Applying to College

Gather Resources and Learn from Experts on how to Prepare Strategic College Applications


Getting Started

A successful application depends on many factors. Research is a fundamental piece of the process necessary before filling out any paperwork. We have partnered with the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) to provide our alum with up-to-the-minute information required to make sound collegiate decisions.

One of the best ways to begin is to go to a college fair. On the NACAC student site, a list of college fairs is available. They are found all over California and nationwide starting in April each year. Many are specific to Performing and Visual Arts.

How to Prepare

Students can learn about the college preparation process by looking over NACAC’s materials on How to Use Your Student Counselor, taking a College Knowledge Questionnaire, looking at the High School Classes Required for College Admission, Using High School Courses and Activities to Prepare for College, Earning College Credit in High School and Preparing for SAT/ACT test. All of this can be found under the Learn menu on the NACAC site.

Students can search college types, career and technical colleges, determining if a large or small college is a better, fit, going on an overnight visit, and what college rankings really mean.

Students can know how to put their best foot forward by looking at NACAC’s Checklists for the Junior, Checklists for the Senior, learning the parts of a college application, understanding the factors in admissions decisions and getting 10 Tips for Writing a College Essay, all found under the Learn menu on the NACAC site.

We also recommend students use the College Navigator from the National Center for College Statistics to help you make direct comparisons between the size, location, cost and degrees of your schools of interest. Create a spreadsheet with all of your “Wish List” schools and plug in information to see your deciding factors side-by-side. Your Wish List should include all of the following types of schools:


  • Safe 
  • Target 
  • Reach 
  • Expensive 
  • Affordable 

Top Factors in Admissions

Keep in mind, the top factors in the admission decision for the Fall 2015 admission cycle were:

  • Grades
  • High School Curriculum
  • Test Scores

For first-time freshman, grades in college preparatory courses, strength of curriculum, overall high school GPA, and admission test scores were the top factors according to a NACAC study. Among the next most important factors were the essay, a student’s demonstrated interest, counselor and teacher recommendations, extracurricular activities, and class rank.