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Posted: Saturday, November 30, 2013 12:00 am

The application deadline for California State Universities and the University of California is today.

Seniors: Not sure if you can afford to attend a 4-year college?

If you have met minimum eligibility requirements, consider this plan:

Step 1: Apply to colleges or career training programs now. For more information, visit the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, CSUMentor, the University of California Office of the PresidentCalifornia Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the College Board.

Step 2: Apply for financial aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible after Jan. 1, and for as many scholarships as you possibly can.

Step 3: Find out which colleges or career-technical schools say, “Yes, you’re in!”

Step 4: Compare Financial Aid Award letters (use the Net Cost Calculator that is on each college or technical school’s website).

Step 5: Decide which path is best for you.

Don’t limit your options by not applying!

Note: it is highly recommended that our seniors apply to a community college in the spring semester. For more information, visit the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

To help you decide to which colleges or career training programs you will apply for and which careers you may pursue, visit PayScale. This resource lists salary potential by school and major.

Note: December is the last test date that most colleges will accept.

Upcoming scholarship deadlines

Dec. 7: Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge offers scholarships to 30 students in 10th through 12th grade to fully fund attendance at the American Leaders Youth Summit at Valley Forge, Pa. These scholarships cover all summit costs including airfare, housing, meals and transportation. Apply online.

Dec. 15: The Hispanic Scholarship Fund awards college scholarships of up to $20,000 to high school seniors and college students of Hispanic heritage. Applicants must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, have a 3.0 minimum GPA and file a FAFSA after Jan. 1.

Jan. 1, 2014: Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) awards up to $10,000 in scholarships to juniors and seniors who write winning essays of 800 to 1,000 words. The topic is “Why is free speech important at our nation’s colleges and universities?” Enter online.

Jan. 6: Lincoln Center and the San Joaquin Office of Education will award three $1,000 scholarships to local seniors. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required. Apply online.

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Stephanie Hiatt

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