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College & Career Planning

Getting into a college is like approaching any other goal in life that’s important: it takes hard work, commitment and attention to dates and details. While the process doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking, it does require effort above and beyond the usual day-to-day routine of your normal home and school life.

An admission decision, test score or GPA is not a measure of your self-worth. Most students are admitted to colleges they want to attend.

Information & Resources

Tips for College Planning

Know that what you do in college is a better predictor of future success and happiness than where you go to college.

Be confident. Take responsibility for your college admission process.

Be deliberate. Applying to college involves thoughtful research to determine distinctions among colleges, as well as careful self-examination to identify your interests, learning style and other criteria.

Be realistic. Choosing a college is an important process, but not a life or death decision.

Since there are limits to what you can know about colleges and about yourself, you should allow yourself to do educated guesswork.

Trust your instincts in choosing a college. Make the best choice of where to apply and which college to attend based on information you gather and college visits.

Be open-minded. Resist the notion that there is one perfect college. Great education happens in many places.

Use a variety of resources for gathering information. Seek advice from those people who know you, care about you, and are willing to help.

Be honest; be yourself.

Limit your applications to a well-researched and reasonable number.

Important FUHSD Guidance Information

To graduate from any of the FUHSD high schools, a student must earn 220 credits, and pass all required subjects.

A semester class is worth 5 credits; a year class (two semesters) is worth 10 credits. A full load is 6 courses, which is 30 credits a semester or 60 credits a year.

Failed classes (including W/F’s) earn no credits. Required classes that are failed must be repeated until they are passed.

Course titles, grades, and enrollment history are never removed from the transcript. Grades are never removed, even if a course is repeated and a higher grade is earned.

College prep courses are designated by a (P); honors courses by an (H); advanced placement courses by an (AP) on the transcript.

Progress Reports are available every 6 weeks. The end of the semesters in December and June are final semester grades and are recorded on the transcript. Semester grades are reported as whole grades only (no pluses (+) or minuses (-)).

Eligibility Requirements: To be eligible to compete in sports and participate in extracurricular activities, students must maintain a 2.0 or higher grade point average (GPA).

FUHSD schools subscribe to Naviance, a leading provider of web based planning and advising systems for secondary schools and their students. Each student is assigned a unique account to assist them as they begin their college search and application process.

General College Information

Types of Schools & Colleges

What kind of college do you see yourself attending? Different types of colleges suit different types of people. Take a look at these descriptions to help you see where you fit.

Liberal Arts Colleges

Liberal arts colleges offer a broad base of courses in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. Most are private and focus mainly on undergraduate students. Classes tend to be small and personal attention is available.


Generally, a university is bigger than a college and offers more majors and research facilities. Class size often reflects institutional size and some classes may taught by graduate students.

Community Colleges

Community colleges offer a degree after the completion of two years of full-time study. They frequently offer technical programs that prepare you for immediate entry into the job market.

Upper-Division Schools

Upper-division schools offer the last two years of undergraduate study, usually in specialized programs leading to a bachelor's degree. You'd generally transfer to an upper-division college after completing an associate's degree or after finishing a second year of study at a four-year college.

Agricultural, Technical and Specialized Colleges

Have you made a clear decision about what you want to do with your life? Specialized colleges emphasize preparation for specific careers. Thousands of students enroll in career colleges (also known as technical or vocational schools) every year. Essentially, a career college is a private or public institution that offers a range of certifications and degrees in a variety of career-specific fields. Depending on the type of career you're interested in and the school you select, you can earn a certificate, a diploma, or a two- or four-year degree.

Some career colleges only offer education in a few related fields, while others may provide a list of hundreds of career-oriented subjects. Some of the most popular subjects and careers include:

  • Accounting
  • Art and Design
  • Automotive
  • Business Administration
  • Cosmetology
  • Court Reporting
  • Culinary Arts
  • Dental Assistant
  • Electrician
  • Emergency Medical Technician
  • Fashion Design
  • Heating, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration
  • Hotel and Restaurant Management
  • Information Technology
  • Medical and Technical Careers
  • Nursing
  • Paralegal
  • Plumbing
  • Real Estate

Special Interests

  • Single-Sex: All four-year public colleges and most private schools are co-ed. In terms of single-sex colleges, there are about 50 specifically for men and about 70 specifically for women. Some may enroll a few men or women.
  • Religiously Affiliated Colleges: Some private colleges are affiliated with a religious faith. The affiliation may be historic only or it may affect day-to-day student life.
  • Historically Black Colleges: Historically-black colleges find their origins in the time when African American students were systematically denied access to most other colleges and universities. These schools offer students a unique opportunity to experience an educational community in which they're part of the majority.
  • Hispanic-Serving Institutes: There are about 135 institutions designated by the federal government as "Hispanic-Serving" At these schools, Hispanic students comprise at least 25 percent of the total full-time undergraduate enrollment.


When you say you want to earn a "college degree" that could mean any number of things. Part of your college selection process should be thinking about exactly what kind of degree you want to earn, and which college can get you there. Here are some of your options:

Certificate or Diploma

These non-degree offerings generally lead to employment in an occupational field. For example, to enter fields such as computer science or teaching, you may first have to get a certificate or diploma.

Associate's Degree

You receive an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Science (A.S.) degree after completing two years of study similar to the first two years of a four-year college. Community colleges offer associate degrees. After earning an A.A. or an A.S., you may transfer to a four-year college to complete the requirements for a bachelor's degree. The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree is awarded on completion of technological or vocation programs of study.

Bachelors or Baccalaureate Degree

Complete a four- or five-year, full-time program of study (or its part-time equivalent) at a college. The Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) and Bachelor of Science (B.S.) are the most common.

Combined Bachelor's/Graduate Degree (or Joint Degree)

Complete a bachelor's degree and a master's or first-professional degree in less than the usual amount of time. In most programs, students apply to the graduate program during their first three years of undergraduate study, and begin the graduate program in their fourth year of college. Successful completion results in awarding of both bachelor's and graduate degrees.

Teacher Certification

At some schools, you can receive a teacher certification by completing bachelor's degree and state certification requirements. All institutions that prepare teachers are accredited by the state; each state sets its own certificate standards.

A program leading to teacher certification typically involves three types of courses:

  • General liberal arts courses
  • The major (such as elementary education or mathematics)
  • Professional education courses, including student teaching

In order to gain certification in most states, you must pass an achievement test in the field in which you plan to teach.

College Searching

Choosing a college or university can be an intimidating process. The good news is that California has more than 200 colleges and universities.

While no college is perfect, if you consider all the factors that are important to you, you will have a much better chance of finding the best match. One school might be the best based on location, another on cost and another on its academic programs.

Know what you are looking for in a college

Knowing yourself is important when choosing a college. Your abilities, interests, attitudes and personality play an important role in your decision. A good way to start your college search is to think in broad terms rather than immediately focus on specific schools. Taking the time to set your priorities is essential.

Know your personal and academic profile

Your Personal Profile Includes:Your Academic Profile Includes:
Career goalsAcademic program (college prep, honors, or AP)
Hobbies/ Special interestsGrades
Personal Attitudes, traits, needsHigh School unweighted GPA, CSU/UC weighted GP
Activities related to academics
Awards and recognition
Academic learning/study skills
Self-motivation and discipline

Applying to College

Course Requirements

The UC and CSU schools require students to complete the following A-G course sequence found on this page. Some schools may recommend that students take more than the minimum requirements. To see which classes at your school are considered A-G, visit the UC website.


Most colleges and universities require candidates to submit scores from either the SAT or ACT as part of the application process. While some colleges may prefer either the SAT Reasoning test or the ACT for admission, most institutions will accept either score equally. Standardized testing is only part of all the information that represents you and your accomplishments.
Research has indicated that many students perform quite differently when they take both the SAT Reasoning Test and the ACT. It may benefit you to take both tests. Colleges typically use the higher of the two scores for admission and scholarship choices.

PSAT/NMSQT- Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test

PSAT/NMSQT stands for Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT Reasoning Test. It also gives you a chance to enter National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) scholarship programs.

The PSAT/NMSQT measure critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills. The NMSQT portion uses the scores from the math, verbal reasoning, and writing to find the top 1% of the nation's juniors for eligibility in participating in Merit and Achievement programs.

he most common reasons for taking the PSAT/NMSQT are:

  • To receive feedback on your strengths and weaknesses on skills necessary for college study. You can then focus your preparation on those areas that could most benefit from additional study or practice.
  • To see how your performance on an admissions test might compare with that of others applying to college.
  • To enter the competition for scholarships from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (grade 11).
  • To help prepare for the SAT. You can become familiar with the kinds of questions and the exact directions you will see on the SAT.
  • To receive information from colleges when you check "yes" to Student Search Service.

The PSAT is administered on the FUHSD campuses once a year in October. Talk to your guidance counselor to find out how to sign up for the test at your school. For more information about the PSAT, click the link below.

SAT Reasoning: Scholastic Assessment Test

The SAT Reasoning Test is a college admissions test comprised of a verbal, math and writing section. The SAT assesses the critical thinking skills students need for academic success in college—skills that students learned in high school. The SAT is typically taken by high school juniors and seniors. It tells students how well they use the skills and knowledge they have attained in and outside of the classroom—including how they think, solve problems, and communicate.

Each section of the SAT is scored on a scale of 200-800, with two writing subscores for multiple-choice questions and the essay. It is administered seven times a year at various sites off campus. Students can register though The College Board. The SAT must be taken by December of senior year.

ACT: American College Test

These are four, 35-60 minute tests in academic areas of English, mathematics, social studies, reading and science reasoning. Scores range from 1 (low) to 36 (high) for each of the four tests and the Composite. The Composite score is the average of the four test scores, rounded to the nearest whole number. There is an optional writing assessment which is required by certain colleges; check the ACT website or the college website to determine if you will need this section. College applicants must complete tests by December of senior year.

SAT Subject Tests (formerly SAT II)

Subject Tests (formerly SAT II: Subject Tests) measure your knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, and your ability to apply that knowledge. These are one hour tests and students may register for up to three tests on one date. The SAT subject tests are usually offered on the same days as the SAT, but there are exceptions. Check the calendar carefully to make sure the test you need to take is offered on a particular date. Not all SAT subject area tests are offered every test administration.

Many colleges use the Subject Tests for admission, for course placement, and to advise students about course selection. Some colleges specify the Subject Tests that they require for admission or placement; others allow applicants to choose which tests to take.

Subject Tests fall into five general subject areas:

  • English literature
  • Foreign Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History

Most students take Subject Tests toward the end of their junior year or at the beginning of their senior year.
Take tests such as World History, Biology E/M, Chemistry, or Physics as soon as possible after completing the course in the subject, while the material is still fresh in your mind. For foreign language tests, you'll do better after at least two years of study.
SAT subject tests are placement tests required for admissions by certain private universities and the University of California system. The UC’s require two subject tests in different subject areas.

Career Planning

Community Colleges

Certificate Programs

Students interested in obtaining career training without committing to several years of school can earn a Certificate of Achievement in a shorter period of time. Certificate programs are designed for students interested in career training that leads to a specialized career field. Students who earn certificates can earn more money than someone who simply holds a high school diploma. Programs vary in length and generally require less than 2 years of full-time study to complete. Successful completion of certificates is notated on official college transcripts. There is no limit to the number of certificates a student can earn.

Career Program Degrees (AA/AS)

These programs are designed to provide better-rounded career training than in a certificate program and typically require 1½ to 3 years to complete. Career degrees include requirements for a major, which are specialized occupational courses, and general education courses that broaden a student’s understanding of self and the surrounding world. Some units/credits in career programs may transfer to 4-year colleges and universities and may fulfill lower-division requirements.

College and Career Centers

The College and Career Centers at each of our five high schools are devoted to college and career exploration. It provides conveniently organized resources for students and parents to use there or to check out. Visit your high school's website for more information.

Other Options after High School

Gap Year

A Gap Year is a natural break in the educational process after high school for students who would like to explore interests before embarking on another four plus years of school. Many students have been engaged in education since pre-school – resulting in 15 years of an educational experience. More students are taking the time to discover who they are and what they would like to do with their life. They are getting off the educational treadmill to gain a direction and focus in their life. A Gap Year can help a student discover a passion, build self-confidence and independence, and explore opportunities through hands-on learning.


  • You may be tired of school.
  • You may want to do something to enhance your college application.
  • You will appreciate education more if you take a break.


  • You may decide not to further your education.
  • If you are in another country, it may be more difficult to apply to college.
  • You will not have the support of your Guidance Counselor to help you through the college process.
  • Your teachers may forget who you are.

If you decide to take a “gap year” before starting college, it is best to apply to college during your senior year of high school. After you receive an acceptance to the college, you can request to have the acceptance deferred for one year. Most private colleges will allow you to do that.

Some public colleges, such at the University of California campuses, will ask you to reapply.

It is much easier to get letters of recommendation from teachers while you are a student at the high school. If you do not have any idea of where you want to apply, you could get some teachers to write you a letter and save it for a year. Students normally do not see letters of recommendation. It is much more difficult to apply to college if you are in another country. However, with the Internet, it is easier to do now. You will most likely miss out on some scholarships and nominations unless your high school has a good web site with this information.

In planning a GAP Year, it is important to have a structured plan in place, similar to a school year. Students will often break the year into two semesters or three trimesters and include some time working to offset the cost of some of the more costly programs or save for their college education. A GAP year is for students of all levels of ability and interests. Opportunities are endless. Students can experience internships, volunteer service, travel and language immersion programs, outdoor/farming/conservation/sustainable programs, the arts, helping children and developing skills and training in the building trades, cooking, sailing and as SCUBA and EMT instructors

Things to Consider Before Taking a Gap Year:

  • Why do you want to do a gap year?
  • What do you hope to learn from your gap year?
  • What type of program are you considering – local, national, international?
  • What is the emphasis – academic, volunteering, internship, teaching, getting certified in a skill, etc?
  • What is the cost, is it a factor and how can I help supplement the cost?
  • What type of health insurance do I need to have to make sure I am covered for emergencies?
  • What is the health requirement (vaccinations) needed?
  • What are safety issues I need to be aware of when traveling?
  • How will I stay in touch with my family and friends?
  • How will I adjust to culture shock going and coming home?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Community Service
  • Volunteer Work
  • Foreign Exchange Program
  • Travel
  • Work
  • Internship
  • Explore career interests


www.gapyear.com: Information on various programs around the world.

http://www.leapnow.org/: Information about what the GAP year is and programs available.

Military Service

Opportunities in education and training are available for men and women in all branches of the Armed Forces. In peacetime, one of the major functions of the armed services is training. All branches of the services now prefer to take high school graduates for specialized training.

Training in the armed services can range from a few weeks to a year, depending upon the field of specialization. Some of the training is related completely to military service, but much of it is applicable to jobs in civilian life.


Job Training and Centers/On the Job Training

The amount of money spent by business and industry in training and educating employees exceeds that spent by all formal schools and colleges combined. At times the training lasts only a few days or a few weeks while some occupations might take a year with frequent retraining as the employee advances in the company. Companies will often finance all or part of the training for students who want to take job-related courses. As a result, increasing numbers of employees are working toward high school diplomas or college degrees with financial assistance from employers.


High School Graduation & College Entrance Requirements

Subject Requirements High School Graduation Requirements University Admission Requirements
English 40 40
Math 20 (Algebra I and Geometry) 30 (4 years recommended)
Science 20 20 (2-4 years recommended)
Social Science 30 20
World Language* 10 20 (3-4 years recommended)
Fine Art/
Visual & Performing Arts*
10 10
Applied Academics* 10  
Physical Education 20  
Electives 60 10 (approved College Prep elective)
Other Requirements   SAT/ACT & SAT II
Subject Credits 220 150

*World Language, Fine Art/Visual & Performing Arts and Applied Academics are considered Selective Electives. Students must complete 10 credits each in two (2) of the three (3) Selective Elective areas.