Choosing a College

Over two million students enroll in a California college at more than 250 campuses, both private and public, each year. California offers a wide range of options-from community colleges to world-famous research institutions to small liberal arts and specialty colleges-and most students can find the perfect fit. The key is to consider your academic interest, what environment you learn best in, your career goals, and the ways in which you like to spend your free time.

Start by meeting with a guidance counselor at your high school. Explore AICCU member colleges, and be sure to follow the links to college websites and social media pages. Many schools provide online campus tours, but you should also pay particular attention to the admissions pages—these typically have a wealth of information not only about how to gain admission but also about degree programs, financial aid, and student life. Look for blogs by admissions officers and current students for an inside perspective on the college experience.

You should plan to attend a few college fairs, but also ask friends and family members about their college experiences. Finally, draw up a list of what you’re looking for in a school, and once you’ve narrowed down your choices, visit!

The independent school advantage

Choosing an independent college or university in California provides access to a rich diversity of students, residential campus life, and alumni/ae networks that can provide lifelong benefits after you graduate.

Explore the breadth of offerings at AICCU’s 78 member colleges and universities, and don’t let the sticker price of college deter you from the school of your choice. California’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities offer scholarships and grants from their own institutional resources, access to federal and secondary grant and loan programs, work-study opportunities, a variety of tuition payment plans, and other ways to help students pay for college. For more information, see Affording College. Also, check out the links below and the information links on other student pages.

Other Helpful Links:

American Student Assistance

Campus Tours

The College Board

College Week Live