Introduction:

The 2011-2012 California State University (CSU) system application is open. You have been now and November 30 to submit your application. Go to http://www.csumentor.edu/AdmissionApp/

 Remember, this is a tough year for CSU admissions. More students than ever are applying, the November 30 application deadline for freshmen and transfers is fixed, and you need to make sure your application is correct and complete.

Here are 15 tips for completing the 2011-2012 application system for the Cal State’s 23 campuses.

  1. Have a working email address: Create an email address if you don’t have one. Gmail and hotmail are free and easy to use. Your high school may provide you with an email as well. The CSU campuses will only communicate with you via email and will send your user name and password once your register for CSU Mentor. Check your email regularly or you will miss key deadlines about placement tests, accepting admissions, housing, and more.
  2. Collect high school and college transcripts: Get a copy of your high school and/or college transcripts. Make sure they are correct. You need the transcript(s) to complete the CSU application. It takes patience to enter your grades but you do so by school attended and then subject area.
  3. Calculate CSU GPA: Calculate your 10th and 11th grade CSU GPA. Ask your counselor if you’re not sure. Add up your honors and AP classes taken in 9-12th grade. You need to input your CSU GPA and number of honors and AP classes onto the application.
  4. Calculate Eligibility: If you are a California resident and your CSU GPA is higher than a 3.0, you are eligible for admissions without the SAT or ACT for most campuses but still must submit your scores. Impacted colleges will use SAT or ACT scores as supplemental information to help make admissions decisions. You need to submit your test scores for placement purposes as well. If your GPA is below a 3.0, you need to submit SAT or ACT scores to determine your eligibility. You can take these tests through January. Here is the link to the eligibility page. http://www.csumentor.edu/planning/high_school/eligibility_index.asp
  5. Send test scores: All students need to send in SAT or ACT test scores. The Cal States will take tests taken through January 2011. SAT: Send your SAT scores to CSU Mentor and all CSU campuses to which you apply will receive your scores. If you are taking the tests later this fall, use CSU mentor as one of your four free score reports. ACT: Send your ACT scores to one CSU campus. Then go onto the CSU Mentor website and use the free ACT scores manager to send the rest of your ACT scores to additional CSU campuses. Additional campuses are free. Confused…get more info at the www.actstudent.org/scores/send/index.html. TOEFL and AP test scores must be sent directly to individual campuses.
  6. Find EAP score: If you took the EAP in 11th grade, find out your score as it can help you waive English placement requirements.
  7. Determine residency status: You need to know your residency status. Ask your parents or family members. You do not need a SSN number but you need to know how long you have been in the California as the CSU system calculates your tuition based on how long you have lived and attended school in California. Remember, AB 540 student can get admitted to the CSU system but you cannot qualify for a fee waiver or formal financial aid.
  8. Explore CSU mentor: Go to the CSU mentor site-csumentor.edu. Explore the great info on different CSU campuses, exploring majors, planning for college, and the application and financial aid process. It will show you each campus that has the majors that interest you. It has a great planner under Planning for College that you can show younger siblings and relatives.  They can fill it out anytime and it will transfer right into their future applications whenever they are ready.
  9. Investigate impacted majors and programs:  Many campuses have too many students in particular programs so you may need to find out which ones are limiting enrollment. Here is a link to the list of impacted programs by major and campus. www.actstudent.org/scores/send/index.html
  10. Gather financial information and plan to apply for fee waivers and EOP: Collect your family’s financial information. You will need your family’s income if want a fee waiver for the CSU applications and plan to apply for EOP, a great support program for low-income students.
  11. Plan to pay for the applications. Each CSU campus has a $55 application fee. If you qualify for a fee waiver, you can apply to four campuses for free. AB540 students do not qualify for fee waivers. Applicants pay by credit card or check.

 Bonus Tips

12. Plan to fill out your EOP application. The 2011-2012 EOP application is online now. You need complete one application but each campus has different deadlines. Here is more info about qualifying http://www.csumentor.edu/finaid/steps/eop.aspYou need to

  • provide your family’s financial information
  • submit two recommendations using the EOP form. Recommenders can be counselors, teachers, employers, community members, and/or anyone other than a family member who know your potential to succeed in college.
  • write several short responses to these questions using several complete sentences for each question.
    • List any volunteer, extracurricular activities, or work experience in which you are or have been involved in the past two years.
    • Why would you like to attend college? Discuss your career and personal goals. Are there any particular circumstances, school experiences, or persons that influenced your preparation or motivation to attend college (e.g., cultural/financial background, family, teachers, schools you attended)? Please explain.
    • Briefly discuss your academic background. Did you utilize any additional support at your high school, such as tutoring? Do your grades in high school and/or college reflect your academic ability or potential?
    • Briefly describe your family’s economic background. Include information about your financial challenges.
    • Please tell us more about yourself. Is there any additional information you would like EOP to consider in determining your admission to the program?

13.  Begin applying for scholarships now.  It is not too early to apply for scholarships. Below are some links to scholarships sites:

14. Begin to prepare to apply for financial aid. Applying for financial aid is mandatory if you cannot afford to pay for college. The process is safe and confidential. The CSU Mentor website has great information about financial aid and can ever help you begin to calculate different costs and ways to pay for college.  http://www.csumentor.edu/FinAid/.  

15. Start talking to your family now about letting you to a four year college. The Cal States offer a great four year education. Financial Aid covers so much that attending a CSU can be as affordable as a community college. Sometimes the best CSU campuses may be a few hours away from your house. Start talking to your family now about letting you go away and help them understand the benefits of a four year education. If you need help with speaking with your family members–in any language-let us know.