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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.

  • CaliforniaColleges: lists filing dates and requirements for independent colleges and universities in California.

  • AICCU: to search for independent colleges and universities in California.

  • AICCU Mentor: common applications for independent colleges and universities in California.

  • NAICU: to search for independent colleges and universities across the nation.

  • Common APP: common applications for 277 selective independent colleges and universities across the nation.


Independent California Colleges and Universities

Alliant International University Occidental college
American Academy of Dramatic Arts Otis College of Art + Design
Art Center College of Design Pacific Graduates School of Psy
Azusa Pacific University Pacific Oaks College
Biola University Pacific Union College
California Baptist University Patten University
California College of the Arts Pepperdine University
California Institute of Technology Phillips Graduate Institute
California Institute of the Arts Pitzer College
California Lutheran University Point Loma Nazarene University
Chapman University Pomona College
Charles R. Drew University Saint Mary's College of California
Claremont Graduate University Samuel Merritt College
Claremont McKenna College San Diego Christian College
Cogswell Polytechnical College San Francisco Art Institute
Concordia University San Francisco Conserv. of Music
Dominican University of California Santa Clara University
Fielding Graduate University Saybrook Graduate School
Fresno Pacific University Scripps College
Golden Gate University Simpson University
Harvey Mudd College So. Calif. Univ. of Health Sciences
Holy Names University Soka University
Humphreys College Stanford University
John F. Kennedy University Thomas Aquinas College
Keck Graduate Institute Touro University
La Sierra University University of Judaism
Lagunna College of Art Design University of La Verne
Loma Linda University University of Redlands
Marymount College University of San Diego
Master's College University of San Francisco
Menlo College University of So. California
Mills College University of the Pacific
Mount St. Mary's College Vanguard University
National University Whittier College
New College of California William Jessup University
Notre Dame de Namur University Woodbury University




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.

Early Decision

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

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.