University of San Francisco, San Francisco
Concordia University, Irvine Patten University, Oakland University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Dominican University, San Rafael Pepperdine University, Malibu University of the Pacific, Stockton
Fresno Pacific University, Fresno Pitzer College, Claremont Vanguard University, Costa Mesa
Golden Gate University, San Francisco Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego Western University, Pomona
Harvey Mudd College, Claremont Pomona College, Claremont Westmont College, Santa Barbara
Holy Names University, Oakland Saint Mary's College of California, Moraga Whittier College, Whittier
Hope International University, Fullerton Samuel Merritt University, Oakland William Jessup University, Rocklin
Humphreys College, Stockton San Diego Christian College, El Cajon Woodbury University, Burbank