pLANNING for college







California State University (CSU)

With 23 campuses, CSU is the largest, most diverse, and one of the most affordable university systems in the country. Many CSU campuses have higher standards for particular majors or for students who live outside the local admission area. Because of the number of students who apply, several campuses have higher standards (supplementary admission criteria) for all applicants. Make sure to learn about admission requirements early in your high school career.


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Bakersfield * Channel Islands * Chico * Dominguez Hills * East Bay * Fullerton * Humboldt State * Long Beach * Los Angeles *Maritime Academy * Monterey Bay * Northridge * Cal Poly Pomona * Sacramento * San Bernardino * San Diego State * San Francisco State * San Jose State * Cal Poly San Luis Obispo * San Marcos * Sonoma State * Stanislaus 


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Students can apply to any of the 23 CSU campuses on the Cal State Apply website. Students can get help completing applications at Cal State Apply Application Workshops hosted by Fresno State. The application period for Fall 2022 admission will be from October 1 to November 30.


University of California (UC)

Berkeley * Davis * Irvine * Los Angeles * Merced * Riverside * San Diego * Santa Barbara * Santa Cruz 


University of California (UC) admission guidelines are designed to ensure you are well-prepared to succeed at UC. If you're interested in attending a UC campus, it is very important to exceed the minimum eligibility requirements in order to be a competitive applicant. The application for Fall 2021 opened August 1, and can be submitted October 1 - Nov. 30.

UC Application Tutorial Channel (hosted by the UC Santa Barbara Office of Admissions)

Admission Requirements

How applications are reviewed

Personal Insight Questions (aka "PIQs")

Freshmen admission profiles 

2019 UC Counselor Conference: PowerPoint with GOOD INFORMATION about the evaluation of PIQs!!!  

Private Colleges and Universities

There are hundreds of private colleges and universities from which to choose. There are 85 independent undergraduate colleges and universities in California alone. Private colleges and universities are quite diverse in nature, including research universities, small liberal arts colleges, faith-based colleges and universities, and specialized colleges.

The cost is higher than public colleges and universities. However, these institutions have a variety of financial aid programs that often make the cost comparable to a public institution. Your ability to graduate in 4 years at a private institution may be greater than at a public institution due to more courses being available to you as a student there.

Some independent institutions, such as USC, Stanford, and California Institute of Technology, are highly selective. Other universities are less selective in nature. Visit their websites for specific admission information. Transfer to a private college is possible after your freshman year at a community college or other institution. To explore private schools outside of California, we recommend using the search tool in Xello.

Many schools take applications through the Common App.


Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)

There are 105 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the nation. While the 105 HBCUs represent just three percent of the nation's institutions of higher learning, they graduate nearly 20 percent of African Americans who earn undergraduate degrees. HBCUs were created to support African American students but these institutions of higher learning are no longer exclusive for African American students. Today, HBCUs have a significant percentage of non-African American student populations that consist of Asian, Hispanic, International and white American students.

Search Complete List of HBCUs

California Community Colleges

 is the largest system of higher education in the nation, with 2.1 million students attending 116 colleges. With a wide range of educational offerings, California Community Colleges provide workforce training, basic courses in English and math, certificate and degree programs and preparation for transfer to four-year institutions. Search Salary Surfer website to view combined median earnings of those who completed a certificate or degree in 179 of the most widely enrolled programs at community colleges.


Notes: Links below to be updated 


WHC Admission & Enrollment Checklist

WHC President Honors Program

▪ FCC/Reedley/CCC Registration Checklist 

▪ Preparing for the SCCCD Online Application

▪ SCCCD Online Application Instructions

▪ Leon S. Peters Honors Program (Clovis Community College)

▪ Leon S. Peters Honors Program (Fresno City College)

▪ Pete P. Peters Honors Program (Reedley College)

▪ Cal State Apply Application Workshops

Virtual College Tours (Check out this website to take a virtual tour of college campuses!)

Free community college for 2 years!

Students that plan to attend Clovis Community College, Fresno City College, Reedley College, or Madera/Oakhurst Center could be eligible to have their tuition covered for 2 years under one of the following funding categories/criteria:


California College Promise


California College Promise Grant (CCPG -- old BOG fee waiver)

Trade School

Also known as vocational or technical schools, Trade Schools offer a variety of short-term training programs focused on career specific pathways like medical assisting, welding, cosmetology, construction to name a few. 

Visit the following for more information:

A-G Subject Requirements (4-year bound college students)

There are specific classes students should take throughout their 4-years of high school if a student chooses to follow a 4-year college bound pathway. 

For details on A-G requirements, click here.

For Riverdale High School designated "a-g" subject courses, click here.

college data - check what your chances of being admitted are!

Using CollegeData 

(information provided from The College Solution), a free resource especially to hunt for affordable schools.You can discover what the average need-based and institutional merit scholarships that a specific school offers, as well as what percentage of students receive each type.

Private Colleges & Universities

University of Southern California (USC) - Introduction to USC guidebook


Majors & careers

College Search: Find the Right College for you

Career Exploration: Search for a Career

Major in Data Science (RHS Only Presentation) Click here.  Presentation Slides.  Presentation held on October 12, 2022.

Finding the college that's right for you

Here is a great resource to consider when looking at colleges that might be the best fit for you. 

Calling all art, music and drama students! how to prepare for college!

Six Considerations When Applying to a College as a Visual Art, Design, Dance, Music, or Performing Arts Major


When it comes to applying to college as a prospective visual, music, dance, or performing arts major, students must approach admissions with an abundance of passion for their intended careers. In addition to an application, personal statement, and interview, admission requirements typically include auditions or portfolios.

Six things for students to consider when applying to college as an art/design/music/performing arts/ major: 


1. Love what they do and work on their craft

Whether a student desires to pursue dance, piano, graphic design, photography, acting, animation, musical theater, or fashion, they must LOVE spending time on their craft. If anyone asks them what they do when they have free time, the answer should unequivocally be, “Get creative and work on my [art].”


2. Get passionate about the field

Don’t be afraid to become an art/design/music/performing arts/dance “nerd.” Visit museums, galleries and shows, study art/music/theater history, and read relevant magazines. Look at lots and lots of art. Listen to lots and lots of music. Watch lots and lots of performances. But don’t just Google everything; enjoy the arts in real time and space. Develop a list of favorite artists, contemporary or from the past! A student should challenge themselves by diving deep into the oeuvre of an artist/designer/performer they don’t like and discover ‘outsider artists’ that friends and teachers have never heard of before.


3. Know what is needed for the audition or portfolio, as well as what the school requires for the admissions process.

For most visual artists and designers, a portfolio is an edited collection of real works AND the photographic documentation of those works. Some art works are ephemeral or “in situ” and can only be documented in photographs. A portfolio is a collection of works that one grows and edits over an entire career. Art students need to develop the habit of documenting their works soon after they are created, since not all works are archival. When a student applies to college, they will submit a highly edited digital portfolio of 15-20 pieces. Always check the requirements of the schools to which you are applying, as some will ask for specific types of work. Visual artists should also be prepared to explain their artistic perspective through an artist’s statement and may be required to describe the feeling and intent behind the pieces in their portfolio.


Dance auditions often require a student to attend an open class before the formal audition. Students who attend will learn a routine which they will then need to perform. This individual performance will be evaluated on coordination, rhythm, technique, degree of movement, and body structure. The student’s ability to learn will also be evaluated. Certain schools accept video submissions of other performances, either as additional audition material or in lieu of attending auditions in person. Check with each school to see if this is an option.

Music departments are looking for technical competence and performance achievement; however, each program is different. At some schools, students are asked to include two or more pieces as evidence of the student’s skills and achievements. Instrumental auditions should be performed without accompaniment and should be sent in either audio or video format as requested by the school. Some schools may also require in-person auditions. If so, many times, various locations for such auditions are offered. Check a college’s website for specifics about their music audition requirements.

Students looking to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Theatre may be required to audition. Applicants should check with the schools they plan to apply to for details. Many theatre programs require a prescreening for auditions, and only students who pass the “prescreen” will be invited for an audition. Colleges may require a resume of theatre experience, a headshot, and/or two contrasting monologues from student-selected plays. Musical theatre requirements generally consist of one up-tempo musical selection and one ballad, as well as a monologue from a student-selected play or musical.

4. Attend summer pre-college programs

One of the best ways to grow as an aspiring artist/designer/musician/performer is to surround yourself with other like-minded, creative people. There are many great summer programs, from short (2 weeks) to long (8 weeks), local to international, and from general to highly focused. If possible, plan to attend two summer programs before senior year; it’s a great way to get to know a favorite college, to demonstrate interest, and to improve a portfolio. There are too many programs to list, but if you are interested in suggestions, contact us at International College Counselors. 


5. Get critical feedback

Getting critical feedback on creative work is an essential way to grow as an artist. And although it can be nice to get feedback from loving friends and family, it is essential to get feedback from experts – teachers, professional artists or musicians, critics, and writers – as well as from college recruiters. Taking AP, AICE, IB and Dual Enrollment courses in art or music and attending summer programs are great ways to get rigorous feedback on creative work. College recruiters who specialize in performing and visual arts are usually happy to review and critique a student’s work when they visit a student’s high school or when a student is on their campus for a visit/tour, visiting them at a portfolio day, or a participating in summer program.


6. Research college programs

It’s never too early to start researching music, art, and performing arts programs. A good place to start is with types of degrees. For example, not all colleges offer majors in art, fewer in design, and even fewer offer professional degrees such as the BFA, BDes, and BArch. If a student is serious about a career in art/design/music/performing arts, they should favor colleges offering professional degrees. Ideally, the colleges will offer master’s degree programs in their chosen field as well. For art/design students, two excellent places to start your research are the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design (AICAD) and the National Portfolio Day Association (NPDA). Member colleges of both associations are NASAD accredited and the NPDA hosts the National Portfolio Days, which a student should plan to attend starting sophomore year. 


Don’t forget that when applying as an art/design/music/performing arts/dance major, colleges are still looking at your other application materials, including the student’s transcript and test scores, as well as resume, essay, and recommendation letters. Some schools are more selective than others, but a student can’t slack off on academics just because they are developing their portfolio or preparing for an audition.

why extracurricular activities are the heart of many admitted students' applications!

In the journey towards college admission, high school students often find themselves consumed by a whirlwind of academic demands, standardized tests, and GPA calculations. However, there's another crucial aspect that plays a pivotal role in shaping a successful college application: extracurricular activities. Activities pursued outside of the classroom offer a wealth of benefits that extend far beyond the confines of academic achievement. In this blog, we'll explore why extracurriculars matter for high school students who aspire to attend college.

1. Demonstrating Passion and Commitment: Extracurricular activities provide students with a platform to showcase their passions and interests. Whether it's joining a debate club, participating in community service, or playing a musical instrument, activities reflect a student's commitment and enthusiasm. Colleges seek students who have a genuine drive to pursue their interests, and active involvement in extracurriculars is a tangible way to demonstrate this commitment.

2. Developing Transferable Skills: Participating in extracurricular activities exposes students to a diverse set of skills that aren’t necessarily learned in the classroom. Leadership, teamwork, time management, communication, and problem-solving are just a few examples of skills students can develop through these experiences. These skills are not only valuable in college, but also in future careers and life in general.

3. Creating a Well-Rounded Profile: Colleges aim to build a diverse student body composed of people with varied interests, backgrounds, and talents. Engaging in extracurriculars allows students to add depth to their profiles, highlighting different facets of their personalities. A well-rounded student is more likely to stand out in the competitive admissions process, as they bring unique perspectives and strengths to the college community.

4. Demonstrating Initiative and Leadership: Extracurricular activities offer opportunities for students to take on leadership roles and demonstrate initiative. Whether it's leading a club, organizing an event, or mentoring others, these experiences exhibit a student's ability to take charge and make a positive impact. Colleges value applicants who can contribute positively to campus life.

5. Building a Strong Network: Extracurriculars foster connections with an array of people who share similar interests. These connections can lead to lifelong friendships, and they can also provide valuable networking opportunities down the road. A network built through extracurricular activities might open doors to internships, research opportunities, and collaborations in college and beyond.

6. Addressing Holistic Admissions: Many colleges employ a holistic admissions process, considering not only academic achievements but also personal qualities, experiences, and potential contributions. Extracurricular activities provide a window into a student's character and values, allowing admissions officers to understand the applicant beyond grades and test scores.

7. Showing a Sense of Purpose: Engaging in extracurricular activities signals a student's desire to make the most of their high school experience. It demonstrates that they are not solely focused on academics, but are actively seeking opportunities for personal growth, self-discovery, and exploration of their interests. This sense of purpose aligns with the mission of colleges to educate well-rounded individuals who are prepared to contribute to society.

8. Writing college admissions essays: By embracing extracurricular opportunities, students will have material to craft a compelling narrative that reflects their passions, values, and potential contributions to the college community.

Considering the competitiveness of college admissions, high school students need to stand out in the process. Beyond the academic realm, extracurricular activities contribute to personal development, skill-building, leadership experience, and the creation of a well-rounded profile. A holistic approach is key to a successful college admission journey.

(Info from International College Consultants)

Support Programs at college

There are many support programs at colleges and universities. Many provide similar programs of support. For more information, visit each individual college on what programs they offer. 

CAMP (College Assistance Migrant Program)