Sunday, September 21, 2014

College corner: Time for the college application season rally cry


From page A9 | October 30, 2012 |

Everywhere I go these days, I see acute signs of “application-itis.” You may have noticed the symptoms in many high school seniors and their families … that fatigued, overwhelmed look of heightened stress that students — and parents — suffer while in the midst of the college application process. There’s a common panic in their voices. Their main concern? How to survive this college application season and make sure they get into a college they want to attend.

I admit it can be a worrisome condition, but as is the case with many unpleasant situations, a healthy dose of useful information and some perseverance is key.

To stave off application-itis, students need to know the requirements and deadlines for the colleges to which they are applying; then, just get those applications done!

I say “students” because it is crucial that high school seniors take ownership of their application process, and not rely on Mom and Dad. Not only is this the best way to ensure an outcome that is a good fit, but it’s good practice for how to be a successful college freshman.

So, high school seniors, here’s the rally cry … Muscle through this application season and achieve your college goals! Parents of high school seniors, here’s your rally cry … Let your children lead the way through this process.
Now that we’re all ready, here are some timelines and tips to guide you.

Meet the four main types of college applications

First, it’s important to be familiar with the four main types of applications you might face this season.

* California community colleges: Grades and test scores do not determine eligibility; no essay is required. Apply online to most campuses at There is no application fee.

* California State University: There is essentially one application to fill out online at; once there, check off all campuses to which you want to apply. Input classes taken and test scores; there is no essay or letters of recommendation. Application fee is $55 per campus.

* The University of California: This is a comprehensive application. Fill it out online at and indicate each campus to which you want to apply. List classes taken, test scores, activities and awards. Two SAT subject tests are “recommended,” which means take them if possible. The two short essays have a combined 1,000-word maximum. Application fee is $70 per campus.

Private and out-of-state schools: Many of these schools (about 400) use the Common Application at It requires the same details as the UC’s application, along with two letters of recommendation and a different essay. Most schools have “supplemental forms” that must be completed as well. Application fees vary by schools.

Deadlines vary. (See box). Fee waivers for application costs are available to students who qualify.


Tips to survive “Application-itis” 

Now that you have a sense of what’s expected for the different types of applications, here are some tips to help you be more effective:

* Set up a college email account. Check often so you don’t miss deadlines. Colleges do not look favorably on students who miss deadlines.

* Create accounts at online application sites. Start early. Have on hand a copy of high school transcripts, test score results, social security numbers (as appropriate) and a figure for family income.

* Make sure to enter everything correctly! Have someone else double-check before submitting it. Mistakes can cause disqualification or admissions offers being rescinded. Once you hit submit, you cannot change a thing.

* Submit early! Do not take the chance that the system could have problems and you are unable to submit on time.

* Check schools’ websites to make sure your choice for a major isn’t impacted. Engineering often is impacted.

* For UC essays, answer the questions and get to the point. Tell them details and facts about yourself that aren’t in the rest of your application. Here’s a good overview of what to do: Use the “Additional Comments Box” on the UC application if you need to explain an extenuating circumstance such as a not-so-stellar grade.

* For common application essays, make sure your unique voice shows through; it should not come across as a résumé. Use specific examples and descriptive words. Get the attention of the admissions officer who may have read 50 essays that day. A helpful book for essay writing is “Do-It Write,” by G. Gary Ripple.

* For letters of recommendation, ask teachers from core subjects … the more recent the teacher the better.

* Always keep a hard copy of everything you submit.

* Be honest. Do the application yourself; colleges can detect adult involvement.


Stay strong and enjoy applying yourself during this application season. Take heart and remember there is a college out there for everyone! Good luck to all.

— Jennifer Borenstein is an independent college adviser in Davis and owner of The Right College For You. Her column is published on the last Tuesday of the month. She lives in Davis with her husband and two daughters. Reach her at, or visit

Application deadlines

California community colleges: Check individual schools for exact dates. Usually apply February of senior year
CSUs: Due Oct. 1 through Nov. 30
UCs: Due Oct. 1 through Nov. 30
Private schools and out-of-state colleges: Depends, but most are due by mid-January



Jennifer Borenstein



Elementary school counselors: necessary, but poorly funded

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Bet Haverim hosts High Holy Day services

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1

Teams assess damage as wildfire burns

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

Driver arrested for DUI after Saturday morning crash

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Help raise funds for juvenile diabetes cure

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Jewelry, art for sale at Senior Center

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Davis Community Meals needs cooks

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Send kids to camp!

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Da Vinci awarded $38,000 for restorative justice program

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Hawk Hill trip planned Sept. 30

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

UC campus chancellors granted hefty pay raises

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Outdoor yoga marathon celebrates community

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Wise words

By Sue Cockrell | From Page: A12



Awareness is key to this fight

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

Where is this going?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A6

We’re living in the Golden State of emergency

By Debra DeAngelo | From Page: A6

Options for protection come with flu season

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Are we there yet? Not enough hours in the day to goof off

By Tanya Perez | From Page: A6Comments are off for this post

Archer will get my vote

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

It’s time for Davis Scouts to stand up for what is right

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A10

Mike Keefe cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

Building something at schools’ HQ

By Our View | From Page: A10

Don’t sell city greenbelt

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Paso Fino project is flawed

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Paso Fino — it’s not worth it

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

Speak out

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A11

Maybe David can beat Goliath again

By Lynne Nittler | From Page: A11 | Gallery



DHS gets on its Morse to beat Edison

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

JV Blue Devils drop low-scoring affair

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B2

Wire briefs: Giants rally falls short in San Diego

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Four local swimmers qualify for Olympic Trials

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B3

Republic FC’s fairy tale season continues

By Evan Ream | From Page: B3 | Gallery

‘We’re a way better team’ than record, says UCD’s Shaffer

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B4 | Gallery

UCD roundup: Aggie men pound Pomona-Pitzer in the pool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B4

Davis 15-year-old making a splash in European F4 series

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B8 | Gallery





‘Ladies Foursome’ adds shows

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3



UCD grad’s startup earns kudos at TechCrunch event

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

Styles on target for November debut

By Wendy Weitzel | From Page: A7

MBI hires VP of marketing

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Taylor Morrison unveils new Woodland community next weekend

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Rob White: What is an ‘innovation center’?

By Rob White | From Page: A9





Comics: Sunday, September 21, 2014

By Creator | From Page: B8