Going To College In California

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California is known for having many excellent institutes of higher education. From community colleges to prestigious universities, there are education options for all lifestyles and budgets. If you’re looking to attend a college or university in the state of California, there are a few things to consider.

Community colleges are wonderful alternatives for those who can’t afford a four year university or state college. If you’d like to take a year or two to save money or bring your grades up, consider enrolling in a community college for a couple of years until you’re ready to transfer. If you want to learn a skill but would rather not spend four years or more pursuing a Bachelor’s degree or higher, you can earn an Associate’s degree at one of California’s fine community colleges.

To gain entry into a community college, you’ll need to have received your high school diploma or a General Equivalency Diploma (GED). Visit the college’s website to download an application form or visit the school’s admissions office in person.

To attend one of California’s universities, you’ll have to complete a set of requirements before graduating high school. Any student wishing to gain acceptance into the University of California or the California State University, must pass the following courses:

English: Four years of approved courses are necessary for those wishing to apply to either university.

Mathematics: Though four years are recommended, only three years including Algebra, intermediate Algebra and Geometry, are necessary for admittance.

Social Science: At least two years of Social Science and History. For entry into UC, these courses should include one year of History OR one half year of US History and one half year of Civics or American Government, and one year of World History, Cultures and World Geography. For entry into CSU, it’s required students pass one year of US History or one year of US History and US Government and one year of another approved Social Science. Keep in mind that in order to graduate from high school, Californians need to pass three years of approved Social Science courses.

After decades working as an administrator at public colleges, Heidi Lofgren finally gets to go to school herself. She spends hours a day studying in the library. (Sean Havey for California Dream)

Science – Students wishing to enter UC must have taken and passed two years of Science including labs. These two years can include Biology, Chemistry and Physics. For entry into CSU, students must pass two years of Science including one year of Biology and one year of Physical Science with labs included.

Foreign Language: Two years of the same foreign language is required for both UC and CSU, though three years of the same foreign language is recommended to gain entry into UC.

Visual and Performing Arts – Only one year is required. Students can choose from dance, drama, theater, music or a visual art.

In addition to the above requirements, students must take and pass two years of Physical Education and one year of an approved elective.

Costs of the colleges and universities vary. To find out how much it will cost to attend school in California, visit the school’s website. Tuition isn’t the only expense, however. Also factor in the cost of books, meals, housing and transportation. If cost is an issue, you might be entitled to a scholarship, grant or financial aid. Your high school guidance counselor or the school’s admissions office is sure to have information regarding which financial aid package is best for you. In fact, once you make the decision on whether or not to attend college, your first visit should be to your guidance counselor’s office. She’ll advise you as to what is involved, let you know which tests to take and when and offer you the appropriate paperwork.

Attending school in California is a wonderful aspiration. As long as you work hard and meet all of the necessary requirements, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to attend the college or university of your choice.

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