Students weigh college options

College application deadlines fast-approaching
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn-area families crowded Placer High School Thursday to learn more about navigating toward college. College Planning Night featured break-out sessions with college admissions representatives. Attendees heard about admission requirements, financial aid and campus life. Del Oro senior Ariadne Duncan went with her parents, Amanda and Kevin. Ariadne said she was eager to learn about admissions requirements. So far, California State University, Long Beach and University of the Pacific are at the top of her list. Amanda said she is hopeful her daughter will find a university that offers a combined music and theater program. “It’s just an opportunity to really talk to schools and really just find out what they are requiring and what they have to offer,” Amanda said. “We’re probably a little behind the curve.” She said she was concerned about lower admission rates for incoming freshman students because of more junior transfer students being admitted. Del Oro counselor Debra Krizman said that is one tough reality high school seniors are facing in this year’s admissions process. “They take more junior transfers,” Krizman said. “It is harder and harder for freshman to get it.” That is partially because many universities, including UC Davis, have transfer agreements with community colleges. After 30 transferable units, community college students are eligible to complete a Transfer Agreement Guarantee contract. Students are guaranteed admission for a particular semester providing they finish 30 more units of transferable courses and maintain a certain grade point average. More students are choosing to go that route because of economic hardships, according to Krizman. Still, Krizman said attending a four-year university right out of high school is more attainable than many students believe. “We recommend if they are college ready that they have the college experience for four years,” Krizman said. Subhead: UC or CSU bound? UC Davis representative Tracy Yu-Santos said the UC system is designed to be a research institution, while the CSU system is designed to be a teaching institution. Yu recommended students explore which would have more to offer them. “It’s not for everyone,” Yu said in her presentation. “It’s not for all careers.” According to Yu, highlights of UC Davis are state-of-the-art research facilities and a strong sense of community. High school seniors fill out one application for the entire UC system. Admission is based on a holistic review. Yu said another byproduct of tougher economic times is California students who in the past may have attended Ivy League universities are now choosing to stay local and attend UCs to cut down on costs. That makes completing 15 UC-approved courses in the A-G subject requirements, earning a 3.0 or better and taking the SAT or ACT, just the beginning of being a competitive applicant. Yu said the UC system is equally as interested in what a student has accomplished outside of academics and what obstacles they may have overcome. “It’s about what your student is doing outside of class,” Yu said. “Your personal statement is your chance to sell yourself. Have it critiqued by someone who doesn’t know you. By the end did they get an idea of who you are? Do they feel like they know you?” Subhead: Sierra College: vocational, transfer options Alistair Turner, Sierra College Outreach and International Program Coordinator said deadlines are just as important for Sierra-bound students as for university students now. One parent expressed concern about students not being able to get classes due to the increasing demand at community colleges. Turner said students should meet all deadlines to have the best selection of classes. Turner said students in the community college, CSU and UC systems all complete the same general set of classes their first two years. The benefit of attending Sierra College, according to Turner, is tuition averages only about $1,000 a year. UC Davis and California State University, Sacramento reserve a certain percentage of their admissions for Sierra College students. “It really is a quality school providing really good qualifications,” Turner said. To get through a community college, like Sierra, in two years, students need to take at least 15 units a semester. That makes testing into college math and English important for incoming freshman. Turner said students should take the most challenging high school course work possible to be prepared. Vocational programs, including the fire academy, nursing program and mechatronics program are other options for students. With college deadlines fast-approaching, seniors have to start making decisions about where to apply. Krizman said there is one major thing to keep in mind when weighing the options. “One-size doesn’t fit all,” Krizman said. Reach Sara Seyydin at _____________________________________________________ Explore your college options UC- “You get more opportunities and exposure to state-of-the-art facilities and talented researchers at a globally recognized level,” said UC Davis admissions representative Tracy Yu-Santos. CSU- “The up front benefit is that the fees and tuition is a little bit lower than the UCs. They offer more liberal arts programs and UCs offer more of the math, science and professional degrees. In my opinion that is about the only difference,” said Placer High counselor Steve Prather. Sierra College- “It really is a quality school providing really good qualifications,” said Sierra College Outreach and International Program Coordinator Alistair Turner. Private- “For some students, a smaller faith-affiliated university may be something for them that is just the right fit,” said Del Oro High counselor Debra Krizman. Out-of-state- “It’s a very good choice. It has a great engineering school. It is known for the media facilities. Lots of Auburn students go to UNR because it’s close to Tahoe,” said Del Oro High counselor Debra Krizman on the University of Nevada, Reno. ______________________________________________________ College Legislative Bulletin Bills Passed: AB 540: This bill allows qualified, illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates, providing they attended a California high school and agree to file an affidavit stating they will apply for legal residency as soon as possible. AB 130: Passed on July 25, this bill allows qualified illegal immigrants to apply for and receive private financial aid. Bills awaiting Gov. Jerry Brown’s Approval: AB 131: This bill would allow illegal immigrants that meet the in-state tuition requirements to apply for and receive specified financial aid programs administered by California's public colleges and universities. SB 185: This bill would authorize the University of California and the California State University to consider race, gender, ethnicity, and national origin, along with other relevant factors, in undergraduate and graduate admissions. ______________________________________________________ College-bound? Mark your calendar: Oct. 13- College Night at Rocklin High School Dec. 6- Financial Aid Night at Placer High School Oct. 1-Nov. 31- Application Date for CSU Schools Nov. 1-Nov. 30- Application Date for UC Schools Jan. 1-March 2- Apply for FAFSA/Cal Grant Check out these college-planning websites: Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA): California State University System: University of California System: Assist Online Student Transfer System: For a list of scholarships available in the Placer Union High School District, visit Placer High’s counseling page: