Valencia High School

Skip to main content
Main Menu Toggle

Applying to College

The application deadline for UCs and CSUs is November 30th 2021.

Tips for Applying

  1. Get a job- Colleges don’t necessarily mean a high-profile internship or fancy-sounding title at your parent’s company. We mean a regular job, like washing cars, waiting tables, or stocking inventory. Finding, getting, and keeping a job takes initiative, responsibility, and hard work, all good traits. And any student who earns an honest dollar flipping burgers is always appealing to colleges, specifically for UC and private schools.
  2. Make a local impact - You don’t necessarily have to save the world to show colleges you can make contributions to the people around you. Volunteer at a local homeless shelter. Run the lights for the school musical. Offer to bake your best dish for the French Club’s bake sale. There are always you can impact your local community, your school, or your fellow students.
  3. Take a fun class- Sure, you could take trigonometry in summer school so that you can jump to calculus next year. But you could also learn about jazz, cooking, modern art, webpage design, dance, politics or whatever else interests you. Whether you take physics or photography, colleges will be impressed by your desire to learn.
  4. Try something you’ve always wanted to do – If you play the drums and have always wanted to start a band, get the group together. Wish you knew how to stand up to your older brother? Take karate lessons. Think working at a bookstore would be fun? Fill out an application and see what happens. Colleges love kids who take initiative and curiosity, so don’t be afraid to try something new.
  5. Relax- Of course, we’re not saying that you shouldn’t work hard. But if you spend every hour calculating how to plan your life to impress colleges, you’re going to drive yourself crazy. So work hard, but make sure you choose activities that you enjoy. Follow your interests. Show the colleges that you’re a happy, well-adjusted student who loves life. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how far that goes to impress colleges.
  6. Scholarships- The above tips will not only impress colleges like UCs and privates, but highly qualify and guarantee you a ton of scholarships! Scholarships are posted and updated on the VHS website regularly.

Applying to Cal State Schools (CSU)
Applications are available online at beginning October 1st. The deadline to apply is November 30th.

  • 2.0 GPA minimum is required
  • SAT or ACT must be taken *due to recent circumstances this requirement has been suspended
  • Completion of the A-G requirements with a grade of "C" or better

Applying to UC Schools (Sample Application attached below)
Applications are available online at Beginning October 1st you can access the application but you cannot submit it until November 1st. The deadline to apply is November 30th.

  • 3.0 GPA minimum is required
  • SAT or ACT must be taken *due to recent circumstances this requirement has been suspended
  • Completion of the A-G requirements with a grade of "C" or better
  • Extracurricular activities (ASB, community service, VHS Club. etc)
  • Personal Insight Questions

Applying to private and out-of-state colleges and universities 

These colleges vary in their application procedures and deadlines. Applications are available at or visit the college’s website for further information. Private schools often require letters of recommendation and other forms to be completed by teachers and/or counselors. Organize your paperwork and give your teacher/counselor a minimum of 2 work weeks to complete them. If you ask less than 2 weeks in advance, you are not guaranteed to get a letter of recommendation. Most private schools also require essays or personal statements. The questions vary from school to school, but the strategies for the UC Personal Statement listed below will help you compose your private school essays as well.


Applying to community colleges
Community colleges begin accepting applications in October. Applications are available at


The UC Personal Insight Questions
This year the UC Personal Insight questions require you to respond to four out of the eight prompts. Each response is limited to a maximum of 350 words. All questions are given equal consideration and there is no right or wrong way to answer the questions.


  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.

Things to consider: A leadership role can mean more than just a title. It can mean being a mentor to others, acting as the person in charge of a specific task, or taking lead role in organizing an event or project. Think about your accomplishments and what you learned from the experience. What were your responsibilities?


Did you lead a team? How did your experience change your perspective on leading others? Did you help to resolve an important dispute at your school, church in your community or an organization? And your leadership role doesn’t necessarily have to be limited to school activities. For example, do you help out or take care of your family?


  1. 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.


Things to consider: What does creativity mean to you? Do you have a creative skill that is important to you? What have you been able to do with that skill? If you used creativity to solve a problem, what was your solution? What are the steps you took to solve the problem?


How does your creativity influence your decisions inside or outside the classroom? Does your creativity relate to your major or a future career?


  1. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? How have you developed and demonstrated that talent over time?


Things to consider: If there’s a talent or skill that you’re proud of, this is the time to share it. You don’t necessarily have to be recognized or have received awards for your talent (although if you did and you want to talk about, feel free to do so). Why is this talent or skill meaningful to you?


Does the talent come naturally or have you worked hard to develop this skill or talent? Does your talent or skill allow you opportunities in or outside the classroom? If so, what are they and how do they fit into your schedule?


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


Things to consider: An educational opportunity can be anything that has added value to your educational experience and better prepared you for college. For example, participation in an honors or academic enrichment program, or enrollment in an academy that’s geared toward an occupation or a major, or taking advanced courses that interest you — just to name a few.


If you choose to write about educational barriers you’ve faced, how did you overcome or strive to overcome them? What personal characteristics or skills did you call on to overcome this challenge? How did overcoming this barrier help shape who are you today?


  1. 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?


Things to consider: A challenge could be personal, or something you have faced in your community or school. Why was the challenge significant to you? This is a good opportunity to talk about any obstacles you’ve faced and what you’ve learned from the experience. Did you have support from someone else or did you handle it alone?


If you’re currently working your way through a challenge, what are you doing now, and does that affect different aspects of your life? For example, ask yourself, “How has my life changed at home, at my school, with my friends, or with my family?”


  1. Describe your favorite academic subject and explain how it has influenced you.


Things to consider: Discuss how your interest in the subject developed and describe any experience you have had inside and outside the classroom — such as volunteer work, summer programs, participation in student organizations and/or activities — and what you have gained from your involvement.


Has your interest in the subject influenced you in choosing a major and/or career? Have you been able to pursue coursework at a higher level in this subject (honors, AP, IB, college or university work)?


  1. What have you done to make your school or your community a better place?


Things to consider: Think of community as a term that can encompass a group, team or a place – like your high school, hometown, or home. You can define community as you see fit, just make sure you talk about your role in that community. Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community?


Why were you inspired to act? What did you learn from your effort? How did your actions benefit others, the wider community or both? Did you work alone or with others to initiate change in your community?


  1. What is the one thing that you think sets you apart from other candidates applying to the University of California?


Things to consider: Don’t be afraid to brag a little. Even if you don’t think you’re unique, you are — remember, there’s only one of you in the world. From your point of view, what do you feel makes you belong on one of UC’s campuses? When looking at your life, what does a stranger need to understand in order to know you?


What have you not shared with us that will highlight a skill, talent, challenge, or opportunity that you think will help us know you better? We’re not necessarily looking for what makes you unique compared to others, but what makes you, YOU.


Suggestions for Writing the Personal Insight responses

1. Answer the question – Take time and think about each prompt before you start writing. Use details and examples. Write to add context and depth, not to fill space.

2. Give yourself time to edit – Start writing to answer each prompt, then go back and consider word count, content, and overall message.

3. Be you – Remember to talk about yourself so that they can get to know you and your potential to succeed at their school. Use plenty of “I” statements.

4. Stick to one topic per response – Making a list of accomplishments will lessen the impact of your words. Expand on a topic by using examples and facts.

5. Think outside the box – Consider including: personal triumphs or challenges (do not forget to explain what you learned from the experience), leadership opportunities, experiences outside the classroom, disabilities, and culture.

6. Stay focused – Avoid common mistakes such as: inappropriate use of humor, creative writing (poems, clichés, scene setting), quotations (they want to know your thoughts and words, not someone else’s), repetition, lists of accomplishments or activities, philosophy (don’t ask questions without answers).

*** The Personal Statement is meant to compliment your application and is your one opportunity to add clarity, richness, and meaning to the information you present in other parts of your application. Use it to help the Admissions Office get to know the real you. ***



FULLERTON COLLEGE (College Readiness Program) 

   - Fullerton College will assist students virtually through the application process.  Guides are also available on the FCC Outreach website. (Students will need their Social Security number (if applicable) when applying.)  

   - In order to receive priority registration, we recommend seniors planning to attend FCC take a Counseling 140 course.  Counseling 140 covers students' College Orientation and will provide a 0.5 transferable unit.  This will allow students to register before new students with 0 units in the Fall 2021.  Students can view available Counseling 140 courses here and sign up following these steps.


  - A representative from Santiago will be on campus periodically to answer any questions. 

   - Santiago Canyon College will offer virtual assistance through the application process. Please reach out to Mrs. Hughes ([email protected]) for details. 

   - Students who have applied will be eligible to attend Early Welcome through Santiago Canyon College which will assist in getting students priority registration.  Students will be put through their orientation and will be given assistance in registering for classes at this time. 




Non-Discrimination Statement

The Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying in all district activities, programs, and employment based upon actual or perceived gender, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, color, religion, ancestry, nationality, national origin, ethnic group identification, immigration status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, pregnancy, age, physical or mental disability or on the basis of a person’s association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. Reference: BP 0410; 1312.3; 4111.1; 5145.3; 5145.7; 4119.11/4219.11/4319.11
Compliance Officer for Complaints. Employee complaint: Rick Lopez, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources (714) 985-8408. Title IX Sexual Harassment and any other discrimination complaints: Gina Aguilar, Director, High School Education (714) 985-8656. Americans with Disabilities Act complaints: Richard McAlindin, Assistant Superintendent, Executive Services (714) 985-8727. Bullying, intimidation complaints: Melissa Samson, Administrator, Student Services (714) 985-8671
Procedure for Complaints. Uniform Complaint Policy Form 1312.3 (English), 1312.3 (Spanish). Williams Uniform Complaint Procedures Form 1312.4 (English) and 1312.4 (Spanish)
El Distrito Escolar Unificado Placentia-Yorba Linda, prohíbe la discriminación, acoso, intimidación, hostigamiento en todas las actividades, programas y empleo del distrito en base a género real o percibido, identificación de género, expresión de género, raza, etnia, color, religión ascendencia, nacionalidad, origen nacional, identificación de grupo étnico, estado de inmigración, sexo, orientación sexual, estatus marital o parental, embarazo, edad discapacidad física o mental o en base a la asociación de la persona con una persona o grupo, con una o más de estas características reales o percibidas. Referencia: BP 0410; 1312.3; 4111.1; 5145.3; 5145.7; 4119.11/4219.11/4319.11.
Quejas de empleados: Rick Lopez, Asistente de Superintendente, Recursos Humanos (714) 985-8408. Titulo IX Acoso Sexual y cualquier otra queja de discriminación: Gina Aguilar, Directora, Educación Secundaria (714) 985-8656. Americanos con Discapacidades Acta de quejas: Richard McAlindin, Asistente de Superintendente, Servicios Ejecutivos (714) 985-8727. Quejas de acoso, intimidación: Melissa Samson, Administrador, Servicios Estudiantiles (714) 985-8671

Employee/Student Non-Fraternization Policy: BP 4101