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College Resources for Undocumented Students

 

E4FC

ATHLETES:

If you are interested in playing a varsity sport in college - there is Division 1, 2, 3, and the NAIA - check out the NCAA Clearinghouse site

Also, know that for the 2020-21 academic year, and perhaps beyond, due to COVID-19 college athletic opportunities might be more limited, as many colleges cut various sports programs in order to save money.  Two related articles are here and here.  

Moreover, here is what Dr. Fauci says is needed for sports to resume in the United States.

Lastly, here's an article about the end of the high school sports season in March.

GAP YEARS

Seniors, if you are interested in taking a gap year after TL, here is the link for gap year fairs, and here is the link for the Gap Year Association.

College Info: COM, search, apps, essays

College of Marin - Concurrent Enrollment

CURRENT TL STUDENTS, GRADES 9-12: Follow the steps below to register for a course at COM. 110 level (Introductory courses without prerequisites) courses are the best place to start. Contact your counselor if you have any questions. 

  1. Identify a COM course that you'd like to take.  Review the schedule of courses, and speak with your counselor to ensure that the course you'd like to take is a good fit.
  2. Follow the registration steps listed here under "JUMPSTART (CONCURRENT ENROLLMENT)".                       

 Minimum 2.0 GPA required to take a COM class as a high school student                                                               Minimum 3.0 GPA to take more than one COM class at a time

 

SENIORS:

Follow these steps to enroll at College of Marin. Click here to apply!  Be sure to complete your application as soon as you can, and complete the online orientation. Check out the video tutorials at the bottom of this page for more information about enrollment and navigating the  COM website.   

Contact outreach@marin.edu with any questions that you may have.

COM also offers a Summer Bridge program, helping you transition into your first semester at COM! . Two sessions available: June 14-July 1, and July 6-22; both Monday-Thursday, 10:00-11:30am!  During the program, you will earn one college credit; learn about college options; find out how to transfer; meet other students before everyone else; receive help finishing any remaining financial aid paperwork; and create and update your educational plan!  If you have questions, please email Julian Solis, at jusolis@marin.edu.

College Information, Search, & APPLICATIONS

Contact your counselor for assistance identifying potential colleges, and review these notes on building your college list In addition to working with our staff, all students are encouraged to use TL's new college search platform California Colleges (more information below), and can also utilize the College Board's search function, the Fiske Guide to Colleges, Niche, and/or College Scorecard  (federal resource for searching and comparing colleges and universities) to research potential colleges as well. 

 

COLLEGE SEARCH & EXPLORATION

TL will be utilizing California Colleges as a primary college and career search platform, starting in the 2021-22 school year. Students will receive login information at the beginning of the 2021-22 school. Until then, students can create an account using their SRCS email address *IMPORTANT!*. 

SEE OUR NOTES ON BUILDING YOUR COLLEGE LIST, BELOW. 


Some groups of colleges

Test-Optional Colleges/Universities in the U.S. (also, check the "Standardized Testing" link at left, for more details)

AJCU/Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

CACHET/College Admissions Collective Highlighting Engineering and Technology (excellent STEM colleges!)

CCAA/Catholic College Admission Association

CTCL/Colleges That Change Lives (about 45 smaller liberal arts colleges with all or nearly all undergraduates)

HACU/Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (also known as HSI/Hispanic-Serving Institutions)

HBCU/Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Immigrants Rising provides excellent resources for undocumented students!

USCCB/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Catholic colleges in the US)

Women's Colleges Coalition

Work Colleges (8 colleges where students have on-campus jobs, which help pay for part or even all of their tuition)


BUILDING YOUR COLLEGE LIST

When building your college list, take into account both balance and strategy: 

BALANCE is a mixture of:

  • reach (colleges whose admitted student profile, such as average admitted GPA, is higher than yours; minimize these so that you do not have too many)
  • target (colleges whose admitted student profile is close to yours, sort of a 50-50 chance, could go either way; make target colleges the majority of your list)
  • likely  (colleges whose admitted student profile, such as average admitted GPA, is lower than yours; just 2 or 3 of these should be OK)

 

STRATEGY is basically the college's type of application plan:

  • EA/Early Action (apply by about November 1-15; often receive a decision by mid-December; non-binding)  ED/Early Decision (apply by about November 1-15; often receive a decision by mid-December; but binding, so you must attend that college if they admit you)
  • Rolling (no deadline, but you can apply as early as September or October; often receive a decision by mid-December; non-binding)
  • Regular Decision (apply by about January 1-15; receive a decision by April 1 at latest; non-binding). 

Note that the UC's and CSU's/Cal States only offer Regular Decision. 

There is generally no downside to Early Action or Rolling, and statistically your chances of admission might be better than if you applied to that college Regular Decision, so it is recommended that you consider applying to some colleges with Early Action or Rolling plans. Just be sure that your transcript represents you strongly for a November application; if you feel that a strong fall semester of senior year would help you even further, then it might be best to wait to apply Regular Decision, in January. Discuss with Brad or your counselor!


Some additional factors to consider in building your college list

size: small, medium, or large; 1,100 - 30,000+ undergrads...the size of a college can affect its class size, ranging from small seminars of 8-10 students, up to large lecture halls with 400-500 students

setting: urban, suburban, rural

geography: Bay Area, southern California, Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, South, or Northeast

weather: do you prefer palm trees & beaches, or winter snows...or in-between sweater weather?

Major/Minor: even the smallest colleges have 40-50 programs of study; it's OK to be undecided, too!

school spirit: major Division 1 sports with huge stadiums and arenas, and larger student bodies; D3 where you know the teams because the players are often in your classes; or in between?

politics: liberal, moderate, conservative

religion: many colleges CatholicJesuit, or other religions, such as:

     - California: Dominican, USF, St Mary's, Santa Clara, Westmont, Pepperdine, LMU/Loyola Marymount, USD 

     - Northwest & Rocky Mountains: U of Portland, Seattle U, Gonzaga, Carroll, BYU

     - South: TCU, SMU, U of Dallas, Baylor, Loyola-New Orleans

     - Midwest: St Louis U, Creighton, Marquette, DePaul, Loyola-Chicago, Notre Dame, Hope, Hillsdale

     - Northeast: Georgetown, Loyola-Maryland, Villanova, St. Joseph's, St. John's, Fordham, Fairfield, Providence, Holy Cross, Boston College

diversity: ethnicity, geography, LGBTQIA+, nationality, political, race, religion, socio-economic, etc

* are there any other dream factors for you, that your ideal college will have?


Factors considered by colleges when evaluating your application include (varies by college)

* transcript (always the most important factor): course rigor, cumulative GPA, trend in GPA

related to your transcript, are soft skills  such as intellectual vitality, how engaged you are with your classes, how you demonstrate your critical thinking skills, creativity/originality/innovation, risk-taking, perseverance through challenges, teamwork, seeking help when you need it, going above and beyond minimum requirements, and how you respond to setbacks.

* ACT/SAT (though in 2020, colleges will not penalize students who did not take an ACT/SAT!  Plus, even in a non-pandemic year, plenty of colleges are test-optional.)

* extracurriculars & leadership: arts, athletics, home responsibilities, internships, jobs, volunteering, etc.

* letters of recommendation: 2 teachers (preferably junior year, and core subjects) and counselor

     - please give your teachers & counselor at least 3 weeks' notice before your first application deadline!

     - you must waive your right to see your letters of recommendation.  This is in the "FERPA" portion of your applications.  

* essays: see bottom of this page (this can be the most time-consuming part of your application process, for colleges that require them, so begin to brainstorm and write during the summer before senior year, and send Brad a link to your GoogleDoc during the summer!)

* demonstrated interest (some, but not all, colleges consider this): have you visited their college campus (if possible), their website (everyone can do this), attended a presentation (everyone can do this), emailed the admissions rep to introduce yourself (everyone can do this), interviewed (if they offer them), etc.


College tours

During college closures, many are offering virtual/online tours!  Here is a great article about them from the New York Times.  You can also just Google the name of the college you are interested in, and then "virtual admissions tour," which should get you there.  For example, "UC Davis virtual admissions tour" gets you here!


Rankings

There are many sources of rankings out there, but use them cautiously, compare multiple sources (Forbes, KiplingerMoney, NichePrinceton Review, QS World RankingsTimes Higher Ed/Wall Street Journal, Times Higher Ed/UN Sustainable Development GoalsUS News), and also consider aspects that are not always ranked such as campus safety, diversity, student mental health, student competitiveness with each other versus collaboration, availability and quality of counselors and advising, quantity of student activities, freedom of speech, school spirit, town-gown relationship, % of students living on campus, and other factors that might be important to you.


Common Application

The Common App is for 900+ out-of-state publicCalifornia private, and out-of-state private 4-year colleges; the Common App is not used for the UC's or CSU/Cal States.  Its essay questions are listed in full, at bottom of this page, easy to copy and paste into a GoogleDoc!

The Common App is available around mid-January of your junior year, and your first deadline is probably between November 1-15.  


UC/University of California (9 campuses)

UC Admissions Profiles  |  Applying to UC  |  A-G Course List  |  UC Admissions Requirements 

UC 14 criteria for admission

UC application (opens ~August 1, deadline ~November 30)

($70 application fee per campus; fee waivers available for up to 4 campuses, depending on family size & income!)

UC tuition = approximately $12,570/year, or $50,280 for 4 years.  Plus: 

* 71% of California students receive grants and scholarships to help cover their UC education costs

* 56% of California students have their systemwide tuition and fees totally covered

* the average grant and scholarship award is $18,000, so students are able to use their extra scholarship and grant funds to cover additional educational costs; housing, food, transportation, books and supplies!

UC PIQ's/essay questions) (also listed in full at bottom of this page!)

map of the UC's 9 campuses, and general UC statistics (Fall 2020 admissions stats here)

campus websites: 

Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz

EOP (Educational Opportunity Program, providing admissions, financial, and academic support for historically underserved students)

TAG/Transfer Admission Guarantee:  if you attend a community college first, and satisfy the recommended UC admissions requirements for certain coursework (60 credits, or about 2 years) and GPA's, you are guaranteed admission to either UC Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, or Santa Cruz!  


CSU/Cal State (23 campuses):  

CSU/California State application (opens ~October 1, deadline ~December 4)

Explore Campuses

CSU Admissions Requirements   

Sonoma State, SF St, San Jose St, Sacramento St, Chico St, Humboldt St, Cal Maritime, East BayMonterey Bay

CSU Admissions Requirements (a minimum GPA of 2.5 is generally required in your TL A-G courses from junior and sophomore years, though in some circumstances, some CSU's will admit students with a 2.0-2.49, with factors including: your coursework beyond the minimum A-G; extracurriculars and leadership; low-income; and first-generation-to-college)

Impacted majors: majors that might have limited numbers of spaces available at each CSU campus

CSU tuition = approximately $5,742/year, or $22,968 for 4 years.  Plus (as of April 2021): 

  • 59 percent of all undergraduates have the full cost of tuition covered by grants, scholarships or waivers
  • 54 percent of CSU baccalaureate recipients graduated with zero education loan debt
  • Of the 46 percent who graduated with debt, the average loan debt of $18,173 is well below the national average of $28,950

EOP/Educational Opportunity Program

(providing admissions, financial, and academic support for historically underserved students!) 

EOP questions (up to 2,500 characters each, about 425 words): 

1. Briefly describe your family's economic background.  Include information about your financial challenges.

2. 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.

3. 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?

4. List any volunteer, extracurricular activities, or work experience in which you are or have been involved in the past two years.

5. Is there any additional information you would like EOP to consider in determining your admission to the program?

 

CSU application note: DACA, undocumented, or AB540 students should enter “None” as their citizenship status.  Under “Residency,” they should select “California” as their state of residency, if they consider California their home.


California private 4-year colleges: California Independent Private Colleges/Universities 

* northern California: Stanford, Santa Clara, USF, Dominican, St. Mary's, Mills, UOP

* southern California: Westmont, CalArts, Cal Lutheran, Pepperdine, LMU/Loyola Marymount, Otis College of Arts & Design, USC, Occidental, CalTech, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, Scripps, Redlands, Whittier, Chapman, USD


Coalition Application

* required only if you are applying to the University of Washington (Seattle)


Community Colleges (114 in California):     

California Community Colleges 

COM / College of Marin: COM Enrollment Steps     

SRJC / Santa Rosa JC: Steps for New Students

Oregon's community colleges (17)

Washington's community colleges (34)

Nevada's community colleges = Truckee Meadows, Western Nevada, Southern Nevada, Great Basin

ESSAY QUESTIONS, Class of 2022
- copy and paste these directly into a GoogleDoc 

 

A) Common Application: 

- choose 1 of the 7, and write up to 650 words; in your draft, aim for 500, not 700, 800, or 1000!)

1) Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent ​that is so meaningful, they believe their application would be incomplete without it.  If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2) The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter ​can be fundamental to later success.  Recount an incident or time when you experienced challenge, setback, or failure.  How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3) Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea​.  What prompted your thinking?  What was the outcome?

4) Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?

5) Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself and others.

6) Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you?  What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7) Share an essay on any topic of your choice.  It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Plus, optional question (250 word maximum) for the Class of 2021: Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts.  If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts.  Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces.

 

B) UC/University of California PIQ/Personal Insight Questions: 

- choose 4 of the 8, and write up to 350 words for each; in your draft, aim for 300, not 400, 500, or 650!

1) Describe an example of your leadership​ experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.

2) Every person has a creative​ side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.

3) What would you say is your greatest talent​ or skill​?  How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

4) Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational​ opportunity​ or worked to overcome an educational barrier​ you have faced.

5) Describe the most significant challenge​ you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge.  How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

6) Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom. 

7) What have you done to make your school​ or your community​ a better place?

8) Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?

* note: the UC's also provide space at the end of the academic section, for 550 characters for you to further describe anything else your academics; 550 words at the end of their application to add any additional information not contained elsewhere in your application (not a space for another PIQ); 250 characters for your volunteering or jobs, or 350 characters for the descriptions of any other extracurricular activities).

** additional note from UC's, January 2021: "all personal insight questions are reviewed by an anti-plagiarism software program.  If contacted by UC for verification, applicants will have the opportunity to demonstrate that their PIQ responses are their own work.  Applicants who are unable to provide evidence that it is their own work or who do not respond in the designated timeframe will have their UC applications withdrawn."

 

C) Supplemental essay questions: 

Note that many colleges will also require supplemental essays.  These can consist of topics like:

1) “why do you want to attend our college?” 

2) "why do you want to major in the subject you want to major in?"

3) one or more that are sometimes completely unpredictable questions

 

D) The CSU/Cal States and community colleges require no essays!

 

E) resources for essays:

1) The College Essay Guy publishes an excellent guide, College Essay Essentials

2) Real College Essays That Work is also a fantastic source.