Planning Tools & Resources

Naviance

Naviance is a web-based college and career exploration tool available to all of our students. Students are able to start exploring their options after high school, as early as freshman year. Naviance provides a number of resources in one place, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Career and Personality Interest Inventories (Myers-Briggs and Strong) to help you discover potential careers and majors that match your skills and interests
  • Career Exploration – job descriptions and summaries, and tools to show you the education, skills, and abilities necessary for thousands of careers, as well as expected salaries.
  • Resume Builder - students can start keeping track of their activities in one place.
  • College & Major search options that can be tailored to your specifications (location, size, etc.), including links to college websites and information about admissions requirements and deadlines
  • Building a college list of schools you may be interested in
  • Search for scholarships
  • Links to summer enrichment programs
  • Email notification of upcoming college representative visits

Staff will walk parents through the features of Naviance in our evening Guidance events throughout the year.

Financial Aid

The best single source of financial aid is through the college where you have applied. Each college has an Office of Financial Aid from which you may request a separate financial aid application. Keep in mind that most schools have a deadline of January or February for these applications if you plan to attend in the fall.

You should also check into the many scholarships that are available from outside sources including your parents' place of employment or private clubs/lodges as well as any outside groups or organizations of which you are a member.

Help with Financial Aid Resources

Attending a college, university, career or technical school can be expensive. About three‐quarters of all students get some type of financial assistance. However, there are many financial aid resources available to achieve your post secondary goals, including:

  • Federal or California grants;
  • Scholarships through your parents’ employers, religious groups, private clubs, lodges, businesses, foundations, unions, community groups, private individuals, and various organizations. They can be based on such things as academic merit, SAT or ACT scores, competitive essay, field of study, special talent, ethnicity, leadership ability, community service activities, and athletics. Determine what are the terms and conditions to renew the scholarship (i.e. GPA);
  • Loans;
  • Work study programs; and
  • Tuition reimbursement programs from part‐time employers (for example, Bank of America and Starbucks).

It is never too early for you to explore the opportunities for financial aid while in high school. Getting these financial resources requires some research. Most financial aid is based on your need, not your academic performance. Talk to your high school and career counselors for assistance. Some of this financial aid is given on a first‐come, first served basis.

It is important for you to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or other required forms prior to deadline dates. In this way, colleges determine what type of financial aid you are entitled to as well as your family’s contribution. The FAFSA can be filled out online. An on‐line calculator (FAFSA4caster) has been developed to assist families in financial planning for federal student aid (see Web Resources). Colleges offer different packages and amounts of financial aid. Compare the offers of financial aid from various schools. Accept the right one for you. In some cases, it may be possible to negotiate with a college of your choice for a better offer

Tips for Parents and Guardians

Start early to open a tax‐free “college savings account” (529 Plan). Talk to your local banker, credit union representative, or financial planner for details.

Get help from your student’s school counselor about financial aid information. Be sure to attend all financial aid and college programs offered by your high school. Talk to friends and relatives whose children have attended college or vocational schools.

Be careful to meet all deadlines regarding financial information, loans, or scholarships. Missing a deadline may mean not getting well‐deserved financial assistances for your student.

Negotiate with college financial aid officers and loan officers providing assistance. This could reduce the cost of your student’s education. Your financial situation could have recently changed.

Be aware that there may be an Expected Family Contribution. This contribution is calculated by the government using various factors based on your student’s FAFSA. These include looking at your family size, income, assets, age of mother and father, and number of family members in college. The Expected Family Contribution is reported on the Student AID Report (SAR) which is received several weeks after completing the FAFSA. The contribution the same for all schools, no matter what the cost are to attend the school. Be aware that financial need is determined by subtracting the difference between what it costs to attend college or vocational school and what the government determines your family can afford.

Avoiding Financial Aid and Scholarship Scams

If you have to pay to get money for financial aid, it is probably a scam. Every year students and parents are cheated out of more than $100 million dollars. According to the Federal Trade Commission, common signs of a scam which you should watch out for include:

  • Companies or organizations using names such as “National,” “Federal,” “Foundation,” or “Administration.”
  • “There is a scholarship application fee.”
  • “This scholarship is guaranteed or your money back.”
  • “You can’t get this information anywhere else.”
  • “May I have your credit card number, social security number, ATM pin number, or bank account number to hold this scholarship?”
  • “We’ll do ALL the work for you.”
  • “This scholarship may cost you some money.”
  • “You’ve been selected by a foundation to receive a scholarship,” OR “You’re a finalist” in a contest in which you NEVER entered.

There are numerous free services available online (see Web Resources). Be a smart consumer! Never pay money to get money.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is required by both public and private universities and colleges before scholarships or financial aid is awarded. For more information about the FAFSA and instructions, the website is www.fafsa.ed.gov. The filing priority date for most colleges is March 2. Within four weeks of filing by mail and a few days after filing online, you will receive a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the federal processor. It will list the student’s expected family contribution, or EFC. A standard formula is used to calculate the EFC, based on the information the student provides on the FAFSA. The SAR will also be sent to the colleges you indicated on the FAFSA. The colleges will use the EFC to determine if you will be offered grants, loans, and/or work-study program. The earlier you file a FAFSA, the more likely you are to hear from the Commission early. Since most colleges have a May 1 deadline for intention to register, it is to your advantage to know as soon as possible about financial aid so that you can make an informed decision regarding which college you will attend. You will fill the FAFSA out your senior year in high school.

Ultimately, all financial aid decisions are made by the individual college; therefore, it is necessary for you to work with the financial aid officer at each school to which you are applying. Also, be sure to apply on time.

Complete a FAFSA by March 2

CSS Profile

Many colleges, universities and private scholarship programs collect additional information to assist in the awarding of aid through non-federal financial aid programs. In particular, many private colleges require the CSS/PROFILE in addition to the FAFSA and some require that their own financial aid forms are submitted as well. If you are applying to one or more colleges on the CSS Code List (included in PROFILE registration material), you should complete both the FAFSA and PROFILE.

Please check with individual colleges for deadline dates.

Cal Grant

In addition to Federal Student Aid, California also provides grants. Every high school senior who graduates, meets academic, financial and eligibility requirements, and applies on time, is guaranteed a Cal Grant award to attend college. In other words, this is free money. It costs nothing for you to apply and does not have to be repaid!

Complete the student section on the GPA Verification Form, print it out, get it signed by Ms. Lim in the CHS Main Office, and mail it to the Student Aid Commission on or before March 2.

All Cal Grants Applicants must:

  • Be a high school graduate or graduate from high school in 2014
  • Be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen.
  • Have a Social Security Number.
  • Be a California resident.
  • Attend a qualifying California School.
  • Meet U.S. Selective Service Requirements, if required
  • Be enrolled at least half-time.
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress.
  • Have family income and assets below the established figures set each year.
  • Not be in default of any student loan.
  • Not owe any federal or state grant refunds.
  • File the FAFSA and GPA Verification Form by the March 2 deadline.

Important Websites:

California Student Aid Commission http://www.csac.ca.gov/

Cal Grants http://www.calgrants.org/

2014/15 Cal Grant Verification Form http://www.csac.ca.gov/pubs/forms/grnt_frm/gpaform...


Scholarships

Lynbrook High School’s Guidance Office maintains a scholarship file in the Naviance document library. Contact your Guidance Counselor or College Career Advisor via e-mail if you need your log-in. Each student has a Naviance account and parents can access the information by using their student's log-in information.

Additional Financial Aid Links

College Planning

Getting into a college is like approaching any other goal in life that’s important: it takes hard work, commitment and attention to dates and details. The resources on this page are designed to help students navigate their post high school options, with information on college admissions testing, the college application process, choosing a college and possible major, career research, alternative post high school options and more.

College Admissions Testing

Most comprehensive four-year colleges require students to submit assessment scores for admission. For the majority of these colleges, students have a choice between the SAT Reasoning and the ACT. In addition, private universities and some out-of-state public colleges require students to complete 1-3 SAT Subject tests. All students taking the ACT should make sure to take the optional Writing section, and all students taking the SAT should take it with the optional Essay.  Although not all colleges require the Writing section (ACT) and optional Essay (SAT), all of the schools in the UC system will be REQUIRING those components of each test.

The UC system is no longer requiring SAT Subject tests, but subject tests may be recommended for certain majors.

The official College Board sponsored PSAT is held once a year in October, and is offered at Lynbrook to 10th and 11th grade students.

Prior to completing the official exams, many students opt to take practice or mock exams. Practice books and booklets are available at the College and Career Center.

More Information on the ACT, PSAT and SAT

Test Description
ACT The ACT Test is a curriculum- and standards-based educational and career planning tool that assesses students' academic readiness for college.
PSAT The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) is a program cosponsored by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC). It's a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT®. It also gives you a chance to enter NMSC scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools.
SAT Reasoning The SAT provides a trusted, nationally recognized indicator of your academic readiness for college. In a way, the SAT is the bridge between the hard work you’ve already done and the college that is the best fit for the future you are about to create.
SAT Subject Tests Subject Tests are hour-long, content-based tests that allow you to showcase achievement in specific subject areas where you excel. These are the only national admission tests where youchoose the tests that best showcase your achievements and interests.

Recommended Testing Timeline

Freshman Year (9th) *No testing - focus on transitioning successfully into high school. Study hard and join clubs, sports teams, and participate in school & community activities.
Sophomore Year (10th) *  Take the PSAT in October and/or mock exams when offered
*  SAT Subject test in May/June if you complete a course you feel confident about
Junior Year (11th) *  Take the PSAT in October and/or mock exams when offered
*  Take the SAT Reasoning and/or ACT exams in spring (both offered several times from January through June)
*  SAT Subject test in May/June if you complete a course you feel confident about
Senior Year (12th) *  Most colleges accept test scores through December of senior year, but some require testing completed by October - check their websites
*  Use the fall to retake tests to improve scores if necessary

Test Prep Information

 Official Exam Preparation
ACT SAT Reasoning
PSAT SAT Subject Tests

There are various companies that offer test preparation courses for the SAT Reasoning, SAT Subject Tests and ACT.  There is more information about these programs in the College and Career Center.  None of them are official Lynbrook HS programs.

Company Offerings Cost Description
Private Test Preparation
Testive ACT and SAT Free; additional options with cost Custom online test prep
ACT Practice Exams ACT Practice Questions Free ACTExamPracticeTests.com exists to provide the best possible information on ACT exam practice tests.
Cognitive Advantage ACT, PSAT, SAT Per session tutoring Cognitive Advantage was founded to fill a need for increased performance on tests, and in school.
Kaplan Test Prep ACT, PSAT, SAT $299-$999 Established in 1938 by Stanley Kaplan, Kaplan provides higher education programs, professional training courses, test preparation materials and other services for various levels of education. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Washington Post Company.
Chegg.com ACT, SAT free for now Free beta site
C2Educate ACT, PSAT, SAT $30 & up for individualized tutoring Offers subject tutoring and test prep classes as well as personalized guidance in small group settings.
Number2 ACT, SAT Free Number2.com's online test preparation courses are totally free! By creating an account you can access a customized course that includes user-friendly tutorials, practice sessions that dynamically adapt to each student's ability level, a vocabulary builder, and more.
Princeton Review ACT, SAT $169-$2800 Founded in 1981, The Princeton Review has long been a leader in helping college and graduate school–bound students achieve their higher-education goals through our test-preparation services, tutoring and admissions resources, as well as through online courses and resources and print and digital books.
Shmoop SAT Plans vary. Practice tests and information.
US News and World Report Information on SAT, PSAT, ACT Free Articles and information about test prep.

College Applications & Resources

CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES

Beyond the monetary savings, there are a number of other benefits to attending community college for two years. Set your plan in motion, and you may gain entrance to a top-tier university currently out of reach and earn your degree at a fraction of the price.

California Community Colleges

CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY

CSUs are a high-quality, accessible, student-focused higher education. With 23 campuses, almost 427,000 students, and 44,000 faculty and staff, they are the largest, the most diverse, and one of the most affordable university systems in the country. Create an online account and then begin completing the application. Even though students have only one (1) CSU mentor account, students must start a 'new application' for each of the CSU campuses they wish to apply.

Cal State Apply

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA

UC’s ten campuses at Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara provide exciting environments that foster world-class educational and research opportunities and generate a wide range of benefits and services that touch the lives of Californians every day. Create an online account and begin completing the application for Fall 2011 (note: UC fall application usually not opened online until early October).

PRIVATE AND OUT-OF-STATE COLLEGES

Most college now prefer (or require) students to apply electronically. Many of these colleges use either the Common Application or Universal Application.  Check to see if a college accepts one of these applications before completing the university specific app.  You are able to apply to multiple colleges at once instead of creating an individual application to each college with these two application forms. ALWAYS make sure you know if a university requires a "supplement," which are generally listed on the applications' sites. For electronic recommendation letter submission purposes, Lynbrook prefers students to use the Common Application whenever possible.

College Eligibility & Planning

CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES

In order to enroll as a full-time student in a California Community College, students must have a high school diploma or equivalent, or be at least 18 years old.

UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA (UC) AND CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY (CSU)

Students must complete the A-G course sequence and meet eligibility requirements established by the UC and CSU system. 

PRIVATE AND OUT-OF-STATE COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

Since individual colleges and universities have different admission requirements, visit each colleges website for more information. The links below are provided to assist in the research process.

  • California Colleges - Learn about admission requirements, how to apply, and more for all higher-education segments in California.
  • The Association of California Independent Colleges - You will find college applications, financial aid information, virtual campus tours, and much more.
  • Colleges of Distinction -  Which colleges are the best places to learn, to grow, and to succeed?  You’ll find both prominent names and “hidden gems” on our list. What they have in common is their excellent reputation among high school guidance counselors and education professionals, not to mention employers and graduate schools. 
  • Colleges That Change Lives - In an era when college rankings and name-brand recognition seem to drive the search process, many students, parents and counselors may be left questioning the options for a good college match. Inspired by noted education reporter Loren Pope, Colleges That Change Lives helps families change the way they think about colleges and the college search.
  • I'm First - an online community for first-generation college students and their supporters. Hear inspiring stories, discover colleges that care about first-gen students, find answers to your questions about college.

General College Search Engines

Search Engine Description
Naviance Family Connection The official search engine of Lynbrook High School.  It lists visits of college 
Cappex They offer a slightly different approach to the college search which includes college matching, scholarship matching and visual admissions scattergrams.
College Board's College Search Big Future by the College Board that offers an extensive college search.
CollegeData College matching with search options for scholarships, majors and financial aid.
College Prowler A search engine created by students with recommendations. NOTE: take recommendations (good and bad) with a healthy bit of skepticism.  The student could be very bitter or the school could be posting the note as a student.
College Reality Check

For any school within the US, find out the average of how much you can expect to pay given your family’s income level, how many years it takes students to graduate, how much income students make in their first year after graduation, and how likely they are to default on their student loans.

CollegeView Search Search tools for a number of areas.
Edmission Free college admission resource
IPEDS College Search The National Center for Educational Statistic show you how a university performs by the numbers.
Peterson's College Guide The no-fee side of the for-profit company offers extensive search options.
Princeton Review A rankings-based site of the test prep company.
Student Lingo (Foothill) A free site with videos on the college admission or selection process.
U.S. College Search A free resource covering all the colleges and program offerings in the US with occupational guides, financial aid resources and FAQ’s on all the different programs.

These search enginescan help students identify or narrow down their college lists based on specific school characteristics (campus size, surrounding area, student body, etc.).

Specialty Programs, Colleges & Universities

Type of College/University Description
Auto Mechanic Schools Auto Mechanic Schools in the San Jose Area.
Aviation Colleges These colleges specialize in pilot training, aeronautics, and many other flight related disciplines.

 

UCAS

 

British Universities

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are home to some of the world’s top universities. Many of them are less expensive than the average four-year private American university – and many accept US financial aid. Many degree programs are 3-year programs. NOTE: you will most likely have to take a series of additional exams to enter a UK university. 
Canadian Universities Canada’s public system of richly funded research universities means the tuition fees international students pay are much less than for comparable universities in the U.S.A.
German Academic Exchange Service Information about universities in Germany where you can study in English, German, or both. These programs are often quite affordable.
Religious Colleges Religious colleges have an affiliation with a specific religion, such as Catholic, Jewish, Baptist, etc.  They have varying levels of religiosity of campus with some being religious in name only to some having theology required.
Test Optional Colleges Listing of colleges and universities that do not require the SAT or ACT.
Technical Schools Guide A free resource covering all the technical schools and programs in the US with career guides and resources to  help people discover career paths that match their skill sets and life goals.  
US Naval Academy Steps for admission.  Start no later than your junior year of high school.

College Visits & Fairs

2018 FUHSD College Fair

All students and their families are invited to attend the District's College Fair on September 20, 2018, at Homestead High School from 6 to 8 p.m. The first hour of the fair, from 6 to 7 p.m., will be open to students only. Parents will be able to speak with college representatives from 7 to 8 p.m. From 6 to 7 p.m., parents and students are invited to the Fremont High School theater for a Parent Panel where alumni parents will discuss the college application experience from their perspectives. More information to be posted here in the fall.

Other College Fairs

College fairs provide students with an opportunity to talk to many prospective colleges in one location.  These are great opportunities to talk with college representatives and ask more probing questions than what may be available from a viewbook or on a website.  Please visit the websites below for navigating a fair and suggested questions. 

College Visits

College visits give students an opportunity to get first hand experiences taking in a college campus.  It is an opportunity to soak in the college atmosphere, sit in a class, check out the facilities, talk to other students, and much more.  

To schedule a visit, begin with the admission website of the colleges in which you are interested. Many colleges have an online system where you can sign up for a tour. If you have any trouble, contact the College and Career Advisor.  The sites below provide some suggested activities when you visit a campus. 

In addition, many colleges offer virtual tours for students and families interested in learning more before an in-person visit.  

Campus Tour Companies

Many tour companies offer college campus tours whereby a group of students travel around on a bus and visit multiple campuses. Here is a list of some that offer group tours. Many offer tours during spring break and in the summer.

College Majors

Selecting a major does not mean you will limit the career choices available to you after graduation. If you choose a major that you intrinsically enjoy, you are more likely to excel academically, you will be more motivated in the classes you take, and when it is time to start looking for a job or applying to graduate school you will be able to explain with enthusiasm why you chose your major and what you gained from doing so.  

When choosing a major it is beneficial to understand your strengths and your interests. Consider taking one or more of the Lynbrook self-assessment questionnaires offered through MyRoad or Family Connection.

Self Assessments

Major Information

Specialized College Programs

Culinary Schools

School/Search Engine Description
Culinary Institute of America For more than six decades, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education.
Le Cordon Bleu Schools Schools across the world with the certification of Le Cordon Bleu. They strive to provide you with the cooking training and culinary education that is second to none. Their chef instructors are made up of a team of culinarians who are highly passionate about the industry. With all of the skills and knowledge that the staff has to offer, you will find that they will be able to offer classical teachings that lead to opportunities in the culinary field.
Peterson's Culinary School Search Search engine.

Please be careful when selecting a culinary school.  Check their post-degree employment rate before you give a college your email.

Technical & Vocational Schools

School/Search Engine Name Description
Online Information Technology Programs

Online IT programs. This resource focuses only on not-for-profit public and private higher education institutions.

John F. Kennedy University Weekend Science Program offers science prerequisites for students of pre-nursing and other pre-medical careers. Classes in San Jose on weekends. 
California Community Colleges Search for both technical and academic programs at community colleges.
RWM Vocational Schools Search engine for private vocational schools.
Vocational and Technical Schools Guide Search engine.  NOTE: most of the programs listed are for-profit schools, so very expensive.  Please make sure to check graduation and post-degree employment rates before applying.
Vocational Information Center The Vocational Information Center website is an education directory that provides links to online resources for career exploration, technical education, workforce development, technical schools and related vocational learning resources.

Visual & Performing Arts

School Search Sites Description
Art School Program Directory Search and directory of Art Schools.
Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design  Search, reviews, and financial aid information. AICAD is a non-profit consortium of 43 leading art schools in the US and Canada. AICAD colleges educate more than 50,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year, plus many thousands more in summer and continuing education programs. Our students are drawn from all 50 US states and more than 60 foreign countries. Over 70% of these students receive financial aid to support their education.
National Association of Schools of Art Design Search official schools. NASAD, founded in 1944, is an organization of schools, colleges, and universities. It has approximately 322 accredited institutional members. It establishes national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees and other credentials.
Student Film Makers Search engine.
Theater Schools Search and directory.

Alternative Post High School Options

Career Training Sites

Auto Mechanic Schools Practical ways to receive training in the field of automobile mechanics.

U.S. Military

Branch Age Requirement Contact Description
Air Force 17-34  408-247-8723 The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win … in air, space and cyberspace.  To achieve that mission, the Air Force has a vision of Global Vigilance, Reach and Power. That vision orbits around three core competencies: developing Airmen, technology to war fighting and integrating operations. These core competencies make our six distinctive capabilities possible.
Army 17-34  408-247-6311 The U.S. Army, a key component of the U.S. Armed Forces, is made up of the best-trained, most dedicated, most respected Soldiers in the world — protecting America’s freedoms at home and abroad, securing our homeland, and defending democracy worldwide.
Coast Guard 17-34  510-769-8187 For over two centuries the U.S. Coast Guard has safeguarded our Nation’s maritime interests in the heartland, in the ports, at sea, and around the globe. We protect the maritime economy and the environment, they defend our maritime borders, and they save those in peril. This history has forged their character and purpose as America’s Maritime Guardian Semper Paratus -Always Ready for all hazards and all threats.
Marines 17-34

 

408-984-3660

 

 

The Marine Corps has been America's expeditionary force in readiness since 1775. They are forward deployed to respond swiftly and aggressively in times of crisis. They are soldiers of the sea, providing forces and detachments to naval ships and shore operations.
National Guard 17-40 650-288-5466 The Army National Guard is the oldest component of the United States armed forces. Militia companies were formed with the first English settlement at Jamestown in 1607. Over 63,000 Army Guardsmen were called to serve in Desert Storm, and in the decade since then, Guardsmen have seen a greater role than ever before conducting peacekeeping in Somalia, Haiti, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
Navy 17-34 Enlisted: 408-247-6871; Officer: 800-345-6289 The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.

Apprenticeships

Program Age Requirement Details
CalApprenticeships 18+ The Registered Apprenticeship system of training is unique in that it is the only formal, structured, and nationally recognized education and training program available that combines the two most common forms of career and occupational learning: classroom instruction with on-the-job training.
California Department of Industrial Relations 16+ Apprenticeship is a system of learning while earning, and "learning by doing." It combines training on the job with related and supplemental instruction at school. Today, it is utilized chiefly in the skilled crafts. Each program operates under apprenticeship training standards agreed to by labor and/or management in accordance with State and Federal laws, under which a person works with a skilled worker and gains on the job skills and "know-how" and in turn becomes an important part of the occupation and industry.
US Department of Labor - Employment and Training Administration 16+, (18+ for hazardous jobs) Registered Apprenticeship programs meet the skilled workforce needs of American industry, training millions of qualified individuals for lifelong careers since 1937. Registered Apprenticeship helps mobilize America's workforce with structured, on-the-job learning in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, as well as new emerging industries such as health care, information technology, energy, telecommunications and more.

Job Training & Centers

Group Age Requirement Description
The Loyd E. Williams Pipe Trades Training Center 17+ Apply for an Apprenticeship in plumbing, steamfitting-pipefitting, and refrigeration & air conditioning mechanical service.
AmeriCorps 17+ AmeriCorps is an opportunity to make a big difference in your life and in the lives of those around you. It’s a chance to apply your skills and ideals toward helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.
California Association of Regional Occupational Center and Programs 16+ More than 3900 ROCP career technical education courses are offered in areas such as information technology, agriculture business, culinary arts, healthcare, construction and auto technology. ROCPs offer tuition-free courses.  ROCP course offerings are based upon current and future local labor market demands.
California Conservation Corp 18-25 The California Conservation Corps is a state agency that puts together young people and the environment, to the benefit of both.
San Jose Job Corp Center 14-16 Jobs Corp is a is a no-cost education and career technical program administered by the US Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training.

The Gap Year

What is a Gap Year?

Maybe you're tired of the academic grind. Maybe you're not sure why you're going to college or what you'll do when you get there. Maybe you yearn to explore far-away places or a career that interests you. If this sounds like you, perhaps now is the time to consider taking a year off between high school and college. 

While there is significant peer, parental and school pressure to go straight into college, the adventurous few who take time off can be richly rewarded. 

Taking time off before college gives you the gift of time to learn about two essential things: yourself and the world around you.  Of course, if your time off consists of nothing but watching soap operas and eating potato chips, all you'll have at the end is a wasted year. But with research and planning, you can design a semester or year that is both a great learning experience and a lot of fun.

Check out the resources below for more information on working, traveling and volunteering after high school and before college

Where Do I Start?

Planning is essential in a gap year. There are plenty of resources, including books, websites, and your high school counselor (see below). Look through a guidebook or two on travel, internship, volunteer and other opportunities for high school students in the CCC or at the local public library.

What Are My Options?

There are thousands of options, as well as an infinite combinations of activities. Some students participate in year-long programs. Others may combine two or more short-term programs, or plan a trip on their own or with friends. Here are some common ways to spend your time off:

Travel

Many organizations offer programs with an emphasis on traveling or living abroad. You may also plan your own adventure.

Internships

Spend some time working in a career field that interests you. If you enjoy it, you'll have even more incentive to succeed in your chosen college major. If it's not the field for you, you'll still have plenty of time to explore other career opportunities.

Volunteer Work

You can find volunteer programs both in the U.S. and around the world. You can build houses, work with children, work on environmental projects, or a host of other activities.

Academics

Students who are not pleased with their high school records might consider a postgraduate (PG) year. The goal for a PG year is to strengthen your academic record in the hope of gaining entry to a better college.

Work

Whether you find a job at home or away, a year of work can give you extra funds to pay for college, plus valuable, real-life experience.  There are many work and study programs out there.

What About College?

Once you've decided to take time off, it's tempting to chuck the whole college search until next year. But that's not a good idea for a number of reasons. 

First, the college search and application process is much easier while you're still in high school. You have easy access to your school's college resources, your guidance counselor and teachers, and several modes of communication. You don't want to be filling out applications and trying to get counselor recommendations while you're working in the rainforests of South America. 

Second, having your college plans in place can go a long way toward convincing your parents that you will go back to school after your time off. 

So go ahead and complete the college admission process. Then contact the college you plan to attend and ask that your admission be deferred for a semester or a year. Most colleges are very receptive to students who want to defer their admission.

All of this can make you even busier than your classmates senior year.  Taking a year off is actually more work because you should apply and get accepted to college as well as figure out what you are doing for the next year.

What Factors Should I Consider?

The following six questions are important for students to consider when planning their time off:

  • What do I want to learn?
  • How much structure do I want or need?
  • Where in the world do I want to be?
  • What kinds of things do I want to do?
  • What will I do when things get very difficult?
  • What is my emergency plan? 
  • Can my family and I afford it?

Talk to your family about your plans and about what you can afford. Some programs cost very little; others can be very expensive. Don't forget to plan for living and travel expenses as well as program fees. Students on a limited budget could consider working full-time for a summer or semester to pay for a semester-long program later in the year. 

As you research and plan, don't limit yourself too much. Take a risk. Living outside of your comfort zone is an important factor in growth.  A year off is an adventure. Don't expect it to be easy. Welcome the new challenges you encounter as you enter into the ongoing process of creating the life you want to lead. The real question of life is beyond college credit.

Outside Programs

Company Type Programs Offered In
American Gap   A resource for Gap Year ideas.  
USA Gap Year Fairs   A great resource for finding programs.
Bard College in Berlin Gap Year Overseas semester or academic year Gap year program allowing students to explore academic interests while earning transferable academic credit. Academy Year students are full members of Bard College Berlin's academic community and take part in its extra-curricular clubs and societies as well as the public lecture series. 
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange Program (CBYX) CBYX offers merit-based scholarships for an academic year in Germany.  The program was established in 1983 to celebrate German-American friendship based on common values of democracy. Students live with host families, attend local schools, and participate in community life in Germany. For more information and application deadlines, visit the organization in charge of recruitment for your state at www.usagermanyscholarship.org. 
Congress-Bundestag Vocational Youth Exchange Program Work at a German company as an intern for a year. Get hands-on work experience, language training, a host family, and more.  Visit www.nacelopendoor.org
Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Study for one academic year in select countries.

 The Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Abroad Program offers merit-based scholarships to spend an academic year in countries that may include Bosnia & Herzegovina, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Macedonia, Malaysia, Morocco, Philippines, Senegal, Thailand, and Turkey. This program increases understanding between people in the United States and people in countries with significant Muslim populations. Students live with host families, attend local high schools, do community service, and complete a capstone project. 

National Security Language Initiative for Youth (NSLI-Y)

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, provides merit-based scholarships for eligible high school students and recent high school graduates to learn less commonly taught languages in summer and academic-year overseas immersion programs.

NSLI-Y offers merit-based scholarships to study one of seven critical foreign languages: Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Korean, Persian (Tajiki), Russian, and Turkish. The NSLI-Y program is designed to immerse participants in the cultural life of the host country, provide formal and informal language practice, and spark a lifetime interest in foreign languages and cultures. 

Uncollege Voyage, Launch and Internship Programs  
AFS-USA International Community Service, Culture Africa, Asia/Pacific, Europe, Latin America, Oceania
Africa and Asia Venture (AV) Non-profit volunteering Africa and Asia
AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corp (think Peace Corp for the US) USA
CIEE - Gap Year Abroad Culture and Language Asia, Europe, Latin America
Draper University Entrepreneurship Silicon Valley
Youth for Understanding USA Academics, Culture and Language Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Europe, Latin America, Oceania
Global Works Semester or three one-month internship/community service experiences Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala. Possibility of college credit through University of Colorado. This is not a free program.
Rustic Pathways   GAP Year programs

Students With Disabilities

ONLINE RESOURCES

Program Description
BestColleges.com 

Each guide includes an outline of student rights, strategies for success, a listing of assistive technologies, and a curated list of scholarships.

Association of Higher Education And Disability Professional association for students with physical and/or learning disability who want the full college experience.  AHEAD is actively involved in all facets of promoting full and equal participation by individuals with disabilities in higher education; and supporting the systems, institutions, professions, and professionals who attend to the fulfillment of this important mission.
Association of University Centers on Disabilities A network of interdisciplinary centers committed to the practice and policy making for students with learning disabilities.
Choosing the Right Colleges A site for QA, sponsored links, articles relating to learning disabled students.
George Washington University HEATH Resource Center An online clearinghouse for post-secondary education for students with disabilities. Also provides information on summer programs.
LD Online A site with information on learning disabilities and dyslexia.

TEST ACCOMMODATIONS

College Board - Services for students with disabilities. Information on receiving special accommodations for PSAT, SAT, and AP Testing.

ACT - Services for students with disabilities who want special accommodations for the ACT test.

Career Planning

College Majors

Selecting a major does not mean you will limit the career choices available to you after graduation. If you choose a major that you intrinsically enjoy, you are more likely to excel academically, you will be more motivated in the classes you take, and when it is time to start looking for a job or applying to graduate school you will be able to explain with enthusiasm why you chose your major and what you gained from doing so.  

When choosing a major it is beneficial to understand your strengths and your interests. Consider taking one or more of the Lynbrook self-assessment questionnaires offered through MyRoad or Family Connection.

Self Assessments

Major Information

Career Research

Resource Description
Educate to Career College and career planning resources, enabling you to identify your best major, at an affordable college, with a great career outcome!

Career Search

Explore your career options with this handy resource.
Tech Prep Computer Science Information about programming. Learn code, explore careers, get info.
Health Management Careers Information about careers in health management
Start Here Go Places Information about becoming a CPA
California Career Zone A non-profit website with self assessments and career "family" explorations.
CareerOneStop Sponsored by the US Department of Labor for students, job seekers, businesses.
College Board's Career Descriptions The SAT creator's website with self assessments, college information and career guidance.
Green Career Search (Think Green) Green job employment has grown more than twice as much as any other California industry for the period 1995 to 2009. Sustainability and green sector education is offered by no fewer than 88 schools in California. These programs range from certificates through doctoral degrees.
JobStar Central Scroll down to the bottom half for the real information, rather than ads.  It explores different career opportunities with career associations.
MyRoad  The College Board's site for assessments and searches. You will need a code from the PSAT to access an account.
O*Net Online Career Exploration and Job analysis
Online Occupational Outlook Handbook The US Bureau of Labor Statistics guide to careers and career fields.
Planning Your Career Planning for college, financial aid and careers.
Vault Company rankings, career outlook and searches.  Get the inside scoop on top occupations from working professionals who give their take on ups, downs, career path, qualification, compensation and more.

Career Technical Education

Culinary Schools

School/Search Engine Description
Culinary Institute of America For more than six decades, The Culinary Institute of America has been setting the standard for excellence in professional culinary education.
Le Cordon Bleu Schools Schools across the world with the certification of Le Cordon Bleu. They strive to provide you with the cooking training and culinary education that is second to none. Their chef instructors are made up of a team of culinarians who are highly passionate about the industry. With all of the skills and knowledge that the staff has to offer, you will find that they will be able to offer classical teachings that lead to opportunities in the culinary field.
Peterson's Culinary School Search Search engine.

Please be careful when selecting a culinary school.  Check their post-degree employment rate before you give a college your email.

Technical & Vocational Schools

School/Search Engine Name Description
Online Information Technology Programs

Online IT programs. This resource focuses only on not-for-profit public and private higher education institutions.

John F. Kennedy University Weekend Science Program offers science prerequisites for students of pre-nursing and other pre-medical careers. Classes in San Jose on weekends. 
California Community Colleges Search for both technical and academic programs at community colleges.
RWM Vocational Schools Search engine for private vocational schools.
Vocational and Technical Schools Guide Search engine.  NOTE: most of the programs listed are for-profit schools, so very expensive.  Please make sure to check graduation and post-degree employment rates before applying.
Vocational Information Center The Vocational Information Center website is an education directory that provides links to online resources for career exploration, technical education, workforce development, technical schools and related vocational learning resources.

Alternative Post High School Options

Career Training Sites

Auto Mechanic Schools Practical ways to receive training in the field of automobile mechanics.

U.S. Military

Branch Age Requirement Contact Description
Air Force 17-34  408-247-8723 The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win … in air, space and cyberspace.  To achieve that mission, the Air Force has a vision of Global Vigilance, Reach and Power. That vision orbits around three core competencies: developing Airmen, technology to war fighting and integrating operations. These core competencies make our six distinctive capabilities possible.
Army 17-34  408-247-6311 The U.S. Army, a key component of the U.S. Armed Forces, is made up of the best-trained, most dedicated, most respected Soldiers in the world — protecting America’s freedoms at home and abroad, securing our homeland, and defending democracy worldwide.
Coast Guard 17-34  510-769-8187 For over two centuries the U.S. Coast Guard has safeguarded our Nation’s maritime interests in the heartland, in the ports, at sea, and around the globe. We protect the maritime economy and the environment, they defend our maritime borders, and they save those in peril. This history has forged their character and purpose as America’s Maritime Guardian Semper Paratus -Always Ready for all hazards and all threats.
Marines 17-34

 

408-984-3660

 

 

The Marine Corps has been America's expeditionary force in readiness since 1775. They are forward deployed to respond swiftly and aggressively in times of crisis. They are soldiers of the sea, providing forces and detachments to naval ships and shore operations.
National Guard 17-40 650-288-5466 The Army National Guard is the oldest component of the United States armed forces. Militia companies were formed with the first English settlement at Jamestown in 1607. Over 63,000 Army Guardsmen were called to serve in Desert Storm, and in the decade since then, Guardsmen have seen a greater role than ever before conducting peacekeeping in Somalia, Haiti, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Bosnia, and Kosovo.
Navy 17-34 Enlisted: 408-247-6871; Officer: 800-345-6289 The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.

Apprenticeships

Program Age Requirement Details
CalApprenticeships 18+ The Registered Apprenticeship system of training is unique in that it is the only formal, structured, and nationally recognized education and training program available that combines the two most common forms of career and occupational learning: classroom instruction with on-the-job training.
California Department of Industrial Relations 16+ Apprenticeship is a system of learning while earning, and "learning by doing." It combines training on the job with related and supplemental instruction at school. Today, it is utilized chiefly in the skilled crafts. Each program operates under apprenticeship training standards agreed to by labor and/or management in accordance with State and Federal laws, under which a person works with a skilled worker and gains on the job skills and "know-how" and in turn becomes an important part of the occupation and industry.
US Department of Labor - Employment and Training Administration 16+, (18+ for hazardous jobs) Registered Apprenticeship programs meet the skilled workforce needs of American industry, training millions of qualified individuals for lifelong careers since 1937. Registered Apprenticeship helps mobilize America's workforce with structured, on-the-job learning in traditional industries such as construction and manufacturing, as well as new emerging industries such as health care, information technology, energy, telecommunications and more.

Job Training & Centers

Group Age Requirement Description
The Loyd E. Williams Pipe Trades Training Center 17+ Apply for an Apprenticeship in plumbing, steamfitting-pipefitting, and refrigeration & air conditioning mechanical service.
AmeriCorps 17+ AmeriCorps is an opportunity to make a big difference in your life and in the lives of those around you. It’s a chance to apply your skills and ideals toward helping others and meeting critical needs in the community.
California Association of Regional Occupational Center and Programs 16+ More than 3900 ROCP career technical education courses are offered in areas such as information technology, agriculture business, culinary arts, healthcare, construction and auto technology. ROCPs offer tuition-free courses.  ROCP course offerings are based upon current and future local labor market demands.
California Conservation Corp 18-25 The California Conservation Corps is a state agency that puts together young people and the environment, to the benefit of both.
San Jose Job Corp Center 14-16 Jobs Corp is a is a no-cost education and career technical program administered by the US Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training.