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Independent Colleges

Independent Colleges and Universities

The Association of independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) is a great place to understand the benefits of attending a private college or university instead of a state school.  Each year the publish a guide with easy to see information.  Of course, there are great schools outside of California too!  Many families have questions about these schools.  Here are just a few myths the AICCU works to help students and families understand.

Myth #1: Private schools are too expensive
Reality: Since 2000, tuition costs have increased by 173% at CSU schools and 208% at UCs while AICCU tuition rates have only increased by 90%. Eighty percent (80%) of students at AICCU schools receive Institutional Grants to help pay for tuition. Overall, 86% of students at AICCU schools receive some type of aid.

Myth #2: Private schools are harder to get in to and you have to have very high grades
Reality: Most independent colleges and universities consider a number of factors other than grades. These factors can include: High School coursework, GPA, Entrance Test Scores (ACT/SAT), Essay, Activities/Community Service, Honors & Awards, Letters of Recommendation, Interviews/Auditions, etc.

Myth #3: The student populations aren’t diverse
Reality: AICCU member schools enroll students from every background and ethnicity. Minorities are the majority (57%) across AICCU schools.

Myth #4: It will take me longer to earn my degree
Reality: AICCU member colleges are very proud to have the highest graduation rates; where our students graduate at a rate of 12% higher than the UCs and 23% higher than CSU schools. In addition, class sizes are often smaller at AICCU schools leading to more direct student-faculty interaction, with the average student to faculty ration 12:1.

Common Application

The Common Application is a not-for-profit membership organization that, since its founding over 35 years ago, has been committed to providing reliable services that promote equity, access, and integrity in the college application process. They serve students, member institutions, and secondary schools by providing applications that students and school officials may submit to any of our over 500 members. 

Using the Common Application allows students to complete one main application that can be used for the majority of independent colleges and universities.

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Counselor Recommendation

When you apply to a private college or university, a secondary school report and letter of recommendation from your counselor is usually required.  

This packet of information is required by your counselor to complete this process for you.  Please note that this packet is required NO LATER than three weeks before your application is due.  

We want to write a great letter for you and it takes time! 

Counselor Recommendation Packet

Teacher Recommendation

In addition to a letter from your counselor, many application will require an academic recommendation.  Be sure to ask a teacher to complete this for you with plenty of time.  Here are some resources that may help you - always be sure to ask your teacher what they require!

Asking a teacher for a recommendation letter

Handout to help your teacher

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