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Private Colleges

Independent Colleges and Universities

  • Filing periods vary with most beginning in January.

  • Most have requirements comparable to the CSU/UC system.

  • Most require SAT or ACT.

  • www.californiaColleges.edu: lists filing dates and requirements for independent colleges and universities in California.

  • www.aiccu.edu: to search for independent colleges and universities in California.

  • www.aiccumentor.org : common applications for independent colleges and universities in California.

  • www.naicu.edu: to search for independent colleges and universities across the nation.

  • www.commonapp.org : common applications for 277 selective independent colleges and universities across the nation.


Independent California Colleges and Universities

Alliant International University


Occidental college www.oxy.edu
American Academy of Dramatic Arts www.aada.org Otis College of Art + Design www.otis.edu
Art Center College of Design www.artcenter.edu Pacific Graduates School of Psy. www.pgsp.edu
Azusa Pacific University www.apu.edu Pacific Oaks College www.pacificoaks.edu
Biola University www.biola.edu/undergrad Pacific Union College www.puc.edu
California Baptist University www.calbaptist.edu Patten University www.patten.edu
California College of the Arts www.cca.edu Pepperdine University www.pepperdine.edu
California Institute of Technology www.caltech.edu Phillips Graduate Institute www.pgi.edu
California Institute of the Arts www.calarts.edu Pitzer College www.pitzer.edu
California Lutheran University www.callutheran.edu Point Loma Nazarene University www.pointloma.edu
Chapman University www.chapman.edu Pomona College www.pomona.edu
Charles R. Drew University www.cdrewu.edu Saint Mary's College of California www.stmarys-ca.edu
Claremont Graduate University www.cgu.edu Samuel Merritt College www.samuelmerritt.edu
Claremont McKenna College www.claremontmckenna.edu San Diego Christian College www.sdcc.edu
Cogswell Polytechnical College www.cogswell.edu San Francisco Art Institute www.sfai.edu
Concordia University www.cui.edu San Francisco Conserv. of Music www.sfcm.edu
Dominican University of California www.dominican.edu Santa Clara University www.scu.edu
Fielding Graduate University www.fielding.edu Saybrook Graduate School www.saybrook.edu
Fresno Pacific University www.fresno.edu Scripps College www.scrippscollege.edu
Golden Gate University www.ggu.edu Simpson University www.simpsonuniversity.edu
Harvey Mudd College www.hmc.edu So. Calif. Univ. of Health Sciences www.scuhs.edu
Holy Names University www.hnu.edu Soka University www.soka.edu
Humphreys College www.humphreys.edu Stanford University www.stanford.edu
John F. Kennedy University www.jfku.edu Thomas Aquinas College www.thomasaquinas.edu 
Keck Graduate Institute www.kgi.edu Touro University www.tu.edu
La Sierra University www.lasierra.edu University of Judaism www.ajula.edu/
Lagunna College of Art Design www.lagunacollege.edu University of La Verne www.ulv.edu
Loma Linda University www.llu.edu University of Redlands www.redlands.edu
Marymount College www.marymountpv.edu University of San Diego www.sandiego.edu
Master's College www.masters.edu University of San Francisco www.usfca.edu
Menlo College www.menlo.edu University of So. California www.usc.edu
Mills College www.mills.edu University of the Pacific www.pacific.edu
Mount St. Mary's College www.msmc.la.edu Vanguard University www.vanguard.edu
National University www.nu.edu Whittier College www.whittier.edu
New College of California www.newcollege.edu William Jessup University www.jessup.edu
Notre Dame de Namur University www.ndnu.edu Woodbury University www.woodbury.edu



Applying to a Private College or University?

Important guidelines for applying to private and out of state colleges and universities:

  1. Be aware of deadlines.  Check with their literature and websites for applications deadlines.  Some universities such as USC have a two process application with deadlines for both parts. 

  2. Do not apply last minute.  The majority of the applications will include essays, letters of recommendations from teachers, and a letter of recommendation from your counselor.  For your counselor, you would need to give a minimum of three weeks notice before the letter is due.

  3. Review the following common terminologies associated with private colleges:


Selective involves the use of academic criteria which are evaluated within the guidelines of minimum standards.  Considered might be qualitative measures and non-academic selection, which increases with the selectivity of the application.  Considered might be academic record, test scores, activities, awards, leadership, etc.

Believe it or not, there is no set range for selectivity.  Admission might be 14% or 85%, meaning that they admit 85% of the students who apply.


Rolling admissions means that the institution processes applications and makes decisions as the applications become complete.  There is no deadline, or a late deadline.  Applicants are notified continuously.


This is the term used to describe the application process in which a commitment is made by the student to the institution, that, if admitted, the student will enroll.

Only a student who can make a deliberate and well-reasoned first choice decision should apply under an Early Decision plan because the institution will require a non-refundable deposit well before May 1, the national reply date.

  • Students may apply to other colleges but may have only one Early Decision application pending at any time.

  • Institution will notify the applicant of the decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time after the Early Decision deadline.

  • If admitted, the student will enroll UNLESS aid award is inadequate.

  • Immediately upon acceptance of offer, student will withdraw all other applications and make no subsequent applications.

Advantages:  Students learn EARLY in their senior year about their college choice.  Students need to have their entire testing profile completed early, be aggressive about visiting colleges, and be VERY organized about their college search process.


Early Action permits the student to apply to an institution of preference and receive a decision well in advance of the normal response dates in the spring.  The candidate is NOT committed to enroll at that particular institution.

  • Students may apply to other colleges.

  • Institution will notify the applicant of the decision within a reasonable and clearly stated period of time.

  • Student will not be required to make a commitment prior to May 1, but is encouraged to apply earlier.

Advantage:  If a student is accepted, he/she is not obligated to attend.