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Planning For College

Starting Out

  • Meet with your school counselor at least annually.
  • All high school academic years (and some middle school) count towards college freshman admissions consideration. The 10th through 12th grade years have the greatest impact.
  • Finish your senior year strong with academics, leadership and community services.
  • Take challenging courses and strive for A and B letter grades.
  • Develop a four year resume of non-academic activities, such as volunteer work, community service, extra-curricular activities, employment, awards & honors, and participation in leadership. Include in the resume years involved in each activity, the company or person/person’s that the student was supervised by, and specific information about each activity. Revise the resume your senior year, and use it when requesting letters of recommendation, to present at college admissions interviews, to send to private colleges, and when writing the college admissions essay (when appropriate).
  • Develop a filing system of all college admissions resources.
  • Start talking with the student about colleges at an early age. Discuss careers, jobs, the student’s interests, skills and abilities.

Key Elements for College Admissions

  1. Transcript –Developing a strong competitive transcript during the high school years matters during the admission process, regardless of whether the student intends to apply to a four year college as a freshmen or transfer from a community college as a junior.
  2. Testing – College readiness exams including SAT I, ACT, SAT Subject test, CLEP, Advanced Placement, Accuplacer and EAP.
  3. Extracurricular activities, leadership, community service and employment experience matter in the college admissions process and provide a clearer picture of the student beyond academic performance.
  4. Essays – many colleges require essays as part of the college admission process. A well written essay is a good indication of student’s writing ability and provides the college with additional information about the student.
  5. Interviews – not all colleges request an interview of students, however many private colleges still do. Students should research and practice good interview skills prior to their interview appointment.

Choosing the Best Courses and Curriculum

At Springs Charter Schools there are several options for course selection for college bound students

  • A-G Courses are approved by the University of California as meeting the expected content and rigor for California college bound students. UC sets a high standard and students enrolled in A-G courses with grades of B or higher will be well prepared for most college.
  • SCS offers a selection of Advanced placement courses.
  • Community college courses

College Bound Sequence of Courses

In general, high school students should follow the UC/CSU A-G sequence of courses for college admission. It is important to note that these are minimum requirements and most impacted and competitive college require students to exceed the minimum expectations:

Subject Area

Required Number of Years

Preferred Number of Years

History/Social Science









Laboratory Science



Visual and Performing Art


Foreign Language




Based on CSU/UC Freshman Admission
Note: Above is a sample curriculum. The school counselor can help determine specific courses required to support the high school student’s goal.

Course Selection for Advanced College Bound Students

  • Students advanced in mathematics may have completed A-G Algebra I (or higher) in middle school. Colleges expect students to continue taking advanced mathematics courses in high school, exceeding minimum requirements, up to Calculus.
  • Springs’ counselors encourage advanced college bound students to take community college courses as concurrently enrolled students (enrolled at both the community college and high school).
  • High school students requesting approval for concurrent enrollment must have demonstrated successful completion of coursework at the A-G level (receiving A and B grades).
  • High school students must demonstrate successful completion of community college courses (grade of C or higher), in order to remain eligible for concurrent enrollment.
  • All concurrent enrollment courses require approval from the guidance department. Students and parents are responsible for all application and enrollment procedures required by the individual college to which the student is applying to.

GPA Calculations & Weighted Grades for College Admissions

GPA calculations are determined by the individual college based on eligible courses that meet freshman admissions requirements. Parents and students should research the college’s policy and procedures about GPA calculations for freshman admission. Information is available on the college web site or by contacting their admissions offices. Community college courses that meet college admissions requirements may be calculated as “weighted” courses. Weighted courses are calculated on a 5.0 point scale (all others are on a 4.0 scale)

The High School Transcript

From the University of California website (specific transcript considerations may vary for CSU and private colleges and universities)

  • All completed eligible courses must have both a letter grade and completed units. Make certain that student transcripts are accurate prior to being sent to the college or university. Grade, unit and course changes that occur after the admissions evaluation will not be considered.
  • Language other than English (LOTE) and UC approved math courses that are completed successfully in the seventh and eighth grades will be considered if they are on the high school transcript and show letter grades and units.
  • LOTE and UC approved math courses that are successfully taken in middle school are not calculated into the GPAs Ninth grade courses are not factored into the GPA.

In general, student’s transcripts should indicate an ongoing progression of higher levels of course work and grade accomplishment as the high school student progresses towards their senior year.

  • Sophomore and Junior years are most significant.
  • Students are advised to “finish academically strong” in their senior year.
  • Admissions to college are often contingent on courses and grades completed during the eighth semester transcript.
  • Seniors are advised to attempt challenging coursework and maintain high grades during their senior year.

For more information about getting to college from River Springs Charter School, please refer to “Getting to College from Springs Charter Schools, a Guide for Parents and College Bound Students.”


For additional resources for college bound students, please click here.


The small, flexible classrooms and interesting classes prepare the kids to take a leadership role in the 21st century.

- Parent
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