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College Resources for Undocumented Students




If you are interested in playing a varsity sport in college - there is Division 1, 2, 3, and the NAIA - check out the NCAA Clearinghouse site

Also, know that for the 2020-21 academic year, and perhaps beyond, due to COVID-19 college athletic opportunities might be more limited, as many colleges cut various sports programs in order to save money.  Two related articles are here and here.  

Moreover, here is what Dr. Fauci says is needed for sports to resume in the United States.

Lastly, here's an article about the end of the high school sports season in March.


Seniors, if you are interested in taking a gap year after TL, here is the link for gap year fairs, and here is the link for the Gap Year Association.

College search & application/essay information

College of Marin - Concurrent Enrollment


PLEASE NOTE: The registration process for COM courses has changed due to the shelter in place order. Please review the COM High School Programs page (Concurrent Enrollment) for the most up-to-date information.  


CURRENT TL STUDENTS, GRADES 9-12: Follow the steps below to register for a course at COM. Please reach out to your counselor for more information.  

  1. Identify a COM course that you'd like to take.  Review the schedule of courses, and speak with your counselor to ensure that the course is a good fit.
  2. Follow the registration steps listed here under "JUMPSTART (CONCURRENT ENROLLMENT).                       Here are some great "how to" videos:                                                                                                                           How to Set Up MyCOM Portal                                                                             How to Add and Drop Classes                                                                               How to Pay for Classes Online                                                                             Tour of MyCOM Portal                                                                                       How to Use the Class Schedule Online

 Minimum 2.0 GPA required to take a COM class as a high school student                                                               Minimum 3.0 GPA to take more than one COM class at a time



View this link for more information about applying to COM; click here to apply!  Be sure to complete your application as soon as you can, and do the online orientation.

College Information, Search, & APPLICATIONS

Contact your counselor or Brad in TL's College and Career Center for assistance identifying potential colleges, and review these notes on building your college list In addition to working with our staff in the CCC, all students are encouraged to use the College Board's search function, the Fiske Guide to Colleges, Niche, or California Colleges to research potential colleges as well.  Students can log in to their Naviance accounts using their TLHS computer login and password. 

College Scorecard  Federal resource for searching and comparing colleges and universities

Some groups of colleges

Test-Optional Colleges/Universities in the U.S. (also, check the "Standardized Testing" link at left, for more details)

AJCU/Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities

CACHET/College Admissions Collective Highlighting Engineering and Technology (excellent STEM colleges!)

CCAA/Catholic College Admission Association

CTCL/Colleges That Change Lives (about 45 smaller liberal arts colleges with all or nearly all undergraduates)

HACU/Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (also known as HSI/Hispanic-Serving Institutions)

HBCU/Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Immigrants Rising provides excellent resources for undocumented students!

USCCB/United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (Catholic colleges in the US)

Women's Colleges Coalition

Work Colleges (8 colleges where students have on-campus jobs, which help pay for part or even all of their tuition)

To build your college list, take into account both balance and strategy: 

balance is a mixture of

     - reach (colleges whose admitted student profile, such as average admitted GPA, is higher than yours; minimize these so that you do not have too many)

     - target (colleges whose admitted student profile is close to yours, sort of a 50-50 chance, could go either way; make target colleges the majority of your list)

     - likely (colleges whose admitted student profile, such as average admitted GPA, is lower than yours; just 2 or 3 of these should be OK)

strategy is basically the college's type of application plan:

     - EA/Early Action (apply by about November 1-15; often receive a decision by mid-December; non-binding)         

     - ED/Early Decision (apply by about November 1-15; often receive a decision by mid-December; but binding, so you must attend that college if they admit you)

     - Rolling (no deadline, but you can apply as early as September or October; often receive a decision by mid-December; non-binding)

     - Regular Decision (apply by about January 1-15; receive a decision by April 1 at latest; non-binding). 

Note that the UC's and CSU's/Cal States only offer Regular Decision. 

There is generally no downside to Early Action or Rolling, and statistically your chances of admission might be better than if you applied to that college Regular Decision, so it is recommended that you consider applying to some colleges with Early Action or Rolling plans. Just be sure that your transcript represents you strongly for a November application; if you feel that a strong fall semester of senior year would help you even further, then it might be best to wait to apply Regular Decision, in January. Discuss with Brad or your counselor!

Some additional factors to consider in building your college list

size: small, medium, or large; 1,100 - 30,000+ undergrads...the size of a college can affect its class size, ranging from small seminars of 8-10 students, up to large lecture halls with 400-500 students

setting: urban, suburban, rural

geography: Bay Area, southern California, Northwest, Rocky Mountains, Midwest, South, or Northeast

weather: do you prefer palm trees & beaches, or winter snows...or in-between sweater weather?

Major/Minor: even the smallest colleges have 40-50 programs of study; it's OK to be undecided, too!

school spirit: major Division 1 sports with huge stadiums and arenas, and larger student bodies; D3 where you know the teams because the players are often in your classes; or in between?

politics: liberal, moderate, conservative

religion: many colleges CatholicJesuit, or other religions, such as:

     - California: Dominican, USF, St Mary's, Santa Clara, Westmont, Pepperdine, LMU/Loyola Marymount, USD 

     - Northwest & Rocky Mountains: U of Portland, Seattle U, Gonzaga, Carroll, BYU

     - South: TCU, SMU, U of Dallas, Baylor, Loyola-New Orleans

     - Midwest: St Louis U, Creighton, Marquette, DePaul, Loyola-Chicago, Notre Dame, Hope, Hillsdale

     - Northeast: Georgetown, Loyola-Maryland, Villanova, St. Joseph's, St. John's, Fordham, Fairfield, Providence, Holy Cross, Boston College

diversity: ethnicity, geography, LGBTQIA+, nationality, political, race, religion, socio-economic, etc

* are there any other dream factors for you, that your ideal college will have?

Factors considered by colleges when evaluating your application include (varies by college)

* transcript (always the most important factor): course rigor, cumulative GPA, trend in GPA

* ACT/SAT/SAT subject tests (though in 2020, colleges will not penalize students who did not take an ACT/SAT!)

* extracurriculars & leadership: arts, athletics, home responsibilities, internships, jobs, volunteering, etc.

* letters of recommendation: 2 teachers (preferably junior year, and core subjects) and counselor

     - please give your teachers & counselor at least 3 weeks' notice before your first application deadline!

     - you must waive your right to see your letters of recommendation.  This is in the "FERPA" portion of your applications.  

* essays: see bottom of this page (this can be the most time-consuming part of your application process, for colleges that require them, so begin to brainstorm and write during the summer before senior year, and send Brad a link to your GoogleDoc during the summer!)

* demonstrated interest (some, but not all, colleges consider this): have you visited their college campus (if possible), their website (everyone can do this), attended a presentation (everyone can do this), emailed the admissions rep to introduce yourself (everyone can do this), interviewed (if they offer them), etc.

College tours

During college closures, many are offering virtual/online tours!  Here is a great article about them from the New York Times.  You can also just Google the name of the college you are interested in, and then "virtual admissions tour," which should get you there.  For example, "UC Davis virtual admissions tour" gets you here!


There are many sources of rankings out there, but use them cautiously, compare multiple sources (Forbes, KiplingerMoney, NichePrinceton Review, QS World RankingsTimes Higher Ed/Wall Street JournalUS News), and also consider aspects that are not always ranked such as campus safety, diversity, student mental health, student competitiveness with each other versus collaboration, availability and quality of counselors and advising, quantity of student activities, freedom of speech, school spirit, town-gown relationship, % of students living on campus, and other factors that might be important to you.

Common Application

The Common App is for 900+ out-of-state publicCalifornia private, and out-of-state private 4-year colleges; the Common App is not used for the UC's or CSU/Cal States.  Its essay questions are listed in full, at bottom of this page, easy to copy and paste into a GoogleDoc!

UC/University of California (9 campuses)

UC Admissions Profiles  |  Applying to UC  |  A-G Course List  |  UC Admissions Requirements 

UC 14 criteria for admission

($70 application fee per campus, but fee waivers are available for up to 4 campuses, depending on your family size and income!)

UC PIQ's/essay questions) (also listed in full at bottom of this page!)

map of the UC's 9 campuses, and general UC statistics (Fall 2020 admissions stats here)

campus websites: Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz

EOP (Educational Opportunity Program, providing admissions, financial, and academic support for historically underserved students)

TAG/Transfer Admission Guarantee: if you attend a community college first, and satisfy the recommended UC admissions requirements for certain coursework (60 credits, or about 2 years) and GPA's, you are guaranteed admission to either UC Davis, Irvine, Merced, Riverside, Santa Barbara, or Santa Cruz!  

CSU/Cal State (23 campuses):  

California State University  |  Explore Campuses  |  CSU Admissions Requirements 

EOP (Educational Opportunity Program, providing admissions, financial, and academic support for historically underserved students) 

Sonoma State, SF St, San Jose St, Sacramento St, Chico St, Humboldt St, Cal Maritime, East BayMonterey Bay

CSU Admissions Requirements (a minimum GPA of 2.5 is generally required in your South City A-G courses from junior and sophomore years, though in some circumstances, some CSU's will admit students with a 2.0-2.49, with factors including: your coursework beyond the minimum A-G; extracurriculars and leadership; low-income; and first-generation-to-college)

Impacted majors: majors that might have limited numbers of spaces available at each CSU campus

---> EOP (Educational Opportunity Program, providing admissions, financial, and academic support for historically underserved students!) 

CSU application note: DACA, undocumented, or AB540 students should enter “None” as their citizenship status. Under “Residency,” they should select “California” as their state of residency, if they consider California their home.

California private 4-year colleges: California Independent Private Colleges/Universities 

* northern California: Stanford, Santa Clara, USF, Dominican, St. Mary's, Mills, UOP

* southern California: Westmont, CalArts, Cal Lutheran, Pepperdine, LMU/Loyola Marymount, Otis College of Arts & Design, USC, Occidental, CalTech, Claremont McKenna, Harvey Mudd, Pitzer, Pomona, Scripps, Redlands, Whittier, Chapman, USD

Coalition Application

* required only if you are applying to the University of Washington (Seattle)

Community Colleges (114 in California): 

California Community Colleges     

COM / College of Marin: COM Enrollment Steps     

SRJC / Santa Rosa JC: Steps for New Students

Oregon's community colleges (17)

Washington's community colleges (34)

Nevada's community colleges = Truckee Meadows, Western Nevada, Southern Nevada, Great Basin

ESSAY QUESTIONS, Class of 2021
- copy and paste into a GoogleDoc, and share with Brad! 


A) Common Application: 

- choose 1 of the 7, and write up to 650 words; in your draft, aim for 500, not 700, 800, or 1000!)

1) Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent ​that is so meaningful, they believe their application would be incomplete without it.  If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2) The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter ​can be fundamental to later success.  Recount an incident or time when you experienced challenge, setback, or failure.  How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3) Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea​.  What prompted your thinking?  What was the outcome?

4) Describe a problem​ you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve.  It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you, and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5) Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself and others.

6) Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you?  What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7) Share an essay on any topic of your choice.  It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Plus, optional question (250 word maximum) for the Class of 2021: Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts.  If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts.  Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces.


B) UC/University of California PIQ/Personal Insight Questions: 

- choose 4 of the 8, and write up to 350 words for each; in your draft, aim for 300, not 400, 500, or 650!

1) Describe an example of your leadership​ experience in which you have positively influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time.

2) Every person has a creative​ side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. Describe how you express your creative side.

3) What would you say is your greatest talent​ or skill​?  How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?

4) Describe how you have taken advantage of a significant educational​ opportunity​ or worked to overcome an educational barrier​ you have faced.

5) Describe the most significant challenge​ you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge.  How has this challenge affected your academic achievement?

6) Think about an academic subject that inspires you. Describe how you have furthered this interest inside and/or outside of the classroom. 

7) What have you done to make your school​ or your community​ a better place?

8) Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California?


C) Supplemental essay questions: 

Note that many colleges will also require supplemental essays.  These can consist of topics like:

1) “why do you want to attend our college?” 

2) "why do you want to major in the subject you want to major in?"

3) one or more that are sometimes completely unpredictable questions


D) The CSU/Cal States and community colleges require no essays!


E) resources for essays:

1) The College Essay Guy publishes an excellent guide, College Essay Essentials

2) Real College Essays That Work is also a fantastic source.  

And, a recent article: Pictures of Themselves: The 2020 College Essays on Money (August 28, New York Times)