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College Info Locker
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Point of Diminishing Returns

While many of you are working upon your applications for scholarships, out-of-state and private schools please be sure to do some fun things - as the stress of application details and all those years of dreaming about college can diminish your efficacy - take a 30 minute break every now and again, find something to laugh about to reboot your mindset. 


:) Ms. Duke


College Info

UC/MCHS Acceptance Data, 2016 & 2017
UC/MCHS Acceptance Data
UCLA Acceptances Celebration
UCLA Acceptances Celebration

2016 ACTS College Summit was terrific!

Congratulations to the highly motivated students that attended the ACTS Summit this past Saturday.


Here are some of the notes that I took at the sessions:


From Christopher Gray, Founder of Scholly:, who personally applied to 120 scholarships with 8 basic essays:


  • Unless specified differently any essay for a scholarship should be less than 500 words. Be concise, tell a story that illustrates your commitment to the community and your organizational skills. DO NOT just list what you have done, illustrate why you were motivated to take action and how your actions had a positive effect.
  • Research scholarships, create an excel file of deadlines and essay questions, then triage. Find the similarities in the essay questions and write one generic essay in response to the general prompt, then tailor the essay to match each scholarship's specific prompt. Pay attention to the deadlines and submit the earliest ones first.
  • Go for the big money scholarships. Scholarships are not always about the GPA, they want to support students that will make a difference in their school communities.
  • Begin writing your scholarship essays in your Junior year! 

FAFSA and Financial Aid session:


  • CalGrant A requires a 3.0 A-G GPA, Provides $12K for students attending a UC, $9K for students enrolled in a CSU. It also gives state support for students enrolled in a California private college. It does not give financial support to students that go out-of-state for college.
  • CalGrant B requires a 2.0 A-G GPA, provides $1560 for first year of college. If you achieve a 3.0 in your first year of college you will qualify for the CalGrant A for your second year.
  • Always request WorkStudy! half of your pay will be subsidized by the US Government, so the local employers want to hire WorkStudy students. The money goes directly into your pocket. It does not pay for tuition or housing unless you write a check to the school.
  • Every student needs to complete the FAFSA, and if your parents have not submitted 2015 taxes you will need to enter an estimate.
  • All parents should endeavor to complete their 2015 taxes to avoid stalling your child's financial aid package and flagging a verification review.
  • Students with undocumented parents, complete the FAFSA, use your FSA ID to sign electronically, then print out the FAFSA, have your parents sign the final page and send in by USPS with a delivery confirmation receipt.

WA Post Parchment Survey Info

When students have choices among top colleges, which one do they choose?

By Jeffrey J. Selingo September 23, 2015
Stanford University, in Palo Alto, Calif., tops another new ranking. But the rest of the Parchment Top 25 might surprise you. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

This is the time of year when college rankings proliferate to capture the attention of a new crop of high-school seniors searching for the right campus. In recent months, I’ve written about two fairly new entrants to the rankings game that are worth checking out for their unique methodology, Money magazine and LinkedIn.


Now another set of rankings has arrived this month that approaches the question of where to go to college based on the choices real students make: which institutions do students pick when they have been accepted to more than one institution?

These rankings come from Parchment, which processes transcripts for high-school students applying to college. It analyzed more than 150,000 admissions acceptances that some 86,000 seniors from the Class of 2015 received from 700 colleges and universities. The company then assigned points to institutions based on the decisions students made when they had a choice among multiple colleges.


[See the new Parchment Top 25 list.]

The schools that rose to the top of Parchment’s list are some of the usual suspects that come out first in all the rankings: Stanford, MIT, and Yale. But several of the names on Parchment’s list might surprise you, especially when you see the so-called peer schools students were often choosing from.


For instance, the top-ranked liberal-arts college in the U.S. News & World Report rankings — Williams College — ranked 21st in the Parchment rankings below Swarthmore (11th), Pomona (12th), and Bowdoin (13th). One university that cracks the top 10 in the Parchment rankings doesn’t even make it into the U.S. News rankings because it’s in Canada: the University of Waterloo in Ontario.

[Three questions to ask when searching for a college and where to find the answers]


Waterloo is a university you may never have heard of, but if you talk to anyone in Silicon Valley they’ll probably tell you the university is a source of some of the best employees and entrepreneurs. The president of Y Combinator, one of the most influential backers of new tech companies, traces the roots of eight successful startups to Waterloo.


Waterloo operates the largest co-op education program in the world, meaning almost half of its 30,000 students alternate between four-month periods on campus and in the workplace. Because of co-ops, Waterloo students are accustomed to toggling between long stretches in the classroom and the work world while constantly refining and reflecting on what they learned in both places.

One benefit of the Parchment rankings is that they reveal schools like Waterloo that might not otherwise land on the list of a prospective student focused solely on the prestige factor of U.S. News.


The Parchment rankings also show that deciding where to go to college is not the rational process that it’s often made out to be. Three quarters of high-school students submit three or more applications, and often they are applying to a mix of institutions, including small liberal-arts colleges and big state universities. Where those students end up enrolling is usually not based on whether one university ranks a few spots higher than another on the U.S. News list. It’s based much more on cost, location, and academic programs.


Like other rankings, the Parchment list has its limitations. For one, Parchment’s services are more popular in some states than others, so its sample is not nationally representative.


The rankings are a tool to use in the admissions process that provide valuable information to consider when making a decision. But the final choice for most students and their families is based on personal fit and financial circumstances, not on where others before you have gone.

Parchment Rankings, 2016

1. Stanford University
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
3. Harvey Mudd College
4. Duke University
5. Yale University
6. United States Military Academy
7. University of Pennsylvania
8. University of Chicago
9. United States Naval Academy
10. University of Waterloo
11. Swarthmore College
12. Pomona College
13. Bowdoin College
14. Cal Tech
15. Brown University
16. University of Toronto
17. Princeton University
18. University of Notre Dame
19. University of California, Berkeley
20. McGill University
21. Williams College
22. University of California, Los Angeles
23. Columbia University
24. Barnard College
25. Haverford College

Selingo is a regular contributor to Grade Point. He is a former editor of the Chronicle of Higher Education, an author of books about higher education and a professor of practice at Arizona State University.
Be the change:
Be the change:
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Campus Admission-Specific Practices and Enrollment Resources

Transcript Requirements

Several CSU campuses make preliminary offers of admission to first-time freshman applicants whose high school grade point average (based on “a-g” college preparatory courses) is 3.00 and above on the basis of information provided on the application for admission, provided the ACT with writing and/or SAT exam scores are submitted.

For applicants with a GPA of lower than 3.00, test scores are brought into play. Applicants for whom admission decisions cannot be made on the basis of information submitted for initial admission processing will be notified of additional information requirements by the campus. Thorough and accurate completion of the application will expedite initial admission processing. Academic performance information provided on the application and final CSU admission eligibility are verified following receipt of the official high school transcript showing date of graduation.

All campuses require submission of a final high school transcript showing date of graduation. In the absence of final high school transcripts, which indicate the date of graduation, offers of admission, schedules of classes, financial aid awards, and/or housing contracts may be subject to cancellation.

Review the campus transcript and test score requirements below, noting several abbreviations:

  • SR: Self reported GPA and college preparatory courses included in the application for admission
  • TS: Test scores
  • T#: High school transcript with indicated minimum semesters beginning with 9th grade
  • Cal State Tranfer Requirements
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