College Contacts

2018 is an exciting year for education as most public and private not-for-profit colleges and universities in California are incorporating online degree programs. Knowing that students and families are faced with trying to figure out the best educational route to take, has refocused their site and its resources to provide an investigative review of the online education landscape and critically evaluate the best program available, from quality to affordability. Most importantly, they have provided scholarship information that students can leverage to help finance their education.

You can see the entire guide along with some of its features here:

college visits

The importance of student visits to their prospective colleges cannot be over emphasized. The junior year is an excellent time to make college visits.


How to Make a Visit

Contact the admissions office several weeks ahead of time. They will often refer you to a person or department that deals with visits. You could also go to the campus website for campus visit information. Most colleges have “preview days” or “open houses.” Attending these can give you a good overall view of what the college has to offer. However, to get more detailed information, it is best to schedule an appointment through the admissions or outreach office.

Making the Most of Your Visit

  • Research the college using their website and/or catalog. It is always useful to know some specifics about the school ahead of time. It can help focus on what you want to learn about the college and can facilitate good questions.
  • Bring an official transcript with you.
  • Find out the average GPA and SAT/ACT test scores for entering freshmen.
  • Ask if they have an Honors program and the criteria used to place students in that program. Students in Honors programs often have priority registration and housing. Their class sizes are sometimes much smaller and are taught by their top professors.
  • Try to meet with a member of the department your student is interested in majoring in. This can often be a key factor when trying to decide between colleges that you are very interested in.
  • Visit the library.
  • Visit a dorm. Try to have lunch there. Try to stay there if visiting over night. This will give you a good idea of the general living environment.
  • Visit the Student Union. Talk to students regarding their experiences regarding class registration, quality of instruction, school safety, social activities, etc.
  • Check out extracurricular activities or sports that match your interests.
  • Visit the Career or Job Placement Center. Find out information regarding companies that recruit there and general information about job placement after graduation.
  • Visit the Financial Aid Office. Find out information about scholarships and the percentage of students receiving financial aid.
  • Write a thank you note to the person that gave you or organized your visit and to the member of the department you conversed with.

 More information about Campus Visits:


RECOMMENDED WEBSITES FOR COLLEGE EXPLORATION - Official source for college and career planning in California - "Big Future" College Board College Exploration - California State University website - California Community Colleges Information - University of California website - Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities - One-stop Career and College Planning Website - The #1 Resource for College Majors Information - get comparisons of net price, graduation rates, average college debt, loan-default rates, and graduate earnings - Take the Free quiz to create your customized pathway to college and career readiness - Historically Black College and Universities - Information on college search and selection, test preparation, and financial aid. Petersons offers online services for essay editing and instruction. - college sites with virtual tours - Online Associate Degrees - Finding the Best Online Community Colleges



Your high school years are supposed to be fun, but putting effort into your schoolwork and extracurricular experiences can prove beneficial and less stressful when applying to your choice colleges.  Although simple, he following steps are extremely important!

  1. Work hard for good grades.
  2. Enroll in challenging courses.
  3. Spend time preparing for the college entrance exams (SAT or the ACT and SAT Subject Tests).
  4. Polish your writing skills.
  5. Establish relationships with teachers and advisors who can write strong letters of recommendation for you.
  6. Get involved in activities, community service, or work experiences that will enable you to display your values, talents, and skills.

(Princeton Review's The Best 376 Colleges, 2012 Edition)


The process of choosing a college can be overwhelming? Below are a few suggested tips provided from the College Board website -

Identify Your Priorities

Think about who you are and what you're looking for in a college. Make a list of what's most important to you - here are some things to consider

  • Affiliation - Public or Private? Independent or Religion Affiliated?
  • Size of the Student Body - Size will affect many of your opportunities and experiences, including: Range of academic majors offered, Extracurricular activities, Amount of personal attention you'll receive, When considering size, look beyond the raw number of students attending; a large school may offers some smaller departments or learning communities. Investigate not just the ratio of faculty to students, but how accessible faculty are.
  • Location - Do you want to visit home frequently, or do you want to experience a new part of the country? Perhaps you want a city or urban location with access to museums, major league sports, or ethnic foods. Or maybe you prefer easy access to the outdoors or the culture of a small college town?
  • Campus Life - Consider what life will be like beyond the classroom. Aim for a balance between academics, activities, and social life. Consider what extracurricular activities, athletics, and special interest groups are available? Does the community around the college offer interesting outlets for students and are students welcomed by the community? Think about the geographic, ethnic, racial and religious diversity of the students. How do fraternities and sororities influence campus life? How are dorms assigned? Is Housing guaranteed - and for how many years?

Research Colleges

  • Academic Programs - If you know what you want to study, research reputations of academic departments by talking to people in the fields that interest you. If you are undecided, relax and pick an academically balanced institution that offers a range of majors and programs.
  • Athletic Programs - If you are an Athlete, which sports are offered and what Division?
  • Accreditation - Accreditation is a voluntary process of review and self-regulation by members of an accrediting agency. Accreditation ensures that the institution meets the basic standards of that particular Agency in their administrative procedures, physical facilities and the quality of their academic programs. There are many regional and national accrediting agencies with varying standards. Colleges accredited by an agency recognized by the US Department of Education meet the basic standards for college-level study, their students can apply for Federal Financial Aid and/or federal education tax breaks, and the degree you will earn at the end of your studies will be recognized by future employers.
  • Admission Requirements - Required Course work, Tests, GPA?
  • Selectivity - How many students apply each year and how many are accepted? What are the average GPA and Test Scores for those accepted?
  • Retention and Graduation Rates - Learn the percent of students who return after the first year and the percent of entering students who remain to graduate. Comparatively good retention and graduation rates are indicators that responsible academic, social, and financial support systems exist for most students.
  • If the Campus or Major is impacted due to overcrowding, what is the likelihood of getting the courses I need and what is the projected time required to complete the degree program?
  • What is the school's policy regarding Advanced Placement high school courses?
  • As a freshman, will I be taught by Professors or Teaching Assistants?
  • Is the surrounding community safe?
  • Can I Afford this College? Today's college price tags make cost an important consideration for most students. Most colleges work to ensure that academically qualified students from every economic circumstance can find financial aid.

Attend College Fairs - Pick up catalogs and brochures, talk to representatives and other students, and feel like you're officially starting the search process.

Attend "College Preview Days" or "Open House" Events and Information Nights - Generally held in the Fall (for seniors) and Spring (for Juniors), these events provide prospective students and parents the opportunity to obtain information and get answers to questions about institutions, their admissions process, financial aid, programs and much more. Preview Days and Open House Events are held at the individual campuses. Information Nights are generally held at a location (such as a Hotels, Public Libraries and Selected High School Campuses) and typically are given by Colleges and Universities located outside of our region or state. Many of the Information Nights are held in the Sacrament and San Francisco areas.

View College Websites and Guidebooks - These resources provide a wealth of information about majors and programs offered, activities, campus life and often Virtual Campus Tours.

Attend Presentations by visiting Admissions Representatives in the Sheldon Career Center - See Ms. Hobart in the Career Center for a calendar of which campuses will be visiting Bear Creek. Presentations generally begin in late September and continue through early November.

Schedule Campus Visits - You've heard the old saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words." Well, a campus visit is worth a thousand brochures. Nothing is better than visiting and walking around a campus to get a feel for it. Campus visits are a chance to see the campus and its dorms, libraries, and other facilities in person, talk to admissions officers, observe classes, talk to students about student life (clubs, fraternities, sororities, etc), and much more. Visiting may even make you think of needs you didn't know you had.