Private Colleges

California Independent Colleges

California's independent colleges and universities are an excellent choice for many students. There are over 75 nonprofit, independent colleges and universities in the state. The most important criteria for selecting a college or university is how well it fits with your personality, values, and goals. Because every nonprofit, independent college and university has a unique character, there will be at least one that fits your needs. Unlike the University of California or the California State University systems, each California nonprofit, independent college and university has its own governing board. This independence allows for a diverse set of college opportunities in California.

  • -The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) represents 76 California private nonprofit colleges and universities. AICCU members are incredibly diverse—ranging from large to small traditional liberal arts institutions, including nationally ranked research universities; colleges offering faith-based, performing and visual arts, and “non-traditional” programs of study; as well as professional schools that specialize in business, law, medicine, and more. Accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) is required for membership, as is fulfilling a public purpose through nonprofit status.
  • Provides information to help your college search.  After you identify the colleges and universities that interest you, expand your knowledge by visiting the individual campus websites. You can find links to the college sites in the Campus Facts section of this site.

How to apply to Private Schools?

The application process is a little different for private schools.  You should visit the website of the private school that you're interested in applying to and review how they would like you to apply.  Many private schools use the Common App, a not-for-profit organization that serves students and member institutions by providing an admission application – online and in print – to 456 member colleges.


  1. Applying via the Common App?

Once completed online or in print, copies of the Application for Undergraduate Admission can be sent to any number of participating colleges. The same is true of the School Report, Optional Report, Midyear Report, Final Report and Teacher Evaluation forms. This allows you to spend less time on the busywork of applying for admission, and more time on what's really important: college research, visits, essay writing, and senior year coursework.

As part of the application process, schools require a variety of information to be provided by teachers and guidance counselors who have interacted with you in the high school environment.  Now each teacher and counselor will have the option to complete the forms online via the Common App Online School Forms system if they desire. There is no cost to you or high schools, and using the online system is completely optional for your teachers and counselor.

To apply using the Common App, please visit