• Private Colleges & Universities
    There are over 1,300 private colleges and universities in the United States, offering a wide range of programs and choices.
    California alone has 76 independent colleges and universities.  Independent colleges/universities come in a variety of shapes and sizes: major research universities, comprehensive universities, small liberal arts colleges, church-affiliated universities, and specialized schools and colleges for the arts or technology.
    Application procedures vary at different colleges. Some private colleges/universities will have their own application and others are part of the Common Application or the Coalition Application. Check college websites for specific application procedures and deadlines.
    More than 750 colleges accept the Common Application. It simplifies the college admission process by saving time and eliminating duplication of effort. Once completed online, copies of the Application for Undergraduate Admission and associated  secondary school forms may be sent to any of the participating colleges and universities.  Although the majority of the colleges on the Common Application are private, some public institutions are also using it.
    The Common Application opens each spring, so students can create an accound and profile early. The full application becomes available August 1st. Students are then able to see if their colleges require supplemental essays.
    Click here for help getting started and click here for help with completing the application from The Common Application.
    Here are the 2021-22 Common Application Essay Prompts:
    1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
    2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
    3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
    4. Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
    5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
    6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
    7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.
    Students choose one of these prompts to write on and have between 250-650 words for the Common Application essay.
    Supplemental Essays
    Many colleges will ask for one or more supplemental essay in addition to the main essay. One of the most common topics is "Why This College?" or a more specific question about how a student plans to contribute to the campus. Colleges are looking for detailed and well-researched responses. When evaluating these responses, colleges want to know that a student has done his or her homework on the institution and has really thought about how he or she will fit into the campus community.
    When answering this essay question, use specific details. Mention courses and professors of interest. Elaborate on campus organizations or programs that fit certain goals, and specific aspects of the campus community that make it a good social and academic fit. Be as detailed as possible, but be sure to relate these details to specific goals and interests. Don't just rattle off some course names and expect to wow the admissions committee.
    Research and preparation is key to writing stand-out supplements, so don’t wait until the last minute! 

    The Coalition was founded by a group of dedicated college administrators in 2015 with the goal to improve the college application process for all students, particularly those from historically under-represented groups. Members are united in their mission to support lower-income, under-resourced, and/or first-generation students; provide responsible financial aid; and bolster students’ success in college—and beyond.

    Students have private, unlimited space where they can upload important items such as papers, videos, and photos, as a record of their high school experience; this cloud-based "Locker" becomes the foundation of their application to Coalition schools.

    Using MyCoalition, students can begin exploring colleges and digitally compiling personal and school-related achievements as early as ninth grade. So by the time senior year rolls around, they are already on track for college success.