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Planning for College

Steps For Seniors In Planning For College:

  1. Obtain your unofficial transcripts from Mrs. Littleton, the Registrar, in order to complete your college applications. They will be sent to you when you have submitted your Transcript Release Form and the $15 fee that will cover the cost of all transcript requests for the entire year. The most updated class ranks and GPAs will be available on your Naviance profile page. This year your class consists of 108 seniors. 

  2. Pursue and maintain a rigorous course of study during your senior year. The colleges will look at senior grades closely. Colleges prefer to see an upward swing in grades. For the marginal student it may make the difference as to whether or not you are accepted. (The best predictor of success in college is grades in high school while pursuing a rigorous program of study.)

  3. Use your legal name and the SAME name on all standardized tests, apps, transcripts, etc. - no nicknames. If your family is low income, e-mail Ms. Leiva IMMEDIATELY. You may qualify for fee waivers for testing and college applications.

  4. Apply by utilizing Naviance. ALL COLLEGE APPLICATIONS ARE ACCESSED THROUGH NAVIANCE. If you have not already, complete your prospective college list (“Colleges I am Thinking About”), do so right away! Do not move your colleges to “Colleges I am applying to” until you are SURE you are going to apply there. Cal State applications open October 1st and close November 30th; UC apps must be submitted between Nov. 1st and 30th, although you can be working on the application at this time. As you progress through the college application process, keep your Naviance page updated.

  5. Private school applications are accessible through Naviance links as well. You are strongly encouraged to use the Common Application for many colleges, such as LMU, USD, Santa Clara, NYU, and the Claremont colleges. It is available through a link on Naviance. There is also the Coalition for Access and Affordability application, but before using the Coalition Application you might want to check to see if the Coalition member school also accepts the Common Application. The Common Application has more than 900 members as opposed to the 147 colleges and universities that are Coalition members. The only schools that are Coalition Application exclusive are University of Washington and University of Maryland.

  6. Visit or Take virtual tours of the colleges you are interested in applying to in order to obtain firsthand information about the programs available and to get the "feel" of a particular college. Wednesday, October 13 is a free day to visit colleges or work on your applications.

  7. Check on Naviance for a listing of upcoming virtual visits with college representatives; you also sign up for these speakers on Naviance. You must sign up no later than 8 A.M. the day BEFORE the speaker is scheduled. Mark the date and time on your calendar; you will not receive a reminder. The college representatives are an excellent source of information; they are also advocates for you in the admissions process. A handout with suggested questions to ask reps is on your Google classroom for reference.

  8. Attend college application workshops during lunch in October and November with Ms. Leiva to help you fill out your college applications. Community College application procedures begin end of first semester.

  9. Frequently discuss your career plans, college choice, and financing of college with your counselor. Ms. Leiva may be able to help students avoid some of the problems that may occur in the college admission process.

  10. Discuss your ideas and involve your parents when planning for college. Ideally, planning for college should be a collaborative effort - among student, parents, and school.

Click the link below to download this information as a PDF:



To request a teacher or counselor recommendation, follow these steps:
  1. AT LEAST 15 working days BEFORE THE DUE DATE, complete the Secondary School Report Request Form. Please abide by the recommendation request deadline schedule. You can access all forms on the College Guidance Google Classroom.

  2. Fill the form out completely with all colleges that need a secondary school report and/or recommendation. Use your earliest application submission deadline to give your counselor.

  3. Be sure you have done everything indicated on the form (e.g., completed your brag sheet on Naviance. Athletic resumes are not sufficient). It is critical that you do a thorough job on the brag sheet, as it will be heavily relied on to write your recommendation letters.

  4. Ask your counselor nicely if she will complete your secondary school report/ recommendation and provide her with your completed form. (Do not leave a form under her door without asking).

  5. If a secondary school report/recommendation must be mailed, be sure to provide the counselor with a self-address, and a stamped envelope with the address of where it is to be mailed.

  6. If you should later add a college, please repeat the entire process with a new form and the additional college(s).




When requesting a letter of recommendation from a teacher or counselor, please abide by the following deadlines. If you do not, we cannot guarantee that your recommendation will be done on time.
If your college’s deadline is:
October 15, request your recommendation no later than September 24
November 1, request your recommendation no later than October 11
November 15, request your recommendation no later than October 21
November 30, request your recommendation no later than October 29
December 1, request your recommendation no later than November 1
December 10, request your recommendation no later than November 12
December 15, request your recommendation no later than November 17
Any date from December 20 to January 6,  no later than November 29
January 10, request your recommendation no later than December 1
January 15,
request your recommendation no later than December 8
January 31,
request your recommendation no later than January 7
February 1,
request your recommendation no later than January 10
February 15,
request your recommendation no later than January 24
March 1,
request your recommendation no later than February 4
Thank you,
Ms. Leiva

Financial Aid

ALL need‐based financial aid, including work‐study and loans, is obtained by completing the Free Application For Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) starting in October of senior year. Families can access the application by going to the website studentaid.gov.
Some private colleges may also require the CSS Profile, found on the College Board website at www.cssprofile.collegeboard.com
Students can best research scholarships late junior year or very early senior year at www.fastweb.com. Fastweb has the largest scholarship database in the nation and is totally free. Students may also search for scholarships on Naviance or College Board.


State of California Grants

  • Cal Grant A: Assists low and middle income students with tuition/fee costs. Grant winners are selected on the basis of financial need and grade point average.

  • Cal Grant B: Provides a living allowance for very low-income students.

  • Cal Grant C: Helps vocational students with tuition and training costs. Recipients must be enrolled in a vocational program at a community college, independent college or vocational school, in a program of study from four months to two years in length Cal grants do not have to be repaid.


Federal Government Pell Grant
Pell Grant, the largest federal aid program, is a direct grant for low-income students funded and administered by the federal government. This aid is not repaid.


Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG)
FSEOG is a federal government fund administered by the college for students with financial need. SEOG is not repaid. Not all schools participate. Check with your financial aid office to find out if the school offers the FSEOG.


Iraq and Afghanistan Service Grant

Students who had a parent die as a result of military service may be eligible.


Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH Grant)

Provides up to $4000 a year to students who are completing or plan to complete coursework needed to begin a career in teaching.


Direct Loans
Direct Loans are long-term, low interest loans designed to provide students with additional funds for college. They must begin to be repaid six months after graduating or leaving college. Direct loans are available with and without federal subsidy of interest.


The U.S. Department of Education's federal student loan program is the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program. Under this program, the U.S. Department of Education is your lender. There are four types of Direct Loans available:


  • Direct Subsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need to help cover the costs of higher education at a college or career school.

  • Direct Unsubsidized Loans are loans made to eligible undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, but eligibility is not based on financial need.

  • Direct PLUS Loans are loans made to graduate or professional students and parents of dependent undergraduate students to help pay for education expenses not covered by other financial aid. Eligibility is not based on financial need, but a credit check is required. Borrowers who have an adverse credit history must meet additional requirements to qualify.

  • Direct Consolidation Loans allow you to combine all of your eligible federal student loans into a single loan with a single loan servicer.