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Financial Aid

Federal Student Aid - Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

California Student Aid Commission - Financial aid programs such as Cal Grant

Western Undergraduate Exchange - With WUE, out-of-state students pay no more than 150% of in-state tuition at participating schools.

Cal Prep to College

Online Colleges and University Catalogs

College Source 

These web links are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. They do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Cal Prep/CUSD for any products, services, or opinions. Cal Prep/CUSD bears no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of these external sites. Contact the external site for answers to questions regarding its content.

"Great works are performed, not by strength, but by perseverance."
-Samuel Johnson

College Planning

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
-Benjamin Franklin

"College inspired me to think differently. It's like no other time in your life."
-Lari Oleynik

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character––that is the goal of true education."
-Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Higher Education Opportunities

"There is always a step small enough from where we are to get us to where we want to be. If we take that small step, there’s always another we can take, and eventually a goal thought to be too far to reach becomes achievable." 
-Ellen Langer

Follow Your Dreams

"There isn’t a person anywhere who isn’t capable of doing more than he thinks he can." 
-Henry Ford

“The beautiful thing about 
learning is that no one can 
take it away from you.” 

-B.B. King

“Optimism is the faith 
that leads to achievement.” 

-Helen Keller


“What you do makes a difference, 
and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 

-Jane Goodall

“High expectations are the key to everything.”
-Sam Walton

College Planning

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1:1 College Planning Appointments

If you would like a 1:1 personalized college planning appointment with Ms. Teager, contact her at Ms. Teager can help with college search options, advice about SAT/ACT, essay editing, college application reviews, and more!

saddleback college information

Seniors attending Saddleback College for fall 2021 should apply to the Freshman Advantage Program. Here is the link to the information. This will give you priority registration and other benefits. Students should also join the Promise Program, which gives 2 years of free community college tuition! Here is the link to the information and required steps. 

Futureology - Plan Your Future Now!

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FREE College & Career Counseling! 

Need some help planning out your future? Gain FREE personalized college and career planning through 1:1 and group workshops! 

We can work with you to create a best fit college list, review your SAT or ACT scores, complete your college applications, review scholarships, explore careers, and much more! 

We are conveniently available between 1:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
Stress less, meet with us! 

Schedule an appointment or register for an event

Getting Into College

In the State of California, higher education opportunities can be realized by attending one of the 110 community colleges, 33 public universities (CSU and UC),  75 private/independent universities and many more technical, trade, and art schools.  To be eligible to attend a community college, one must  be 18 years of age or possess a high school diploma. Eligibility requirements for the California State University and University of California public systems require completion of the minimum a-g course sequence with grades of C or higher and for some schools, submission of  ACT or SAT college admission tests results.  Currently, for most colleges/universities, the SAT/ACT test requirement has been put on hold due to the pandemic. Private/Independent university eligibility requirements vary from institution to institution, but follow closely with the University of California a-g course sequence. To learn more about each individual institution, it is recommended that students log onto the prospective school websites to explore majors and schools in California and nationwide. 

The College Application Process

College Application: Universities prefer that admissions applications be completed online. You can access CSU and UC applications through their prospective websites. To complete an admissions application to private universities, you will need to  go directly to the school website, or many private schools are part of the Common Application (  

College Application Fee: Application fees will vary per institution, and will be due upon submission of your application. Some universities offer fee waivers for those who qualify. 

High School Transcript: To complete your CSU or UC application, you will need an unofficial copy of your high school transcript for self-reporting your classes and grades. Once you have been accepted to a CSU or UC campus, that particular campus will prompt you to have an OFFICIAL transcript sent from CUSD directly to them upon graduation from high school. The UC/CSU may also ask you for an official transcript before the admissions decision is made. If you are applying to a private university, however, an OFFICIAL transcript will be required as part of the application process. To order your official high school transcript please go to Parchment, which is an official electronic transcript service. If the school is part of the Common App system, your Academic Advisor will upload this for you.

College Admissions Exams/Tests: As part of the application process for some 4-year colleges and universities, students will be required to submit the results of college admissions exams: ACT or SAT. Due to the pandemic, this requirement is on hold for most colleges/universities. For more information regarding these exams, please see College Admissions Testing on the navigation bar to the left or see the Academic Advisor in the office.

College Essay or Personal Statement:  Many Private/Independent Universities as well as the University of California will require a college essay or Personal Insight Questions as part of the application process.  These are written in response to prompts given to the student in the application. A college essay is not required for applications to the California State University.

Letters of Recommendation: Most private university and scholarship applications will require that students submit letters of recommendation. Some will specify who the recommender should be (teachers, employers, coaches, community and church leaders); others simply indicate how many recommendations are required.  Letters of recommendation give evaluators and selection committees additional information about you. Keep in mind that these individuals will already have objective information - your grades, classes and test scores - they want to know about your character and who you are outside of the classroom; how others see you!

Tips for letters of  recommendation

  • Aspire to make good connections with teachers and other adults on campus so that when it comes time to request a recommendation, you have many options.
  • Choose adults who know you well; those who can write about not only your academic skills, but also your talents and abilities.
  • Choose recommenders who will write specific statements about you - not remarks that could apply to any student.

Steps to securing letters of recommendation

  1. Ask teachers, coaches, administrators, academic advisors, counselors, employers, community and church leaders who know you well and who will write you a personalized and positive letter of recommendation.  If this person is a teacher, it is preferable that you are currently in his or her class or were a student of theirs the previous year.
  2. PLAN AHEAD!  Make an appointment to speak with the person you are asking for a recommendation from no less than 3 to 4 weeks prior to the deadline. 
  3. Provide your recommenders with important information that they may need to write a letter that truly represents your good qualities, character and outstanding skills.  Providing your recommender with a copy of your student resume, student profile and college essay will assist them in writing a more precise and thorough letter.
  4. Many recommendations are provided online. Find out how the recommender needs to submit the recommendation and be sure to give them the appropriate information/directions. If the recommendation needs to be done by paper, provide your recommenders with the following: 1. Name and address of the school or scholarship you are applying to/for and a stamped addressed envelope if the school or scholarship committee requires that the letter be sent directly to them by the recommender (be sure to provide a manilla envelope if the recommender is required to send additional documentation such as a copy of your transcript, etc.  2. DEADLINE or date that the letter needs to be submitted 3. A copy of your high school transcript, student resume, and a student profile (if available). 

Being PREPARED AND ORGANIZED will allow your recommenders to write an outstanding letter of recommendation!!

Service Hours/Extra-Curricular Activities/Volunteering: Students are not required to do service hours as a condition of graduation from California Preparatory Academy/Capistrano Unified School District. However, most universities will, as a part of their application process, ask students to document service hours and extra-curricular activities. The general rule is to get involved in an activity that you are passionate about and can commit to for a length of time. Universities will ask what types of activities you were involved in, how long you were committed to the activity and what skills you developed or how it affected you personally. 

California Community Colleges


California Community Colleges - Apply

Transfer programs:  Assist

Saddleback - Saddleback College

IVC- Irvine Valley College

Standardized Testing


 Earn valuable college credits! The College-Level Examination Program is a credit-by-examination program used for over 40 years. Accepted by 2,900 colleges and universities in over 1,800 test centers. 

SAT The SAT is a globally recognized college admission test that lets you show colleges what you know and how well you can apply that knowledge. It tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math.

ACT - Standardized college admissions exam accepted by most colleges and universities. Measures your knowledge and skills in Reading, Math, and Science; optional "Plus Writing" exam

Advanced Placement Exams: AP

California State University (CSU)

University of California (UC)

California Private & Independent Colleges

College and Career Search Tools


“Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” 
-Mae Jemison

“It always seems impossible until it's done.” 
-Nelson Mandela

College Life

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing.” 

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