By Mary O’KEEFE
On Monday night, Crescenta Valley High School hosted a college information night for students and parents.
Representatives from Glendale Community College, California State University, Los Angeles, University of California, Riverside and Occidental College spoke to the audience, presenting information on what students need to be prepared for college, whether they are applying this year or in the future.
“There are 112 community colleges in the state, 2.6 million students in the community college system, which makes it the largest form of higher education in the world,” said Alen Andriassian of Glendale Community College.
He added the advantages of going to a community college like Glendale or Pasadena included being convenient to home for CVHS students. He said that the cost is considerably cheaper per class and has smaller classes.
“And Glendale is the first in transfer rates [to four year colleges/universities],” he said.
The school also offers a scholars program that is designed to get the students through community college in two years.
“Make certain you apply,” he advised.
Andriassian added that even if a student is applying to four-year colleges they should fill out the GCC, or other community college, application as a backup.
Marjani Chidinma represented California State Universities; she was from Cal State L.A.
“There are 23 campuses in the CSU [system],” Chidinma explained.
She added that students are required to have their A to G requirements – specific classes required for a four-year school.
When looking at a student’s application, CSUs look at the student’s history from ninth grade to 12.
“We do not have a common application,” she added. Therefore students must apply to each specific CSU school they are interested in.
“Don’t start three or four applications at once,” she advised.
Students should work on one application at a time and submit. The CSU schools look at grade point average and test scores on the SAT, a scholastic aptitude test. Application submittal fees to CSUs cost $55 each.
Chidinma told the audience that 16 out of the 23 CSU campuses are impacted meaning that there are many more applicants than spaces available, so competition is high.
“We also have impacted [major areas of studies],” she said. “Think of alternative majors.”
Tuition for CSU varies from campus to campus. The applications for fall 2014 are accepted from Oct. 1 to Nov. 4.
Chidinma advised everyone to apply for financial aid, even if they do not know what school they will be attending.
Some students will have siblings help them fill out college applications, including financial aid, while others get help from friends.
“Please don’t do that,” she said. “Go to an application workshop.”
Erika Yamasaki, from Occidental College, echoed Chidinma’s advice.
“Sign up for FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid),” Yamasaki said. FAFSA is the application that is required by most higher education facilities for any type of financial aid.
“I represent the private sector [of schools],” Yamasaki said. She will be hosting a workshop at CVHS on Nov. 14 at 6 p.m.
Private colleges and universities are not all alike. They specialize in many different areas ranging from science to art.
“They are big and small; some are just for women like Wellesley College,” she said. “I can tell you the most accurate answer to most questions is, ‘Well it depends.’”
That is because each college is different and has different requirements.
Occidental is a liberal arts college that encourages students to step out of their major study area and explore subjects that may be unfamiliar to them. Occidental’s philosophy is that to be a well-rounded student it is always good to explore.
The advantage to a private college, she added, is smaller class sizes.
“Our average class size is 19 students,” she said.
Another Occidental College advantage, Yamasaki said, is the diverse student body with students from all over the country, as well as from around the world, attending the school.
“Sixty percent of our (Occidental) students are not California students,” she said.
Alex Arriaga from the University of California, Riverside echoed much of his colleague’s information. There are nine campuses in the UC system that vary in size from large, like Berkley and UCLA, to smaller, like Merced.
“We focus on academics from tenth, 11th and 12th grade,” he said.
The school also focuses on the SAT and ACT tests.
Beyond academics, Arriaga added, students should be involved in extra curricular activities.
“The key things are to do well in your classes, prepare for the SAT, get involved [in school and the community] and start looking at campuses right away,” he said.
For information on the California system campuses, visit www.universityofcalifornia.edu and www.calstate.edu: for Occidental, www.oxy.edu: for GCC, www.glendale.edu.
For more information, students should contact their CVHS counselor at (818) 249-5871 or visit www.cvhsfalcons.com.