Selecting the Right College for You in the Inland Empire

By Inland Empire Success | June 17, 2024

Interested in going to college in the Inland Empire but don’t know where to begin? This guide will get you started.

In the Inland Empire, you have access to fantastic colleges and universities that can help you build a successful and fulfilling future. Let’s explore how you can make the most of these opportunities!

Why does college matter?

College unlocks a world of possibilities. A college degree helps you earn more money and find exciting careers. College graduates in California on average earn over $7,000 more per year than people with only a high school diploma.

College is also a place where you can grow as a person and learn new things. It gives you the skills and knowledge to follow your dreams and make a difference in the world. By focusing on your future, college helps you build a fulfilling and successful life.

The Inland Empire: Your Higher Education Hub!

The Inland Empire offers a fantastic range of colleges and universities, all within your reach. Whether you’re into hands-on learning, want to transfer to a prestigious university, or dream of a vibrant campus life, there’s a perfect fit for you right here! Let’s explore the exciting options:

  • Community Colleges: These affordable colleges offer a fantastic launchpad for your future. You can explore your interests with a variety of associate degree programs, from business and computer science to nursing and paralegal studies. Community colleges also offer amazing transfer pathways, allowing you to seamlessly transition to a 4-year university after completing your associate degree.
  • California State Universities (CSUs): The Inland Empire boasts two renowned California State Universities – California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB) and California State University, San Bernardino Palm Desert Campus (CSUSB PDC). These public universities offer a broad spectrum of bachelor’s degrees in fields like engineering, education, social sciences, and the arts. They’re known for their excellent academics, vibrant student life, and focus on affordability.
  • University of California (UC): The University of California, Riverside (UCR) is located in the heart of the Inland Empire. UCR is a prestigious research university offering a world-class education with bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in a vast array of fields, from science and technology to humanities and medicine.

This is just a taste of the incredible options available to residents of the Inland Empire! Remember, each college has its unique strengths. Take your time, explore your interests, and discover the Inland Empire college that perfectly aligns with your dreams!

Finding the Right College for You in the Inland Empire

Choosing the right college starts with understanding yourself. What are you passionate about? Think about what subjects or activities excite you the most. 

Do you enjoy hands-on learning, where you get to do things yourself, or do you prefer learning through lectures and books? 

Consider your ideal learning environment. Would you thrive in a lively, bustling campus or a quieter, more peaceful setting? 

Do you want to be at a large university or a smaller college where everyone knows each other?

Your academic goals are a big part of your decision. Your choice of school should offer all the opportunities you need to pursue your interests. Look at the majors, minors, and certificates they offer. If you aren’t sure which major you’re interested in, a school with many different programs might be the best choice for you. 

Visit our directory of Inland Empire colleges to get started. There you’ll find information about every school in the region, including links to their websites. 

College life isn’t just about classes. It’s also an experience. Are you excited about attending sports games and being part of a big sports community? Or maybe you’re more interested in joining clubs and activities. 

Also consider where you want to live – in a dorm on campus, in an apartment off campus, or at home. 

The location of the college matters too. Do you want to be in a big city with lots of things to do, or in a quieter suburb with a close-knit community? Picture yourself on campus and think about what feels right for you.

Finding the right college is a mix of understanding what you want to study, how you like to learn, and the kind of life you want to live. Take your time, do your research, and choose a place where you can see yourself happy and successful.

Lots of Ways to Afford College in the Inland Empire

College can be expensive, but there’s help! Financial aid can make college more affordable. There are several sources of financial aid available to you. Some are directly through the school, while others are through federal and state government programs, or private institutions.

Scholarships are a common type of financial aid. They are like gifts of money that you don’t have to pay back. Scholarships typically are merit-based, meaning you earn them by doing well in school or excelling in activities, like sports or the arts. Some scholarships are need-based, which means they are reserved for students who need financial help. 

Grants are similar to scholarships and are usually more focused on the student’s financial need.

Work-study programs are another way to help pay for college. In a work-study program you can earn money by working part-time while you attend school. 

Most colleges have financial aid offices with people who can help you understand and apply for these opportunities. To receive financial aid of any kind, you will need to submit an application before the aid deadline. Click here to learn more about how the financial aid process works.

The College Application Process: Demystifying the Steps

Applying to college involves several key steps. By staying organized and completing each step, you can successfully apply to the colleges of your choice.

  1. Organize your documents. Gather your high school transcripts and letters of recommendation from teachers. Don’t have a letter of recommendation yet? Don’t worry. Here are some ideas for how to get them.
  2. Testing. Take a standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. Click here for some free test preparation resources.
  3. Write an essay. Write a personal statement or essay to share your story and why you want to attend college. Be sure to check the requirements of the school you want to apply to. Click here for advice on how to write a personal statement.
  4. Fill out applications. Complete the application forms for each college. These forms can be complicated!  Allow yourself plenty of time. If paying application fees is a challenge, most schools offer free or discounted application fees to applicants who meet income requirements. 
  5. Keep track of deadlines. Make sure to check and meet all deadlines. By staying organized and completing each step, you can successfully apply to the colleges of your choice.

You’ve Got This! 

Choosing the right college is a big project, but you’ve got this! Take your time, use the resources available to you, and keep track of deadlines. 

Remember, it’s all about finding the best fit for you. Congratulations on taking these important steps toward your future. You’re well on your way to an amazing college experience. 

Inland Empire Success is the IE’s go-to resource for college admissions and financial aid. Be sure to explore our site for more helpful information. Consider signing up for a workshop, watch a video, or read more articles. We’re here to help you succeed!