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Learn more about preparing for college, and particularly for the University of California.

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“Students who participate in EAOP are twice as likely to complete the UC college preparatory coursework by the end of the 12th grade than students who do not participate in EAOP. There is a large, positive independent impact from participation in EAOP and the observed effect is not driven by selection."

- Denise Quigley,
National Center of Research and Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I be in EAOP if I'm not sure if I want to go to a UC?

It's true, EAOP can help you become a competitive UC applicant, but it also can help you become a competitive applicant for other colleges at the same time. In fact, if you meet the UC eligibility requirements then you are also eligible to apply to most colleges and universities across the country. For example, someone who is UC eligible qualifies for all CSU campuses and community colleges.

However, private colleges have their own requirements that may or may not be different from the UC. EAOP can help you research those schools and their requirements. No matter what schools you plan on ultimately applying to, being in EAOP will help you on your journey to the college of your choice.


What are my options if I am undocumented?

Never let your residency status hold you back from pursuing your dreams. You can still apply and be admitted to a 4-year college or university.  Because of a state law called Assembly Bill 540, as long as you have attended and will graduate from a California high school, you can even pay in-state tuition — the same tuition that everyone else who lives in California has to pay. And now with the California Dream Act, undocumented students are able to receive state financial aid, such as the Cal Grant. Always remember, you can receive as much scholarship money as you can find. Just be sure to watch out for requirements. Some scholarships require that you be a US citizen or permanent resident. But there are some scholarships out there that do not have this requirement. For a list of some scholarships like this, please visit Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund's Scholarship Resources page and download the MALDEF Scholarship Resource Guide.

Another alternative is to go the community college route, work on your paperwork, and transfer to a 4-year university later.


College is too expensive. How can I afford it?

There are many financial resources to help students fund their education. There are thousands of scholarships out there for which students can apply. California Grants (Cal Grants) are grants that can help students pay for college. Scholarships and Cal Grants do not need to be repaid; they are free money. There are also all kinds of loans that you or your parents may receive. Most of them don't require you to pay them back until after you graduate college.

Qualification for financial aid depends on your family income and the number of students attending college per household. To get financial aid, you have to apply. You must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the GPA Verification Form or the California Dream Act Application by March 2 in order to be considered for state and federal aid.

When applying to college, keep in mind that California public universities offer top-notch education at affordable prices. At UC, most families pay less than the full price of attendance. In fact, more than half of UC undergraduate students pay no tuition at all. Over two-thirds of UC undergraduates receive grants and scholarships, with an average award of around $16,300. To learn more about applying for financial aid at UC, visit Paying for UC.


What is the difference between the ACT and the SAT?

The ACT is an achievement test, measuring what you have learned in school. The SAT Reasoning Test is more like an aptitude exam, testing reasoning and verbal abilities.

The ACT has up to 5 components: English, Mathematics, Reading, Science, and an optional Writing Test.

The SAT Reasoning Test has 3 components: Reading, Mathematics, and Writing. There are also SAT Subject Tests, usually not required for admission to colleges, but taken voluntarily to show aptitude in a given subject.

Many students opt to take both exams, to find out which suits them best. Counselors can provide more information about the exams.


How do I know if I qualify for a fee waiver for the SAT Reasoning Test, SAT Subject Test, ACT or college admissions?

If your family qualifies for free or reduced-cost lunch, you will qualify for a fee waiver. Your high school counselor will have information on fee waivers for the ACT and SAT. For more information, check out and the College Board's website about the SAT.


I've heard the terms "eligibility" and "competitive eligibility." What is the difference?

Eligibility means that a student has met all the basic entrance requirements (coursework, GPA, entrance exams). To be competitively eligible means that the student goes beyond the basic requirements, including exceeding the minimum GPA, and taking honors and AP coursework as well as SAT subject tests. To gain admission to more selective colleges, students should focus on being competitively eligible.


Where can I find A-G courses for my high school?

The school counselor will have the list of A-G courses, or you can link to your school's list through the A-G Course List website.


What if I receive a poor grade in an A-G course?

Talk to your high school counselor immediately. You may have several different options:

  • Retaking the course (this is the option that should be taken whenever possible)
  • Taking a comparable course at a community college
  • Taking an approved online course

Your counselor will help you make the best decision. The key is to address this quickly!


What do college admissions reviewers look for when examining a student's extracurricular activities?

Colleges prefer to see sustained participation over time in a few activities, rather than minimal participation in numerous clubs. A strong applicant will demonstrate service in leadership roles.


My child is unable to participate in after-school academic enrichment activities. Do any such activities take place at other times?

Some activities take place on the weekends or in the summer. Also look for opportunities that may be short-term (a couple of weeks) since adjusting your family's schedule for shorter periods may be easier.