Systems of Higher Education


There are four higher education systems in California:

California State University

The CSU is a leader in high-quality, accessible, student-focused higher education. With 23 campuses, 405,000 students, and 44,000 faculty and staff, it is the largest, the most diverse, and one of the most affordable university systems in the country. They prepare graduates who go on to make a difference in the workforce and they play a vital role in the growth and development of California's economy. Click here to learn more about CSUs.

  • Filing period is October 1st- November 30th.
  • Straight forward application – list grades and classes taken.
  • A-G Requirements, Min. 2.0 GPA (3.0 to be competitive.)
  • SAT Reasoning or ACT with WRITING required.
  • No essay.
  • EOP application (part of the application)
  • No extracurricular activities need to be listed.
  • 4 year Degree (Bachelors of Arts or Science)

Visit to complete application.

 University of California

The University of California is home to more than 208,000 students and, in turn, to their parents and families. Each year, UC campuses welcome thousands of new students with another 60,000 more on their way over the next decade.

  • Filing period is August 1st – November 30th; Submission period November 1st-30th.
  • More comprehensive application.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA to apply (3.5 to be competitive)
  • Need to list classes taken, activities, and awards
  • SAT Reasoning or ACT with writing required.
  • SAT Subject Tests are recommended for some majors but not required.
  • Need to list extracurricular activities.
  • Personal Insight Questions required.
  • 4 year Degree (Bachelors of Arts or Science)


 California Community Colleges

California Community Colleges is a system of two-year public institutions, composed of 109 colleges statewide organized into 72 districts, serves more than 2.5 million students and represents the largest system of higher education in the world.

  • Filing period is Spring of senior year.
  • Involves a simple application.
  • SAT or ACT is not required.
  • English & Math Assessment tests required for placement.
  • Prepares for technical/vocational occupations, AA or AS degree or option to transfer to a 4 year institution.

Visit to complete application.

 California Private/Independent Colleges

Private universities can be found throughout the state of California, and vary greatly in size and enrollment. Most private institutions tend to specialize in specific areas of study, and tend to have higher tuition costs. Private schools tend to have more individualized education options with smaller class sizes.

  • Application deadlines vary.
  • More comprehensive application.
  • Need to list courses taken, activities, and awards.
  • Letters of recommendation REQUIRED.
  • School Report and Midyear report are required (transcripts included) .
  • SAT Reasoning or ACT with Writing is required & SAT Subject Tests is recommended.
  • Need to list extracurricular activities.
  • Applications usually have several essays.
  • 4 year Degree (Bachelors of Arts or Science)

Visit or individual out-of-state site.