Private/Independent Colleges and Universities
California's nonprofit, independent colleges and universities are often referred to as "private." Nonprofit, independent colleges and universities are not state-supported, unlike the University of California, California State University, or California Community College systems.
California is home to more than 75 unique nonprofit, independent colleges and universities. They focus on the individual student. Because each nonprofit, independent college and university is unique, admission requirements vary. Applicants for admission are evaluated for past achievement, future promise, and "fit" with the schools' missions and goals. All applications are treated as individuals and are personally evaluated.
Visit your school’s College and Career Center for college catalogs and information on entrance requirements, applications, important dates, and financial aid.
List of Schools
Los Angeles Basin
American Academy of Dramatic Arts West
Art Center College of Design
Azusa Pacific University
California Baptist University
California Institute of Technology
California Institute of the Arts
California Lutheran University
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science
Claremont McKenna College
Concordia University of California
Harvey Mudd College
Hope International University
La Sierra University
Laguna College of Art Design
Loma Linda University
Loyola Marymount University
Master’s College, The
Mount Saint Mary's College
Otis College of Art and Design
Pacific Oaks College
University of Judaism
University of La Verne
University of Redlands
University of Southern California
University of West Los Angeles
Vanguard University of Southern California
San Francisco Bay Area
California College of the Arts
California Institute of Integral Studies
Cogswell Polytechnical College
Dominican University of California
Golden Gate University
Holy Names University
John F. Kennedy University
New College of California
Notre Dame de Namur University
Saint Mary's College of California
Samuel Merritt College
San Francisco Art Institute
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Santa Clara University
University of San Francisco
San Diego Metro Area
Alliant International University
Christian Heritage College
Point Loma Nazarene University
University of San Diego
Fresno Pacific University
Pacific Union College
Thomas Aquinas College
University of the Pacific
William Jessup University
Generally, admission requirements at nonprofit, independent colleges and universities fall into four categories: (1) schools with admission requirements similar to the University of California; (2) schools with admission requirements similar to the California State University system; (3) schools that accept only the top students in the world; and (4) schools with very specific requirements, in addition to a well-rounded curriculum, related to their specialty - for example, in the visual or performing arts.
Admission to an independent college or university is not based on a mathematical index. Rigor of courses, test scores, individual qualities and personal potential are all considered. Since admission requirements differ significantly among independent colleges, take as many rigorous college-prep courses as appropriate, earn good grades, and be involved in school and community activities.
Private colleges vary in terms of selectivity with some having highly selective admissions and other having relatively open admissions program. The key factors involved in admissions decisions are:
- High School Courses: A strong, four-year program of college preparatory courses is recommended.
- Grades: Colleges look carefully at the grades in academic subjects.
- College Entrance Exams: The SAT Reasoning Test, ACT and SAT Subject tests are used by many private colleges.
- Letters of Recommendation - Most private colleges require letters of recommendation from teachers and other persons who know you well.
- Other Factors - Leadership, athletics, music, art, drama, journalism, yearbook, alumni family, and community activities may also be used in making admissions decisions. The quality of the involvement is often more important than the number of activities.
How to Apply
To apply online go directly to the college or university website.
Some California nonprofit, independent colleges and universities accept the "Common Application" - an application accepted by a number of independent colleges across the country. If the schools to which you are applying accept the Common Application, be sure to check with them directly to determine if there are additional application requirements.