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There are hundreds of independent colleges and universities around the country with a wide range of characteristics that make them attractive to students. Since the tuition is paid by the student rather than by public tax dollars, the cost to the family may be greater than the cost in a public university.

Financial aid is often available, based upon need. While some independent colleges are in the most competitive category for admission, others are looking for students in the top half of their graduating classes. In addition to the typical admission requirements of subjects, grades, and test scores, the independent colleges often take a closer look at individual students by requiring letters of recommendation and, sometimes, personal interviews. Most college prep students will meet the admission criteria of one or more campuses.

There are great differences in size, educational purpose, and emphasis among these institutions. Some are small and offer students a personalized campus. Some campuses may have a particular vocation or religious emphasis. There are 70 private colleges with over 125 possible majors available in California. Specific information about the requirements and educational opportunities available at any independent college in the United States may be obtained through the high school Career Center or directly from the institution.