As we daily teach, guide and train students, we are always looking and preparing toward the next step. A major target in our learning community is higher education. We sat with SCCS College Counselor, Mervatte Gunther to learn more about the current state of the college application process and how SCCS is preparing students for this next step in their academic journey.

“Our students remain diligent in their march to success,” shares Mervatte. “Many of our graduating seniors have applied to 10 or more colleges to increase their chance of being accepted.”

This year’s senior class has already heard from a long list of schools with acceptance for entrance. March will bring information regarding acceptances to all UCs and CSUs.

During the month of February, Mervatte will meet with each junior and his/her family. During these meetings, the discussion will cover topics such as SAT and ACT testing including the difference between them, how to prepare for these tests and how to achieve desired scores. Additionally, the conversations will cover what universities are looking for in terms of GPA, rank, test scores, subject tests and extracurricular activities including the ‘how’ regarding the application process such as Common Application, UC and CSU Applications, as well as private schools’ applications. 

“The junior class is extremely driven, motivated and competitive in nature. It is a delight to work with them and to explain what some might call ‘an overwhelming process’ in a simplified manner to allow our students the ability to tackle what will come their way,” continued Mervatte. “The students are given the task to look at these applications and start preparing their essays, list of awards and extracurricular activities, volunteer opportunities and compile their community involvement in order to be prepared for the application season that begins in August and ends in December.”

Mervatte stays informed of the current process and trends regarding acceptance and shares this information with students and families as they prepare.

“Recently, we’ve been seeing that UCs and CSUs are turning down many qualified students with perfect GPAs and near perfect SAT and ACT scores. For the past few years, UC schools have seen a tremendous increase in applications. Five UC campuses — Berkeley, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and Santa Barbara received more than 100,000 applications each for the 2018-19 school year. UC San Diego has seen an increase by 9.7 percent, UC Davis is up 8.6 percent, and UC Riverside saw the largest percentage increase of 12.2 percent. This is important information to consider as we make a plan for each student and where they will apply.”

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo received 65,000 applications which is up by13 percent from the previous year. A growing number of Cal State campuses operate under ‘impaction’, in which they are unable to admit qualified applicants to their desired majors. This increase forced most of CSU campuses to implement different standards for different majors, so that it becomes much more difficult to be admitted to high-demand programs, such as those in STEM fields. 



“It is important to be aware of the current acceptance rates and adjust our individual plan accordingly. In years past, counselors were able to evaluate a student’s academic record including SAT/ACT scores, and their extracurricular activity’s list and easily guestimate which colleges/universities the student will most likely be accepted to,” continued Mervatte. “Unfortunately, this is no longer the case. You could have an extremely qualified student who has perfect test scores and grade point average, exceeds all requirements set forth by any given institution, and yet, not receive admission. We now realize that there is no formula to being accepted to a highly competitive/selective university. Therefore, we are seeing more California students apply and get accepted by out-of-state universities.”

Here are some schools that our graduating class of seniors have been accepted at, to date:

  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Liberty University
  • University of the Pacific
  • University of Hawaii Manoa
  • University of Alabama
  • California Baptist University
  • The University of Alabama 
  • Marquette University
  • Saint Mary’s College (California)
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of Iowa 
  • University of Nebraska
  • Grand Canyon University
  • University of Oregon
  • Arizona State University
  • Hardin Simmons University
  • Howard Paine University
  • Arizona State University
  • Azusa Pacific University
  • Shenandoah University
  • Roberts Wesleyan College
  • Pacific University
  • The Master’s University
  • Keiser University (West Palm Beach)
  • Biola University