College Planning

Important Steps for College Planning:

Step 1: Plan, prepare and learn good study habits.
Make sure you are taking the right courses in high school. That means your college planning may start as early as the 8th grade. Most importantly however, is the value of a strong grade point average and a full curriculum that includes all five key subject areas: math, English, science, social studies, and language.

Step 2: Explore potential schools of interest
The student should look for colleges with strong academic programs that match his or her areas of interests and major if one has been chosen. A student may want to think about personal interests, extra curricular activities, housing and the surrounding city. Ask a high-school counselor for ideas, take tours of schools, and read college catalogs. There are many helpful websites that review college campuses in California and throughout the country some of which are written by former students.

Step 3: Apply
Each school is different so a student may want to make sure he or she understands the application process at each potential school. Most important, every student must respect all deadlines including those for any support documents and the applications for campus support programs like Educational Opportunity Program (EOP).

Step 4: Paying for College
Most former foster youth automatically qualify as independent students and can receive the maximum in free money for college. Foster youth may also qualify for additional grants including the Chafee educational training voucher and the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) The student should work with an educational advocate and/or the financial aid office of the school for assistance with application for financial aid and any other college scholarships the student is eligible for.

Step 5: College Success
There are many programs, staff, and services on college campuses that provide assistance in order for their students to be successful with their education and in life. Some schools even offer specific programs designed for former foster youth which help with financial aid, life coaching, mentoring, housing, and offer personalized attention.

College Planning Guide – A step by step guide about classes and activities that are recommended for grades 6-12 to prepare you for College.

Click here for Mental Wellness resources at Cuesta and in the community.


The Transitional Aged Youth – Financial Assistance Program (TAY-FAP) provides financial support to youth eligible for the Independent Living Program (ILP) in San Luis Obispo County for needs related to enrolling in or maintaining enrollment in a college, university or vocational program. Click here for more information.

Career Exploration

California Career Zone-On-line Self Assessments can help you know yourself better. Knowing yourself better can help you to choose a satisfying job or occupational field to explore.

California College Pathways: A helpful and informative website for foster youth transitioning to college.

Quick Start Guides

Below are links to quick-start guides to assist in navigating the application and registration process at both Cuesta Community College and Allan Hancock College.

Cuesta College Quick Start Guide

Allan Hancock Quick Start Guide