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College Planning

Letters of Recommendation

College Visits

We currently have no upcoming college visits.

College visits are a great time to meet one-on-one with a representative from colleges that interest you to get all your questions answered about college life, applications, classes, and more!

Be sure to get a pass from the guidance office the day before a meeting if it occurs during class time.

College Planning Grade 12


  •  Narrow your list of colleges to 5 to 10.  Meet with a counselor about them and, if you've not yet done so, download college applications and financial aid forms.  Plan to visit as many of these colleges as possible.
  • Create a master list or calendar that includes:
    • tests you'll take and their fees, dates, and registration deadlines.
    • college application due dates.
    • financial aid application forms required and their deadlines.  (Note: Aid applications may be due before college applications.)
    • other materials you'll need (recommendations, transcripts, etc.).
    • your high school's own application processing deadlines.
  • If you can't afford application or test fees, a counselor can help you request a fee waiver.
  • If you have not had your test scores sent to the college to which you are applying, be sure to contact the College Board or ACT to have your scores sent.


  • Try to finalize your college choices
  • Prepare Early Decision, Early Action, or rolling admissions applications as soon as possible.
  • Ask for counselor or teacher recommendations if you need them.  Give each teacher or counselor an outline of your academic record and your extracurricular activities.  For each recommendation, provide a stamped, addressed envelope, and any college forms required.
  • If you're submitting essays, write first drafts and ask teachers and others to read them.  If you're applying for Early Decision, finish the essays for that application now.
  • If you have not had your test scores send to the college to which you are applying, be sure to contact the College Board or ACT to have them sent.


  • November 1-15: For Early Decision admissions, colleges may require test scores and applications between these dates.
  • Complete at least one college application by Thanksgiving.
  • Counselors send transcripts to colleges.  Give counselors the proper forms at least two weeks before colleges require them.


  • As you finish and send your applications and essays, be sure to keep copies.
  • If your college wants to see seventh-semester grades, be sure you give the form to your counselor.


  • If you apply to colleges online, be sure to have your high school send a transcript--it goes to colleges separately, and by mail.


  • No senioritis, please!  Accepting colleges do look at second-semester senior grades.


  • Keep active in school.  If you are wait-listed, the college will want to know what you havea accomplished between the time you applied and learned of the decision.


  • You should receive acceptance letters and financial aid offers by mid-April.  If you've not done so yet, visit your final college before accepting.  As soon as you decide, notify your counselor of your choice.
  • If you have questions about housing offers, talk to your counselor or call the college.


  • May 1:  Colleges cannot require a deposit or commitment to attend before May 1.  By that postmarked date, you must inform every college of your acceptance or rejection of the offer of admission and/or financial aid. (Questions? Talk to your counselor.)
  • Send your deposit to one college only.
  • Wait-listed by a college?  If you will enroll if accepted, tell the admissions director your intent and ask how to strengthen your application.  Need financial aid?  Ask whether funds will be available if you're accepted.
  • Work with a counselor to resolve any admissions or financial aid problems.


  • Ask your high school to send a final transcript to your college.


Source:  The College Board

College Planning Grade 11


  • Start with you:  Make lists of your abilities, social/cultural preferences, and personal qualities.  List things you may want to study and do in college.
  • Learn about colleges.  Look at their Websites ( has links).  Talk to friends, family, teachers, and recent grads of your school now in college.  List college features that interest you.
  • Resource check:  Visit the counseling office and meet the counselors there.  Is there a college night for students and families?  When will college representatives visit your school?  (Put the dates in your calendar.)  Examine catalogs and guides. (A complete list of college visitations to Tesoro High School can be found here.)
  • Make a file to manage your college search, testing, and application data.
  • If appropriate (for example, if you're interested in drama, music, art, sports, etc.), start to gather material for a portfolio.
  • With your family, start to learn about financial aid.  Read the Department of Education's Funding your Education(about federal aid programs). Use Getting Financial Aid published by the College Board and the financial aid calculator ar to estimate how much aid you might receive.


  • Make a family appointment with your counselor to discuss ways to improve your college-preparation and selection processes.
  • Sign up to take the SAT® and/or ACT at least once in the spring and again next fall.  Register online or through your school.  Fee waivers are available for students with financial need.  to prepare, download practice booklets from (for the SAT) or from (for ACT).
  • Begin a search of financial aid sources.  National sources include the College Board Scholarship Handbook and electronic sources.  Don't overlook local and state aid sources (ask a counselor or check your public library).
  • Ask a counselor or teacher about taking the SAT Subject Tests™ in the spring.  You should take them while course material is still fresh in your mind.  You can download "Taking the SAT Subject Tests," which offers test-prep advice, from
  • If you're in Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) classes, register for AP Exams, given in May.  You can earn college credit for courses not given in the AP Program by taking CLEP® tests at a college test center. to learn more.


  • Visit some local colleges--large, small, public, and private.  Get a feel for what works for you.  Attend college fairs, too.
  • Scan local newspapers to see which civic, cultural, and service organizations in your area award financial aid to graduating seniors.  Start a file.
  • Develop a list of 15 or 20 colleges that attract you.  Reqest viewbooks and information about financial aid and academic programs that interest you.  Visit come colleges over your spring break.
  • If you are considering military academies or ROTC scholarships, contact your counselor before leaving school for the summer.  If you want a four-year ROTC scholarship, you should begin the application process the summer before your senior year.


  • If you are an athlete planning to continue playing a sport in college, register with the NCAA Clearinghouse.
  • Find a full-time or part-time job, or participate in a camp or summer college program.
  • Visit colleges.  Take campus tours and, at colleges you're serious about, make appointments to have interviews with admissions counselors.
  • Creat a résumé--a record of accomplishments, activities, and work experiences since you started high school.
  • Download applications (or request paper copies) from colleges to which you'll apply.  Check application dates--large universities may have early dates or rolling admissions.


Source:  The College Board

College Planning Grade 9/10

It may seem early to start thinking about getting your child ready for college, but it really isn't -- important groundwork should take place in ninth and tenth grade.  Here's a list to help you make sure your child is on the right track:


Grade 9

  1.  Create a four-year hight school plan.  Once your child is settled into ninth grade, introduce the idea of preparing an overall plan for high school that relates to his or her goals.
    1. Make sure you and your child know what high school courses are required by colleges.
    2. Map out when these courses should be taken.
    3. Familiarize yourself with the various levels of courses offered by your child's school.
  2. Start your child thinking about careers.  Encourage your child to develop a tentative career goal.  Of course it will change--often--but it's the thought process that counts.
    1. Help your child to identify interest--likes and dislikes--not just in academics but in all areas.  This will help your child focus on goals.
    2. Encourage your child to discuss career options with others, such as the school counselor, teachers, recent college graduates who are working, professionals in the community, etc.
  3. Suggest extracurricular activities.  Encourage your child to actively take part in a sport, school club, misc or drama group, or community volunteer activity.
    1. Remember that colleges would rather see real involvement in one activity than a loose connection to several activities.
    2. If your child may want to play sports in college, research the National College Athletic Association eligibility requirements. The CNAA requires completion of certain core courses; you can find the specifics at
  4. Meet with the school counselor.  The school counselor knows how to help your child get the most out of high school.  Make sure your child has an opportunity during the school year to discuss post-high school plans with the school counselor.
    1. You should participate in this meeting, too.
  5. Save for college.  It's still not too late to start a college savings plan, if you haven't already .  Every little bit helps!
    1. Investigate state financial aid programs and 529 plans.


Grade 10

  1. Meet with the school counselor--again.  Make sure your child meets with his or her school counselor to ensure that he or she is enrolled in college-preparatory courses.
    1. Check to see that your child is taking any prerequisites to advanced-level junior-and-senior-year courses.
  2. Is your child interested in attending a U.S. military academy?  If so, he or she should request a precandidate questionnaire and complete it.
  3. Attend college and career fairs.  These often take place in the fall, at your school, or in your area.
  4. Support your child's participation in a school activity or volunteer effort.  Extracurricular activities help students devlop time-management skills and enrich the school experience.
  5. Tour college campuses.  If possible, take advantage of vacation or other family travel opportunities to visit colleges and see what they're like.
    1. Even if there is no interest in attending the college you are visiting, it will help your child learn what to look for in a college.


Source:  The College Board

CSU Applications

CSU (California State University) Application Window for fall 2017 Opens October 1!

Seniors planning to apply to one of the 23 California State University (CSU) campuses for fall 2017 admission may begin working on their applications through CSU Mentor starting October 1st.  The window for application submission will be open from October 1, 2017 until November 30, 2017. CSU encourages students to apply early! 


To apply to CSU students must:

DHHS High School CEEB Code 050-729

  1. Obtain an unofficial copy of your high school transcript from the student or parent portal to be used to self-report your classes and grades on your CSU application. 
  2. Complete CSU application and application fee for each CSU campus online at Application window opens on October 1 and closes on November 30. Application fee is $55.00 per campus. Don’t delay; apply early! 
  3. Contact College Board or ACT to have your SAT I or ACT test scores sent to the CSU campuses to which you've applied.
  4. Contact College Board/AP Central to have our AP scores sent to all CSU campuses to which you've applied.
  5. Send official transcripts ONLY when directed to do so.  CSU will determine your grade point average based on the classes and grades you self-report during the application process. The CSU campus which you commit to attend will prompt you to send an official transcript upon graduation from high school.
  6. CSU does not require letters of recommendation or a college essay.

UC Applications

UC (University of California) Window for fall 2017 opened August 1 for students to begin working on their applications. The application submission window opens November 1!


Seniors planning to apply to one of the 9 University of California (UC) campuses for fall 2017 admission should begin working on their applications now.  Although students can begin to work on their application, the window for application submission will be open from November 1, 2017 through November 30, 2017. 


To apply to UC students must:

DHHS CEEB Code 050-729

  1. Obtain an unofficial copy of your high school transcript from parent portal to be used to self-report your classes and grades on your UC application. 
  2. Complete the UC application, write your college essay, and pay your application fee online at  Complete one UC application for all campuses to which you are applying. Application fee is $70.00 per campus. Application window will be open from August 1 through November 30. You can start your application now, but cannot submit it until Nov. 1.
  3. Contact College Board or ACT to have your SAT I, SAT II, or ACT test scores sent to all UC campuses to which you've applied.
  4. Contact College Board/AP Central to have your AP scores sent to all UC campuses to which you've applied.
  5. Send official transcripts ONLY when directed to do so. UC will determine your grade point average based on the classes and grades you self-report during the application process. The UC campus which you commit to attend will prompt you to send an official transcript upon graduation from high school.
  6. UC does require college essays. The prompts will be presented as part of the application.
  7. UC does not require letters of recommendation.
  8. When completing your application be sure to select your guidance counselor as your "counselor" NOT "advisor" when selecting your recommenders. 

Private/ Independent University Applications

To apply to private/independent University students must: 

DHHS CEEB Code 050-729

  1. Note that application deadlines for private universities will vary by institution. Students must research and follow deadlines per institution.
  2. Complete application for specific private or out-of-state universities online by accessing the respective university website
  3. Complete application and supporting documents by specified deadlines, including campus specific scholarship deadlines
  4. Submit your OFFICIAL transcript by ordering is through Parchment via the DHHS website ~ Front page under drop down menu for section labeled, “I’m looking for”; select “transcript request.”
  5. Contact College Board or ACT to have your SAT, AP ,or ACT test scores sent to campuses to which you've applied.


Common Application – Be sure to check the Common Application network to see if the private/independent universities to which you are applying are members.  If so, you only complete one application online at for all colleges to which you are applying. Please note that if you do use the common application, Academic Advisors prefer that you complete your applications online. Send the request or invitation to complete the secondary and mid-year report to us via Academic Advisors' email address. Failure to record the correct email address will result in your Academic Advisor not receiving the email invitation. Academic Advisors can be reached by email as follows:



Applications to private/independent universities in California or out of state often require the submission of letters of recommendation, secondary school reports, and mid-year reports to be completed by Academic Advisors and teachers.  If your child plans to apply to a private college/university and requires these documents, they will need to download the "Letter of Recommendation Request Packet/Policy.” This packet is REQUIRED!!!! 


Letters of Rec


The completed packet must include:

  • Cover letter (can be found within the packet)
  • Student Profile
  • A student resume - Sample in packet
  • Counselor Evaluation Form and the Secondary School Report (if applicable – downloaded from university website or through invitation if using Common App, etc.)
  • College Essay (if you were required to write one)
  • Personal Letter of Recommendation (see instructions and sample in packet.)


California Community College

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