College and Career


The Elk Grove Unified School District is committed to providing students and families with quality post-secondary information and planning resources. These resource for parents and students will assist in navigating through college preparation, testing, the application process, scholarship and financial aid information and other post-secondary career choices.

Stock Photo of Students

College Prep Resources

Planning for college is an exciting time for students.  But for many it can prove to be a daunting task.  The resources in this section are intended to help parents and students understand the steps that they should be taking in high school to prepare them for post-secondary education.

Graduation Requirements

In order to prepare its students for colleges and careers, the Elk Grove Unified School District has some of the most rigorous graduation requirements in California. The Board of Education believes that students will be better prepared for colleges and careers if they are challenged in high school. The district has increased its graduation requirements several times in the past 15 years, and students have always risen to the challenge.

Link to Graduation Requirements

College Entrance Requirements

High school students who receive A, B, or C grades in A-G courses get a boost towards college and careers.

Click here to learn more about College Entrance Requirements

Year-by-Year Planning Guide/Timelines

The following guides provide parents and students year-by-year planning tips for college preparation.
Freshman
Sophomore
Junior
Senior

Calculating Your GPA

A = 4.0      B = 3.0      C = 2.0      D = 1.0      F = 0

AP classes may add 1 point (i.e., A = 5.0,   B = 4.0, etc.)

A student’s high school grades are one of the key factors in college admissions. Students are advised to keep track of their GPA. To calculate your semester’s GPA, see the points above.  You may notice that a 4.0 is an A average.

  1. Place your grade and points on the lines provided
  2. Add all points for your classes and place in the total
  3. Now divide the total number of classes taken ( 6, 7 or 8 ) by the total points you have earned.
  4. See the following example and fill in your grades and points.

GPA Calculation Chart Graphic

Student NCAA – Eligibility Athletes

For student-athletes planning on playing a college sport, navigating the territory of preparing for college requires another twist in the road.  For college-bound student-athletes, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Eligibility Center is an important step in the journey.

The NCAA Eligibility Center certifies the academic and amateur credentials of all college-bound student-athletes who hope to compete in NCAA Division I or II athletics.  The registration fee is $65 for U.S. students and $95 for international students.  There is only one fee to register for the Eligibility Center, which covers both the academic and amateurism certifications.  Fee waivers for the registration fee are given only if a student has received a fee waiver for the ACT or SAT. If a student was not granted a fee waiver for the ACT or SAT, they will not be eligible for a waiver of the certification fee.

The steps to become eligible as a college student-athlete vary depending on the NCAA division.  Steps to achieving eligibility are as follows:

Freshman and Sophomore Years
During your freshman and sophomore years, work hard to get the best grades possible.  Take classes that match your high school’s list of NCAA courses.  These can be found here.  The Eligibility Center only uses approved core courses to certify your initial eligibility.  If you fall behind in completing your requirements, use summer school sessions before graduation to catch up.

Junior Year
At the beginning of the year, complete your registration at the Eligibility Center.  Register to take the SAT or ACT – or both – and use the Eligibility Center code “9999” as a score recipient.  This will send your score directly to the Eligibility Center. Double-check to make sure the courses you have taken match your school’s list of NCAA courses. Ask your high school counselor to send an official transcript to the Eligibility Center at the conclusion of your junior year. If you have attended more than one high school, you will need to send transcripts from each high school you attended. The Eligibility Center will not accept faxed transcripts or test scores.  Make sure you check-in with your counselor to determine the amount of core courses you’ll need to complete your senior year.

Senior Year
If needed, make sure you take the SAT or ACT again.  The Eligibility Center will use your best scores from each section of the ACT or SAT to determine your best cumulative score.  Continue to take your college-prep courses and make sure your courses match your school’s list of NCAA courses.  Review your amateurism responses and request final amateurism certification on or after April 1 – if you’re enrolling in your school in the fall or October – for spring enrollees.  Continue working on getting the best grades possible to ensure you graduate on time – in eight academic semesters.  After graduation, be sure to ask your high school counselor to send your final transcript to the Eligibility Center with proof of graduation.

Testing Information

Students planning to attend college should be aware of a number of tests that they may need to take for college entrance. Students interested in college or university degrees should be aware of the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, the American College Test and Advanced Placement Tests.

Link to testing information and testing dates

College Planning Resource Links

CaliforniaColleges.edu
Full complement of resources for two-year, four-year, public and private colleges in California only.

It’s Nacho – YouniversityTV
College videos when you want to get a preview and can’t get to the university due to time or cost.

The Princeton Review
A college match website, also includes school rankings.

Roadtrip Nation
Collegeboard.com’s college and career planning website. This is a free service for students who took the PSAT. Students received an ID code on their PSAT Score Report to use on this website.

California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office
Offers a description of California community colleges, programs and services.

California Postsecondary Education Commission
Overview of post-secondary education in California.

California State University – Apply
Cal State Apply is a website designed to help students and their families learn about the California State University (CSU) system. The CSU website assists students in planning for college, in selecting the appropriate CSU campus to attend, in planning how to finance their education and in applying for admission.

University of California Admissions
A website with information on applying to the University of California system.

Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
Connections for all California private colleges and universities

Western Undergraduate Exchange
Through the Western Undergraduate Exchange students in western states may enroll in more than 140 two-year and four-year college institutions at a reduced tuition level.

Peterson’s
College matching service and specific major information.

Kuder Career Assessment
Explore your career and educational option while tracking your information electronically. (Pleasant Grove High School only)

XAP – Career Exploration – Bridges
Explore your career and educational options while tracking your information in an electronic portfolio. See your counselor or career center technician for school id and password.

Career One Stop 
Connect to relevant links, resources, salary ranges, salary data, resume writing tips and more.

California Career Zone
A new way to explore exciting jobs and occupations that California has to offer and to learn about what career paths interest you.

Finance Resources

The options for financial aid and scholarship resources are endless. Here are some of the top choices for each topic:

Financial Aid

  • Net Price Calculator Center – The Net Price Calculator Center provides an easy tool to allow students and families to enter information about themselves and find out the net price of any given college – that is, the price after subtracting the scholarships and grants a student are likely to receive.
  • FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) – This site plays a central and essential role in America’s post secondary educational aid.
  • Princeton Review – A variety of scholarships and financial aid for college, business, graduate, law and medical school can be found here.
  • Financial Aid Shopping Sheet – Many colleges and universities have adapted a shopping sheet that provides personalized information on financial aid and net costs as well as general information on institutional outcomes — all in a standardized format. This tool provides an easy way to make clear comparisons among financial aid offers from different schools.
  • FinAid! – The SmartStudent Guide to financial aid.
  • GoCollege – The collegiate website for financial aid and scholarship information.
  • U.S. News & World Report: Paying for College – U.S. News offers tips and tools that can help students navigate through financial aid, student loans, grants, free money, 529 plans and overall financial planning.

Scholarships

  • Elk Grove Community Foundation – Scholarships only available to senior students in the Elk Grove Unified School District. The Elk Grove Community Foundation generates, manages, endows and distributes post secondary scholarships to the area’s youth.
  • Scholarships.com – An electronic database of scholarship opportunities for all students.
  • FastWeb – The premier online resource for paying and preparing for college.
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund – Scholarships geared for students of Hispanic descent.
  • CollegeScholarships.com – A scholarship search service helping students since 1995.

Scholarships

Scholarships can be a very helpful solution in solving financial aid challenges for incoming college students. They also require a significant amount of time devoted to research and completing applications. However, scholarships can provide a large payoff in the end if you prepare correctly.  Read on for more tips about scholarships.

Searching for Scholarships

  • Don’t wait until your senior year to start searching for scholarships.  There are many different types of scholarships – there are even scholarships for elementary school students!  If you wait until your senior year to start your research, you’ve waited much too long.
  • Make a list of your academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, jobs you may have held, career plans and unique attributes about you.  Also include what your parents do and who they work for.  This list will help you determine what scholarships you will be eligible for.
  • When using scholarship search engines (such as FastWeb or Scholarships.com), make sure you answer every single available question to ensure the most matches for potential scholarships.
  • Make sure you look for scholarships that might be offered in your area. Elk Grove Unified School District students are very lucky to have the Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation. The Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation provides post-secondary scholarships for local youth.  Click here to visit the Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation website.
  • Leave no stone unturned in your scholarship search!  Check your State Department of Education as well as colleges on your list.  Scholarships are everywhere – you can find them if you’re willing to look!

Applying for Scholarships

  • Once you have decided to apply for a scholarship, start working on your application early and don’t wait until the last minute.  Starting early will help ensure less mistakes on your application.
  • If your scholarship requires an essay, make sure you personalize your essay.  Scholarship committees are looking to get to know you and the essay portion of a scholarship application presents the perfect opportunity to highlight positive qualities about yourself.
  • Type your scholarship applications, if possible.  Typing your application ensures that your application will be legible.
  • Make sure you PRINT out a copy of your scholarship application to proofread before sending off your application.  Printing for editing purposes helps tremendously in catching more errors.  Also – be sure to have others – such as teachers, parents, other family members – proofread your essay.
  • Be sure to make a photocopy of your entire scholarship application packet before mailing it.  Send the application packet by certified mail so you can track it.

 Scholarship Resources

  • Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation – Scholarships only available to senior students in the Elk Grove Unified School District. The Elk Grove Regional Scholarship Foundation  generates, manages, endows and distributes post secondary scholarships to the area’s youth.
  • Scholarships.com – An electronic database of scholarship opportunities for all students.
  • FastWeb – The premier online resource for paying and preparing for college.
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund – Scholarships geared for students of Hispanic descent.
  • CollegeScholarships.com – A scholarship search service helping students since 1995.
  • Sixt Scholar Program – Founded in 2014, the Sixt Scholar Program offers five high school seniors graduating in 2017 the opportunity to receive a $5,000 scholarship and become a Sixt scholar.

FAFSA

You’ve finally finished all of your college applications and they are safely in the mail.  But guess what?  Your college application process still isn’t finished!  It is now time to begin the march towards obtaining financial aid to help pay for your college education.

If your parents are completely financing your college education, consider yourself to be one of the lucky ones!  But if you are like the majority of the college-going population, the financial aid process has only just begun.  Your journey will start with filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The FAFSA
Everyone who is applying for financial aid has to fill out the FAFSA.  This form is available in your school’s Career Center, your counselor’s office or online.  Although students can complete a paper FAFSA application, the FAFSA can be filled out online for faster processing.  Use a paper FAFSA application first as a rough draft, then fill out the online form.

Your FAFSA will help you determine your financial need – based on a college’s cost and your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).

Types of Financial Aid
There are many different types of financial aid out there.  Four of the most popular types of financial aid are:

  • Grants – Students do NOT have to repay grants.  They are typically given for athletics, academics, special talent, need-based, etc.
  • Scholarships – Students also do NOT have to repay scholarships.  Scholarships can be awarded for athletics, academic excellence or special talent.
  • Loans – These must be repaid.  There are two types of loans: federal loans and alternative loans.
  • College Work Study – Work study allows colleges to hire students for employment to pay their own way as they attend college.  You do not repay the money earned.

There are also two different types of student loans – federal and alternative loans.

  • Federal loans are guaranteed by the US government.
  • Alternative loans are guaranteed by private guarantee agencies.

California Colleges.edu Logo
CaliforniaColleges.edu
 provides students with an all-inclusive guide for their college and career paths and enables educators to track their progress. The platform also provides families with the tools they need to support their students as they navigate the college, career and financial aid planning processes.


 

College Choices

Choosing the right college or university is an important decision.  Parents and students should take time to explore all the different opportunities available to them.  The following information will help you better understand post-secondary choices and provide you guides as to the questions you should ask both yourself and the institutions that you are interested in.

Types of Schools

There are many types of colleges, universities and other post-secondary options to fit different career choices and student personalities.  High school students should begin early on to figure out what type of school they would like to attend.  The summary below will get you started.

Universities
Universities are typically larger than colleges.  They usually offer more majors, research facilities and graduate programs. Class size can be significantly larger.  It is not unusual for a graduate student to teach a class under the guidance of a professor.

Liberal Arts Colleges
Liberal arts colleges offer a broad base of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Most are private and focus mainly on undergraduate students. Classes tend to be small and students may have more interaction with their instructors.

Community Colleges
Community colleges offer a degree after the completion of two years of full-time study. They frequently offer technical programs that prepare you for immediate entry into the job market.  The Sacramento region is served by the Los Rios Community College District.  Los Rios has four campuses: American River College, Cosumnes River College, Folsom Lake College and Sacramento City College.

For students who plan to transfer to a four-year institution after completing their studies at a Los Rios school, each Los Rios campus offers Transfer Admission Guarantees (TAG) options.  The TAG program provides eligible students guaranteed admission to a UC campus college and academic term of choice, but not necessarily for impacted majors – if a student satisfies certain requirements for admission to a UC while at their community college.  Los Rios schools offer TAG options to seven University of California campuses – Davis, Irvine, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz – as well as to the University of the Pacific.  American River College also has TAG options with Bethany University, Golden Gate University, Humboldt State University and Santa Clara University.  Folsom Lake College offers TAG options with Golden Gate University, California State University, Monterey Bay and St. Mary’s College of California.

Although the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) does not offer a TAG option, Sacramento City College does participate in the Transfer Alliance Program with UCLA.  By completing five honors classes and maintaining a cumulative 3.2 grade point average, Sacramento City College has an 80 percent acceptance rate into UCLA.

Agricultural, Technical, and Specialized Colleges
Technical or vocational schools prepare students for specific careers.   A career college is a private or public institution that offers certifications and degrees in a variety of career-specific fields. Some of the most popular subjects and careers include:

  • Accounting
  • Art and Design
  • Automotive
  • Business Administration
  • Cosmetology
  • Court Reporting
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dental Assistant
  • Electrician
  • Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
  • Fashion Design
  • Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration
  • Hotel and Restaurant Management
  • Information Technology
  • Medical and Technical Careers
  • Nursing
  • Paralegal
  • Plumbing
  • Real Estate

Specialized Private Schools
Single-Sex
: All four-year public colleges and most private schools are co-ed. In terms of single-sex colleges, there are about 50 specifically for men and about 70 specifically for women. Some may enroll a few men or women.

Religiously Affiliated Colleges: Some private colleges are affiliated with a religious faith. The affiliation may be historic only or it may affect day-to-day student life.

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs): Some colleges in the United States were created for black students. They were founded at a time when African Americans were not allowed to attend most other colleges. Today, these colleges are known as historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs.  While HBCUs may recruit students of all ethnicities, black students are usually the biggest group on campus. This gives African Americans a unique opportunity to experience an educational community in which they are a part of the majority, often for the first time.

Hispanic-Serving Institutes: There are about 135 institutions designated by the federal government as “Hispanic-Serving.” At these schools, Hispanic students comprise at least 25 percent of the total full-time undergraduate enrollment.

Colleges and Universities

College Navigator
College Navigator is an interactive website that provides detailed information about different institutions, including programs and majors, admissions considerations and more.

Below are links to a variety of educational institutions including UC, CSU, California community colleges and private colleges.

California Colleges 
Learn about admission requirements, how to apply, and more for all higher education segments in California.

Cal State Apply (CSU System)
Link to the 23 state universities for information on admissions, campuses, majors and more.

CRC Program Exploration
Visit your local community college programs from this link.

University of California (UC System) 
This link provides you the opportunity to explore the 10 UC campuses, apply online, research majors and more.

Local Community Colleges
Click here to link to all the local community colleges within the Los Rios Community College District.

eCampus Tours
Features a 360 degree virtual college tours of over a thousand college campus.

Historically Black Colleges
Link to a list of prominent historically black colleges. You’ll find access to the common application, scholarships and schools.

CollegeWeekLive
CollegeWeekLive is the world’s largest college fair, with hundreds of colleges and universities from around the world and tens of thousands of students participating.

CSU and UC Admissions

Since the Class of 2003, the University of California and California State University systems agreed to adopt the same courses required for freshman admission – making it easier for high school students to prepare for admission to both systems.  High school course requirements are as follows:

  • History/Social Science (including 1 year of U.S. History or 1 semester of U.S. history and 1 semester of civics or American Government AND 1 year of social science) – 2 years
  • English – 4 years
  • Math – 3 years (4 years recommended)
  • Laboratory Science – 2 years
  • Language other than English – 2 years
  • Visual and Performing Arts (dance, drama/theater, music or visual art) – 1 year
  • College Preparatory Elective (chosen from the University of California A-G list) – 1 year

Students are also encouraged to earn a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better in the above courses with no grade lower than a C.

For students applying to a UC who are California residents – if a state resident student who has met the minimum requirements and isn’t admitted to any UC campus to which they apply, that student will be offered a spot at another campus if space is available, provided:

  • The student ranks in the top nine percent of California high school students – according to the UC admissions index, or
  • The student ranks in the top nine percent of their graduating class at a participating high school (referred to as “Eligible in the Local Context” (ELC)).

Validation of “D” grades in foreign language and math: Both UC & CSU require that applicants have a grade of “C” or better in each term of the required “a-g” courses except that a “D” grade may be validated with a higher grade in the second semester or the next higher level course in foreign languages and mathematics. Even though the course requirement has been validated, the “D” grade will still remain in the grade point calculation.

Validation of language other than English: Both  UC & CSU can validate the requirement for two years of language other than English with a first semester college level course in that language. The college course must show that the first semester of college study is equivalent to two years of high school study. Higher levels of either high school or college level language other than English courses can also validate lower levels of the same language courses.

Click here for more information about CSU admissions guidelines.
Click here for more information about UC admissions guidelines.

Degrees

Certificate or Diploma
These non-degree offerings can lead to employment in an occupational field. In EGUSD, several Explore Academies and Pathways programs offer them.

Associate’s Degree
Community/junior colleges offer Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees for two years of study, similar to what is offered through a four-year college. After earning an A.A. or an A.S., students may choose to transfer to a four-year college to complete the requirements for a bachelor’s degree. The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree is awarded on completion of technological or vocation programs of study.  Some careers, such as nursing, require only an associate degree.

Bachelors or Baccalaureate Degree
Colleges and universities offer four- or five-year, full-time programs of study (or its part-time equivalent). The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees are the most common.  Other colleges award very specific degrees, such as the Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.) or Bachelor of Architecture (B.Arch.).

Teacher Certification
Teachers are required to have a credential from the state that declares that they have completed certain mandated-requirements and have passed teaching examinations.  Each state has individual requirements for teacher certification.  All states require certificated teachers to have a bachelor’s degree.  To learn more earning a teaching credential in California visit: www.ctc.ca.gov/credentials/default-prospective.html.

Combined Bachelor’s/Graduate Degree (or Joint Degree)
A combined Bachelor’s/Graduate (or Joint Degree) are sometimes available at colleges and universities for students who wish to complete a bachelor’s degree and a master’s or first-professional degree in less than the usual amount of time. In most programs, students apply to the graduate program during their first three years of undergraduate study, and begin the graduate program in their fourth year of college.

Graduate Degree
After completing a bachelor’s degree, you may decide to pursue an advanced or graduate degree. In general, you can earn a master’s degree after studying for two more years. Studying for four years after getting your bachelor’s can earn you a doctoral degree. Many students go into the workforce after getting a bachelor’s degree and then return to college later to pursue a master’s degree, often one in a different subject area than their first degree.

Professional Degree
Earning a professional degree means completing the academic requirements to become licensed in a recognized profession. For example, if you want to be a doctor, lawyer, veterinarian or pharmacist, you’ll need a professional degree. These programs of study require at least two years of previous college work for entrance, and at least six years of total college work for completion.

College Fairs/Visits

College visits play an important role in finding a school where a student will be successful. College campuses vary greatly in size, location in a community, architecture, facilities and culture. College visits are especially important for students who are thinking about attending a school in a state or area that they’ve never lived in or if the school is far away from family and childhood friends.

To get the best feel for the school, it is best to visit when classes are in session. While visiting a campus it is important to talk to both college officials and current students. Most schools offer campus tours, often provided by a current student. Many also offer high school students the opportunity to stay the night in a dorm to truly experience campus life.

Before You Go

With so many schools to choose from it can be difficult to decide which ones to visit.  However, there are several resources available that can help you narrow the search.

Click on the university’s website – This may seem obvious, but you’ll want to take the “virtual tour” and fully explore the resources available on the college website. Some college websites offer online chats so you can talk with current students and admission officers.

Read the college’s printed material – Take a look at the printed material that colleges produce.  The course catalog can be especially helpful. It outlines the college’s philosophy and mission statement, as well as providing information about majors, course requirements and offerings. However, when reading the glossy brochures, keep in mind that the university representatives are seeking to portray their school in the best possible light.

Check out the student newspaper – You’ll find links to the college newspaper from the college’s own website. Pay special attention to the issues that seem important to students on that campus – would these be important to you? You’ll also learn about student peeves and activities on campus.

Take a campus tour via video  – At  It’s Nacho – YOUniversityTV.com you can view campus tours of various colleges. While none of these will substitute for a campus visit, they will help you learn more about the colleges you’re considering.

Visiting the College Campus

Step 1: Select a few local colleges to visit to get experience handling a college visit.

Select several (six or seven) campuses you are thinking about attending. Select public as well as private colleges. Then select a few local colleges to visit.  Remember that you are just looking at colleges and that private colleges provide more financial aid, in general, than public colleges and universities provide.

Our local colleges include five kinds of campuses:

  • UC – UC Davis
  • CSU – California State University, Sacramento
  • Private – University of the Pacific
  • Community College – American River College, Cosumnes River College, Folsom Lake College, Sacramento City College, Sierra College
  • Technical/Vocational – Heald College, International Academy of Design and Technology – Sacramento, University of Phoenix, Carrington College California, The Art Institute of California – Sacramento, MTI College, Anthem College, Kaplan College, DeVry University

Step 2: Plan ahead for your tours and visits.

Before you visit the campus, consider some of the options below and create questions in advance of your visit.

  • Schedule an interview in the admissions office, if available.
  • Review admissions requirements (tests, high school grades, etc.) and get a realistic view by looking at profiles of the previous freshman class.
  • Obtain a school calendar and fee schedule.
  • Investigate your academic program or major of interest.
  • Take a campus virtual tour.
  • Learn about the college (departmental strengths, research opportunities, facilities, parking, ease of registration, crime statistics, etc.)
  • Investigate types of student support available (academic, personal, psychological and physical) and special programs (education abroad, work-study, intercampus exchange, etc.)
  • Investigate career planning and placement programs. Determine the percentage of graduates who go on to higher education and admissions rates of medical/law/business school applicants. Also, ask about employment rates directly out of college, internship and recruitment programs.
  • If possible, meet with someone in your major department.
  • Stay overnight in a residence hall, if time permits.
  • See if the colleges offer a new student orientation.  The organized event can cover everything above.

Step 3: The College Visit/Tour

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions while visiting a campus!  Ask about the percentage of students who graduate in four or five years and the number of returning sophomores. Ask why students choose to leave, ask about the amount of study necessary for success.
  • Visit the library.
  • Ask about financial aid opportunities (deadlines, forms required, merit scholarships, percentage of students receiving aid, etc.)
  • Schedule a visit with a financial aid officer, if appropriate.
  • Meet with faculty. Determine whether professors or assistants teach undergraduate classes.
  • Talk with students. Ask what they like and dislike most about the college.
  • Sit in on one or two freshman classes – witness class size, teaching style, academic atmosphere, respect accorded to students and teachers, comfort level in classes, etc.
  • Find out how students use their out-of-classroom time.
  • Become aware of student activities (clubs, organizations, intramurals, etc.).
  • Inquire about campus life in terms of dating, social activities, fraternities/sororities, etc.
  • Check the residence halls and dining facilities. Envision yourself in the living environment. Try the food.
  • Check the adequacy of computer facilities and technology available.
  • Examine the surrounding community, determine what cultural and social enrichment opportunities are available and inquire about safety issues.

Step 4: Make a “Quick-Check” list for each college visit.

Making a “quick-check” list can be helpful when visiting multiple schools.  If you don’t, the schools will become a blur after visits to several campuses. You can include the following types of information to personalize your list:

  • Name of college, date of visit, address and phone number
  • Size of student body, tuition/fees and admission requirements
  • Personal ranking of location, academics, atmosphere, housing, facilities, class sizes, social life, reputation, financial aid, school size, size of surrounding community, religious affiliation, athletics, special programs, special services, sororities/fraternities, prestige, rigor of programs.

Sample Questions To Ask on College Tours

Questions to ask can be divided into four areas: academic, social, surroundings and general.

A. Academic Questions

  • Do professors teach most freshmen courses or do graduate students do much of the teaching?
  • What is the attitude of most professors toward students? Are they friendly? Accessible? Willing to give extra help?
  • How hard do you have to work to be successful? How open is access to advisors for assistance and/or mentoring?
  • How difficult is it to change majors?
  • Is the learning environment cooperative or competitive?
  • Does the school have adequate computer facilities?
  • Some colleges are doing a lot these days in the area of career counseling. How does this college stack up? (One college, for example, devotes certain weekends to exploration of different careers with graduates coming back to tell about what they do and talk about salary, advancements, etc.).
  • Is there a Career Planning and Placement Center on campus? How many graduates does it help place?
  • What percentage of graduates got jobs last year?
  • What percentage of graduates goes on to professional or graduate schools?

B. Social Questions

  • What do students do on the weekends? Do many of them go home? Is the campus lively or empty?
  • What is the situation with regard to drinking and drugs?
  • Are there good places to eat, aside from the official dining halls?
  • If the school is not co-ed, what kinds of social arrangements are made?
  • How important are fraternities and sororities in campus life? Does most social life depend on them?
  • Do theatrical companies, orchestras and other musical groups or outside lecturers come to the campus? If not, are such activities available in town?
  • Are groups in the college community involved in what’s going on in the outside world – politics, international relations, community service?

C. Questions about the Surrounding Area

  • For non-urban schools, find out what the surrounding community is like. How are relations between residents and students – the so-called “town-gown” relationship?
  • What’s the transportation like between campus and town?
  • Is any large urban area accessible?
  • For urban schools, how safe is the neighborhood? Is housing available in the surrounding area? Is adequate parking available on campus?

D. General Questions

  • What kinds of help are available – academic, personal, psychological?
  • How are personal problems handled?
  • What can you do if you dislike your roommate?
  • Are there a lot of rules and regulations on conduct, etc. that must be observed?
  • Are there special restrictions on freshmen?
  • How safe is the campus?
  • Always ask what students like most about the college. Dislike most?
  • Also ask, “What’s wrong with this place?” as well as, “What’s the greatest thing about this college?”
  • Finally, what is the general attitude toward students by the college admissions officers, registrar, residence hall managers, assistant deans and academic advisors?

Selecting a School

Deciding which colleges to apply to, much less which to attend is a significant life choice that will affect you for years.  What are your values?  What kind of environment do you want to live in?  These and other questions will help guide you to select the proper school.

Location
How far away from home would you like to go to school? 10 miles or 2,000 miles

Size of College
Would you prefer to attend a school with a large enrollment, (30,000 or more students) a small one, (around 1,500 students) or something in the middle?  How large would you like the physical size of the campus to be?

Environment
Would you rather attend a community college or other: 2-year institution, 4-year university, urban, suburban, or a rural school?  Is the location and size of the nearest city important to you?  Do you prefer a co-ed or single-gender school?  Does the school’s religious affiliation make a difference to you?

Admissions/Requirements
At what schools do you have a high enough GPA, class ranking, and test scores to be admitted?

Academics
Which schools offer the major(s) that you are considering?  What kind of student-faculty ratio and typical class size are you looking for, and which schools offer them?

College Expenses/Financial Aid
Does your college choice match your financial ability?  How expensive a school can you afford to attend?  Consider tuition, room and board, and other expenses including the application fee, deposits, etc.  How many students receive financial aid at the schools you are considering?

Housing/Facilities
Would you rather live on campus, in a dorm, or commute to school from home?  What type of academic, medical and recreational facilities should your college have?

Activities
What kind of clubs and organizations (including fraternities and sororities) do you want college to offer?  What types of athletic activities (including intramural teams) should be offered by the school you choose to attend?

Special Programs
Do you need a school with services or programs for the learning disabled?  Would you like to study abroad?  Do you plan to continue your ESL studies in college?  Are you looking for an honors program?


 

The College Application

It’s one of the most daunting tasks of the college preparation process – the college application.  Just one application can seem monumental and it’s recommended that students select five to eight colleges to apply to.

Helpful Tips

To help the application process go smoother, take a look at the helpful tips below:

  • Each college will have its own deadline for returning applications so make sure you read each application carefully.
  • Create a separate file for each college application – it will help you stay organized throughout the process.
  • It is generally recommended to begin the college application process in the summer before your senior year, since most students have more free time over the summer.
  • Select five to eight colleges to apply to.  Make sure you include schools you will definitely be accepted at (safety schools), schools you will probably be accepted at and schools that are less likely to accept you (reach schools).  Make sure that all of the schools you select are schools you would actually like to attend.
  • Online applications are quickly becoming a standard at most colleges across the U.S.  They are easier for colleges to process and many colleges waive the application fee for students who apply online.  Some colleges still accept paper applications so if you prefer this method, be sure to check with the college first.
  • Many colleges are also accepting the Common Application – a standardized first-year application form that students can use to apply to many colleges.  Currently, more than 4,000 colleges accept the Common Application.  There are both online and paper versions available.  Be sure to read the criteria for each college very carefully – some colleges may request additional materials when you apply.
  • Generally, students should not include extra, unsolicited material with their application.  Stick with the list of requested materials provided by a college.  Including extra items with your application can make you seem as if you cannot follow directions – a negative in college admissions.
  • Make sure you don’t catch senioritis!  Many schools can withdraw your acceptance if your grades drop drastically in the second half of your senior year.
  • It is recommended that you take the SAT twice – once in the spring of your junior year and once in the fall of your senior year.  Practicing for the test is recommended.  There are a variety of free and pay-for programs to help you prepare for the SAT.
  • Even if a school seems to be out of the price range your family can afford, you’re still encouraged to apply!  You won’t know which colleges your family can afford until you get an estimate based on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  This can be submitted in January during your senior year.  The FAFSA will determine what your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is and what types of aid you’ll qualify for at a college.

The Essay

When the college essay is required as a part of the admissions process, it is important to give serious effort to its composition. No other piece of admissions criteria probably receives as much attention or generates as much discussion. The college essay is the perfect opportunity to reveal your intelligence, sense of humor, maturity, sincerity, enthusiasm and writing ability.

Areas of Evaluation

In general, colleges look for the following:

  1. Skill in using standard written English
  2. Depth of insight as reflected in content and substance and ability to reflect true feelings or opinions about a subject
  3. Creativity and uniqueness evidencing fresh and original viewpoints

Essay Directions

Be careful to address what the directions request:

  1. Discuss something that has significantly contributed to your growth as a person.
  2. Assess your uniqueness as an individual; tell something about yourself not learned from other application information.
  3. Address your particular opinions or feelings on a specific topic.
  4. Reflect on your goals and aspirations by explaining how your education at that college will help you meet them.

Tips for Composing the Essay

Using these tips will help develop an essay that conveys your personal qualifications:

  1. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE TO WRITE YOUR ESSAY!
  2. Make lists of your qualities as you know them (particularly any you know the college seeks), aspirations and goals, activities, honors and awards, personal or academic shortcomings you are trying to overcome, persons or courses which have influenced you and any specific strengths of the college (if you know them) and how you wish to avail yourself of them.
  3. Do a little research about yourself by asking others. Interview your parents, friends and teachers about what they feel your strengths and weaknesses are.
  4. Write a draft, making sure to address the particular directions for discussion.
  5. Put your draft aside for 24 hours and read again.
  6. Make corrections in sentence construction, grammar, punctuation and spelling.  Read aloud what you’ve written to help you locate any rough spots you’ll wish to rework.
  7. If possible, let someone else, whose opinion you respect, read and evaluate your paper.
  8. Rewrite the essay, revising it with your evaluation in mind.  Put it aside again and repeat the process until you’re satisfied.
  9. Type your essay unless a handwritten version is requested.  Proofread again for any errors.  Make it look as perfect as you can.
  10. Make sure you save a copy for your own files.
  11. Follow the instructions for mailing your essay and do so on time!

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are an integral part of your college application packet.  Typically, most colleges ask for two to three letters of recommendation.  You can request letters of recommendation from people who know you both in and out of the classroom, such as a teacher, counselor, administrator, employer and/or clergy member.  Make sure you select people who know you well and can recommend you positively.  Be sure to read the application thoroughly – it will stipulate which letters are required (such as one letter from a teacher, one letter from a counselor, etc.) and which ones you can choose (such as a letter from a coach, clergy member, employer, etc.)

To ensure you obtain the best letters of recommendation possible, here are a few helpful hints to assist you along the way:

  • Personally ask the person who will write your recommendation and be sure to have a resume handy.  Ask this person to personalize your recommendation as much as possible.
  • Be sure to plan ahead and allow three to four weeks for the completion of your letter.  Refrain from requesting last minute recommendations.
  • If it applies, ask for your letter to be printed on letterhead stationery.
  • If the letter must include special requests – such as leadership, community service, fine arts, etc. – be sure to mention this to the person writing your recommendation.
  • Follow up with your recommendation contacts who are writing your letters about one week prior to your deadline to see if they need any additional information from you.
  • Most recommendation letters should be returned to either you or the scholarship counselor.  If instructions call for the letter to be sent directly to the sponsor, be sure to supply an addressed, stamped envelope.  Do not include a return address.
  • Do not send photocopies of a letter of recommendation.  Letters should include a current date, your most recent academic data and an original signature.

Be sure to thank these individuals formally, in writing for their time and effort.

Interviews

Although it is not required for admission at most colleges, the college interview can be your chance to shine.  The interview is only one of many factors in an admissions decision process, but if you give an impressive interview, your interviewer could be able to write a letter supporting your admission to a school.

The type of interview you’ll have varies from school to school.  Some schools have their admissions officers conduct interviews.  Other schools rely on alumni and current students to interview potential students.  A typical interview will last between 30 to 60 minutes.

Preparation

  • Research the college before the interview.  Visit their web site and request information from the college’s public relations department.  Information that can prove useful is the college’s size, its history, the main products and services they provide, and current news stories.
  • Prepare what you want to say in the interview.  Think about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, your most significant work or school experiences, your future plans and why you are interested in that particular school.
  • Be sure to rehearse with a mock interview.  Ask a friend or a family member help you prepare for your interview by asking questions.
  • Double-check the time and location of the interview.  If it is an area that is new to you, consult a map or take a drive there before so you know how to get there.

 Interview Day

  • Dress appropriately.  Don’t wear t-shirts and other casual clothing.  Look neat and presentable – and keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum.
  • Be punctual.  Arrive a little early to allow yourself time to relax and focus.
  • Be sure to listen carefully throughout the interview.  It is easy to spend all your time planning your answers, but keep in mind that this is a conversation.  Listening carefully helps you to respond appropriately.  Make eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Avoid generalities. Give concrete examples when describing your work/school experience and always be positive.
  • Demonstrate that you have thought seriously about this college by asking intelligent questions about the campus.  Draw upon your research about the college to ask relevant questions.
  • Be your own best advocate.  If there are special circumstances to discuss – such as a drop in grades – now is the time to explain.  Sometimes it is easier to explain these to a sympathetic counselor.

But most of all, be yourself – sense of humor and all!


Career Planning

At Elk Grove Unified School District we strive to prepare all students for the 21st century workforce through college and career preparation. EGUSD offers students a number of opportunities to explore career choices while still in high school. This section offers students assistance in researching careers.

Academies and Pathways

EGUSD offers over 70 career-themed academies and pathways within 15 industry sectors. While our academies and pathways focus in different industry areas, they all foster communication, collaboration, technical, and leadership skills through group work, field trips and mentoring opportunities.

Link to the Explore Academies and Pathways

Explore Career Technical Education

In addition to its academies and pathways, EGUSD offers over 70 career technical education programs that students can take as electives.

Link to the Explore Career Technical Education page to learn more.

 

Post-Secondary Alternatives

The links below will help you to explore post-secondary options including trade schools, studying abroad, Peace Corps, internships and summer jobs.

Trade Schools and Colleges 
Universities, Colleges & Trade Schools, the leading online education portal, lets you request information from education institutions across the US and Canada.

The Peace Corps
The Peace Corps challenges students to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries.

Amigos De Los Americas
Amigos is an international non-profit organization that provides community service opportunities for young people.

Summer Jobs
Offers summer jobs and seasonal staff positions with camps, amusement parks, resorts, national parks, hotels, environmental organizations and more.

CA Institute of Jewelry Training
the California Institute of Jewelry Training teaches the historic craft of jewelry making. Be apart of the beauty, culture and on going history of jewelry.

Study Abroad
A comprehensive directory of information on educational opportunities for students to study in other countries.

Disney World College Internship Program 
The Disney College Program team is proud to offer students from across the country the opportunity to participate in our one-of-a-kind Living, Learning and Earning experience.

Snag A Job
SnagAJob.com lists hourly paid jobs for summer job seekers. Enter your zip code and find a summer job.

The Art Institute of CA -Sacramento
Interested in the arts? Get the skills you need to help break into a career in the creative and applied arts by visiting our site.

CareerGPS
Makes career exploration in the Sacramento region easy and exciting! Provides individuals and organizations with one central location to find current, detailed information about which jobs are in high demand in the Sacramento Region, how much they pay, what type of education or training is recommended and where you can go to get it. All the information you need in one place!

The Army
Provides information and news about the United States Army.

The Navy
Provides information and news about the United States Navy.

The Air Force
Provides information and news about the United States Air Force.

The Marines
Provides information and news about the United States Marines.

The Resume

A resume is a brief description of your previous education, work experience, and additional relevant information.

The purpose of a resume is:

  • To introduce you to an employer
  • To serve as an example of how you think and express yourself
  • To catalog skills, experience, training and achievements

Remember your main objective is to include:

  • Name, address, city, state, zip, phone number with area code, e-mail address, fax number
  • Honors, awards, fellowships and scholarships
  • Licenses and certificates
  • Memberships and activities, including leadership positions
  • Special skills, such as computer knowledge and foreign languages
  • Job history listed with most recent job first
  • Previous job experience to include: title of position, name and address of employer, beginning and ending dates, job description and responsibilities
  • Education with most recent or current school first, including degree, name of high school or college, address, major and graduation date

Presenting the information

  • Create a scannable resume using white paper, standard fonts, and dark type
  • Put most important information at the top of the page
  • Be creative and professional
  • Use active verbs like initiated, designed, supervised and developed
  • Use past tense to describe former jobs and present tense to describe current jobs
  • Spell everything out.  Do not use abbreviations or acronyms.
  • Present candidates credentials in a positive manner
  • Tailor the resume to the kind of job you are looking for
  • Have someone proofread your resume

Qualities of a good resume            

  • Easy to read, concise
  • Professional.  Use a typewriter or computer to print your resume, making sure copies are neat and clean.  Mail your resume in good condition preferably in a large envelope.
  • Emphasize key points or expressions by using bold type or underline

Mistakes to avoid

  • Too short, too long (preferred length is one page)
  • Misspellings, typographical errors, poor grammar
  • Irrelevant information-height, weight, gender, marital status
  • Disorganization, too wordy and vague; important qualifications should stand out
  • Italics, underline, shadow or reverse type, vertical and horizontal lines, graphics or boxes

The Job Interview

Preparation

  • Learn about the company and the position.  Check out their website and request information from the company’s public relations department.  Information that can prove useful is the company’s size, its history, the main products and services they provide and current news stories.
  • Double-check the time and location of the interview.  If it is an area that is new to you, consult a map or take a drive there before so you know how to get there.
  • Prepare what you want to say in the interview.  Think about your greatest strengths and weaknesses, your most significant work or school experiences, your future plans and your ideal job.
  • Review your resume and think about how your experiences can be matched up with the job’s requirements.  Rehearse with a mock interview.

Interview Day

  • Dress appropriately.  Choose conservative clothing and keep jewelry and accessories to a minimum.
  • Be punctual.  Arrive a little early to allow yourself time to relax and focus.
  • Bring along extra copies of your resume and a pad of paper and pen.  Take notes on any interesting points or questions.  Your notes will come in handy when preparing for a second interview or writing a follow-up letter.
  • Be sure to listen carefully throughout the interview.  It is easy to spend all your time planning your answers, but remember this is a conversation.  Listening carefully helps you to respond appropriately.  Make eye contact with the interviewer.
  • Avoid generalities. Give concrete examples when describing your work/school experience.  Always be positive.  Don’t be critical of previous co-workers or bosses.  The way you talk about your former or current boss may be seen as an indication of how you will talk about your future boss.
  • Demonstrate that you have thought seriously about this career path and this company by asking intelligent questions about the position.  Draw upon your research about the company or ask about the working conditions, the chances for advancement and major projects your prospective job would entail.
  • Ask your interviewers for their business card(s) to ensure that you have the proper contact information when you follow-up.
  • Emphasize you are interested in taking the process to the next step and why you are the ideal candidate.

Be yourself (sense of humor and all) and you will be on your way to being hired!

EGUSD Career Centers

Every EGUSD high school has a career center that is staffed with trained and professional counselors and staff who are experts at guiding students towards college and careers.  High school career centers assist students and parents in making plans during and after high school.  The career center contains academic, career and personal/social information to assist students with their individual plans.

Tools in the Career Center

  • Computers. Each career center is equipped with computers to search the Internet for financial aid, college and scholarship information, occupational tools, study skills, job searches, college entrance testing resources and dates, apprenticeships, military resources, and any basic/thinking skills or personal qualities needed to be successful in the 21st century workplace.
  • Reference Library. Each career center is equipped with a reference library, categorized with reference books on college information, testing information, occupational information, and personal information. Some career centers have brochures, videos and CD’s.  (Videos and CDs are available at some schools.)
  • College Visitations. Visiting college representatives are scheduled at various times throughout the school year to interview and provide information to students who are interested in their academic institutions.

Counseling Department Assistance

  • The counseling department’s goal is to provide the student with information to help develop an educational plan, assist in employment techniques, offer career information, help students realize their goals and provide them with techniques that will have a productive influence in society.
  • They encourage visits to college and may assist in college interviews.
  • They present information to prepare students for the 4-year high school plan and offer a career planning guide and resume writing information.
  • They assist the student in their assessment of interests, goals and plans after high school.

College and Career Options

Explore Logo
The Elk Grove Unified School District’s Linked Learning program provides students with an educational experience that extends beyond the classroom and reaches into the future. We strive to guide each student in preparation for college and career.

Visit the College and Career Options page


 

College and Career Readiness

What does it mean for students to be truly college and career-ready?

With input from over 100 community members, a college and career ready graduate is prepared to successfully demonstrate six critical skills:

  1. Creative Problem-solving
  2. Technical Literacy
  3. Communication and Collaboration
  4. Self-Awareness, Self-Reliance, Self-Discipline
  5. Integrity
  6. Community Engagement
    Graduate Profile Graphic

 Download the EGUSD Graduate Profile
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  Learn more by visiting the College and Career Readiness page