College Preparation Primer for a Fall 2008 9th Grader

  • High School Demographics 2012

  • How to Start Preparing for the Ivy League

  • How to Start Preparing for University of California

  • How to Start Preparing for California State University

If I was about to start the 9th grade in a California high school this fall, and was contemplating my college possibilities, the first thing I would want to know is what will the demographics be when I graduate in 2012? (Congratulations to any 9th grader who does this under her own power.) In 2012 there will be about 3.1 million high school graduates nationally. That compares to over 3.3 million that graduated last June, as part of the class of 2008. Further, within California, the number of graduates in 2012 will be 375,000 (March 2008, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education). This figure is slightly less than the number of high school graduates this year, which is just over 388,000 (By the way, this year the number of California high school graduates peaked.) Consequently, good news, gaining admission into college will be less competitive in 2012 than it is now.

In any case, the question at hand is how best to prepare for college? Let's start by setting our sites on a highly selective private college; probably the best first step is to get a copy of the Common Application and examine the various questions and categories it contains: If there is a specific campus or two that is strongly attracting our attention, we should get their supplements (if they are using the common application-many do, such as Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Amherst-but there are holdouts) and start going through the mental exercise of how would we like to see this application filled out at the end of our four years of high school. If we're thinking of applying to Yale or Stanford, it's probably a good idea to have all our standardized tests done before we start our senior year. If we're a serious candidate for one of these two schools, we should plan to apply Early Action Single Choice (with an application deadline of November 1st).

If we're now thinking about preparing to attend a UC campus, the following link, , tells us the raw admissions requirements (a-g courses, electives, tests, etc.) to gain entry. Naturally, there is a wide berth between gaining admission into UC Merced and UC Berkeley. So, as 9th graders, it's important for us to take as challenging a curriculum as our school offers, do well, make sure our standardized test scores place us well above the 50 percentile at the target UC, and to have a solid extracurricular activity that we'll develop over our four years of school. This is the standard refrain, but a very honest one nonetheless.  If you wish to get an even better sense of the admissions statistics for the UC System, campus by campus, check out

There are several websites that are very useful for gaining a sense of how to apply to the Cal State schools: CSU Mentor, www.csumentor,edu, and College Navigator, CSU Mentor is the site for all admissions information for the 23 campuses that compose the Cal State system. College Navigator is an invaluable tool for gaining the most current information on almost any college or university in the US. For now, we'll concentrate on CSU Mentor since, if you go to the following link:, you'll find a high school course planner and suggested courses and activities by grade.  Getting accepted into the Cal States, by the way, is very formulaic. If you have the grades and scores you're in. If not, possibly a year or two at community college will allow you to re-apply.

Is there any magical insight to give a 9th grader a decisive edge over similar candidates? Not really. Consider the process a marathon, not a set of brilliant tactics that cast a candidate head and shoulders above the crowd. The key is to learn, to become curious, to get passionate about some activity, to really get to know whichever colleges interest you, and then to figure out your best match. There are no real blue prints. The excitement is in creating your own.

Ralph Becker
Founder, Ivy College Prep, LLC

올해 9학년을 위한 대학준비 입문서

2012년의 고교 졸없생 통계학

  • Ivy League 준비하기
  • UC 준비하기
  • Cal State 준비하기

필자가 올해 9학년으로서 대학준비를 시작한다면, 먼저 2012년에의 인구통계학을 알아 볼 것이다.  9학년이 이것에 관심이 있다면 축하할 일이다.  2012년에는 전국 고교졸업생이 310만 명에 달한다.  2008년 졸업생은 330만 명에 달했다.  가주에서는 2012년 고교 졸업생은 375,00명이 된다 (March 2008, Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education).  이 숫자는 올 졸업생 388,000명보다 약간 적은 수이다(올 가주 졸업생이 최고치였다).  결과적으로 2012년에는 올해보다 경쟁률이 낮아질 것이다.

그러면, 대학을 준비하는 가장 좋은 방법은 무엇인가?  먼저, 명문대를 목표로 시작하자; 아마 첫 단계는 Common Application 한 부를 구해서 각 분야별 다양한 질문들을 점검하는 일이다:  만약 한 두 군데 특정 캠퍼스가 관심을 끈다면, 보충자료도 살펴본다 (Common Application을 사용하는 경우에- Stanford, Yale, Harvard, Cornell, Amherst대학도 해당됨).  4년 뒤에 이 원서에 어떻게 채울 것인지를 머릿속에 그려본다.  만약 Yale이나 Stanford 지원을 생각한다면, 12학년 전에 모든 시험을 마치도록 계획을 세운다.  이 두 대학을 정말 지망하려 한다면 Early Action Single Choice (11월 1일 마감일)를 미리 계획해야 한다. 만약 UC를 계획한다면, 웹싸이트 에서 입학자격 (a-g 과목, 선택과목, 시험 등)을 알 수 있다.  한편, UC Berkeley와  UC Merced까지 폭넓은 선택이 있다.  그래서 9학년들은 어려운 과목에 도전하고, 표준 시험에서 상위 50%이상을 유지하고, 4년 동안 특별활동을 개발해야 할 것이다.  이것은 기본적인 규칙이지만 또한 정직한 과정이다.  UC의 각 캠퍼스를 자세히 알고자 하면, . 를 참고할 수 있다.

Cal State 대학들에 대해 알고자 하면, CSU Mentor, www.csumentor,edu, and College Navigator,를 참고하면 된다.  CSU Mentor는 23개의 캠퍼스의 입학 정보를 담고 있다.  College Navigator는 미국의 각 대학의 최근 정보를 알 수 있는 곳이다.  CSU를 자세히 알고자 할 때,

에서 고교 과목 선정과 학년별 특별활동  제안을 살펴볼 수 있다.  CSU의 입학은 필요한 과목과 성적이 있으면 가능하다.  아니면, 1-2년뒤  community college에 가서 다시 응시하면 된다.

비슷한 9학년 응시자들을 위한 묘수가 있는가?  없다.  마라톤을 생각하자.  어떤 기발한 기술이 필요치 않다.  열쇠는 배우고, 호기심을 가지며, 특정활동에 열정적이 되는 것이다.  그리고, 정말로 여러분이 어떤 대학에 관심이 있으며, 여러분과 가장 잘 맞는지를 알아내는 일이다.  특정 청사진이란 없으며, 스스로 만들어내는데 있다.