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Choosing a College

There are a lot of options, a lot of paths to take. We'll try to make it manageable to start:

Community Colleges

The over 100 community colleges in California have open admissions (e.g. high school diploma, 18 years old, or High School Proficiency Exam). These campuses offer numerous vocational programs as well as transfer programs to four-year universities.

A college prep program while in high school is suggested for good transfer preparation, while tech prep classes may provide sound preparation for a future vocational program. For further information about the many opportunities available at the community college, consult the specific college catalog in the Career Center. Under certain circumstances, high school students may concurrently enroll in courses at Cabrillo College while attending Soquel High. See your counselor for specific details or check out the website:

Cabrillo College High School Dual Enrollment

Community College

Private Universities

There are more than 1400 private colleges in the U.S., including over 100 in California. Some private schools have highly selective admissions, such as Stanford, Princeton and West Point. Others have less demanding admission standards.

In general, selective private colleges expect students to have the most challenging four-year academic program that can be arranged, so going well beyond the 'a-g' requirements is advisable. A variety of informational resources regarding the private schools is available in the Career Center, Counseling Office, library, bookstores and the Internet (lists of websites is available in the Counseling Office). For some more information about some of the private colleges in California see the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU).

Private U

Public: UCs and CSUs

The UC system includes nine undergraduate campuses: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz. UC San Francisco is a professional/graduate program.


The CSU system includes 23 campuses such as San Jose State, Cal Poly, Chico State, Sac State, San Diego State, etc.

A map of the UC campuses can be found by clicking here, while a map of the California State University campuses is here.

Subject Requirements
a.    US History / Social Studies - 2 years including one year of US History (or one semester each of US History and American Government) as well as one year of world history, cultures and geography (World Civ and Global Issues)

b.    English - 4 years of college prep English. Note that some English classes meet only the g requirement (college prep elective)

c.    Math - 3 years (4 years recommended), including Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 (An equivalent level math successfully passed in 7th or 8th grades may be used to meet subject requirement)

d.    Laboratory Science - 2 years (3 recommended), including fundamental knowledge in at least two areas: biology, chemistry or physics

e.    Languages other than English - 2 years of the same language (3 years recommended)

f.    Visual and Performing Arts - 1 year (art, music, theater or dance) Must be one, year-long course.

g.    College Prep Electives - 1 year of additional college prep course work, chosen from the following areas: history, social studies, English, advanced math, science, visual and performing arts or a language other than English (3rd year in the same language used in 'e' or two years of a different world language).
*Consult the UC-approved listing of SHS classes that meet the 'a-g' requirements listed above.

Scholarship Requirements
Students must complete the 'a-g' subject requirements with a minimum of 'C' or better. The UC and CSU systems calculate the GPA in a different manner. Refer to 'Calculating GPA' in this handbook for details.

Examination Requirements
For the UC system, scores from the following standardized tests must be submitted:

  1. SAT I or ACT (similar tests from different testing companies)2.   SAT II:   two subject tests: math (level 2 only), literature, foreign languages, sciences, or social studies.

  2. UC admission eligibility is based on a combination of the SAT 1 (or ACT) scores. SAT II scores and the weighted GPA in the 'a-g' subject requirements (see Calculating GPA for details). Many campuses use additional criteria such as the number of college prep classes taken beyond the minimum 'a-g' requirements, number of honors or advanced placement classes, quality of senior year schedule, extracurricular activities, honors and awards, personal essay, etc. Excerpts of the 'eligibility thresholds' are illustrated below; however, it is emphasized that additional criteria is most often used due to the increased demand for admission to the UC system.

UC 'a-g' GPA        Test Scores*

  • 2.80 to 2.84         4640

  • 2.90 to 2.94         4160

  • 3.00 to 3.04         3840

  • 3.30 to 3.34         3248

  • 3.50 +                  3120

*combination of test scores for SAT I (or ACT) plus 2X the 3 SAT II scores. A revised formula will be used starting Fall 2006. The CSU system requires the SAT I or ACT for admission consideration.

The CSU eligibility index (excerpts below) includes the test score and weighted CSU GPA (see Calculating GPA for details)

  • CSU GPA    SAT I    or    ACT

  • 3.00           no minimum score requirement

  • 2.80           660           14

  • 2.60           820           18

  • 2.40           980           22

  • 2.20         1140           26

  • 2.00         1300           30

  • Below 2.0 does not qualify for regular admission to CSU

Similar to the use of additional criteria for UC admission, CSU may also use additional factors in considering students for particular campuses and specific majors.

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