College Admissions & Testing » College Admissions & Testing

College Admissions & Testing


Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get information about colleges and careers?

Your school counselors will be meeting with you individually, in a small group, and in large group settings to discuss your interests, values, and career choices. Our goal is to have an interest inventory and other assessments available to you, in order for you to be involved in career exploration activities at each grade level. Don’t hesitate to make a “College Planning Appointment” with your counselor to discuss planning for your future. In addition, BOHS students can access a wealth of resources for the rest of their lives if they have been assessed using Kuder Navigator, a career assessment, education and career planning, and career development program.

What do colleges look for?

First and foremost, college admissions people will evaluate your academic record. They will consider the rigor and variety of the courses you took. They will note the grades you earned in various subjects, your grade point average and your cumulative academic grade point average. Your academic record is almost always the most important factor in college admissions. It is never too late to improve. Senior year grades are also very important. Second, SAT, SAT Subject Tests, ACT are also very important. Before taking the test, most students familiarize themselves with the kinds of questions they will face and practice their test-taking skills. Third, your leadership in various organizations and/or community service is also highly important.

Counselor and teacher recommendations often are important factors. Some colleges do not ask for teacher recommendations, and a few do not require any recommendations. It is important that you follow the college instructions. Due to the high volume, the counselors and the registrar request that any and all applications that require a letter of recommendation and/or transcripts requests be presented to the counselor or registrar by the end of October at the latest.

The application form that you submit may help or hurt your chances substantially. A sloppy, ill-composed application may end your candidacy at a given college. Your essays and/or personal statement should be written by you in your best prose—no grammatical, spelling, punctuation, or stylist errors.

Again, your nonacademic activities and accomplishments, both in school and out, can also be a significant factor in college admissions. This tends to be the situation more often with selective colleges and definitely with the University of California. Be sure to let the colleges know about your participation in clubs, sports, athletics, leadership roles, community service, notable achievements, and jobs—both volunteer and paid. Colleges look for well-rounded, motivated, energetic leaders. Intensive participation in a few activities or projects usually is more significant than lesser involvement in a larger number. Be specific and detailed about important activities.

Where can I find a list of activities that I can be involved in and how can I get information about dates and times?

Brea Olinda High School activities, clubs, and sports are listed in the BOHS student planner. This information can also be found on the BOHS website as well as in the BOHS Activities Office.


What is the PSAT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test and when is it given?

The PSAT/NMSQT is a school-based test and it is given once a year on the third Saturday in October. Beginning in October, students may pay for this test through the Activities Office. The PSAT/NMSQT has several purposes. It provides practice for the SAT; acts as the qualifying test for the National Merit Scholarship Program (juniors only); offers insight, through comprehensive reports, into students’ readiness for college; and helps identify students for Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses. When students take the PSAT/NMSQT they are asked if they would like certain information sent to colleges, universities, and scholarship programs that request it from the College Board. This is the function of the Student Search Service. For more information go to

What is the difference between the PSAT and the ‘Mock’ PSAT/SAT?

The ‘Mock’ PSAT/SAT is an unofficial practice test that is not given nor reported by the College Board. It is simply for practice in preparation for taking the real thing. Only official PSATs and SATs is given by the College Board will be recognized for college entrance.

Should I take the PSAT in my sophomore year?

In recent years, the number of students taking the PSAT/NMSQT in tenth grade has increased significantly. An advantage for a sophomore to take the PSAT/NMSQT is that it allows extra practice for the SAT. In addition, the PSAT/NMSQT provides comprehensive information to help students identify skills that need improvement while there is still time to make a difference. On the other hand, sophomore students who have not completed geometry will usually find their math score does not necessarily reflect their ability. If students do take the PSAT/NMSQT before junior year, they should still take it again in the junior year for consideration in the scholarship and recognition program.

How should I prepare for the SAT?

The best preparation for the SAT is to continue with a strong course selection. Reviewing the PSAT results will also help guide your preparation. There are a variety of test prep materials now available to students. You may go online to the SAT Preparation Center where you will find practice questions on each section, including a full-length test. This is found online at as well as their "Question of the Day." Every day there is a new question and answer, with an explanation, from one of the three sections of the SAT. Other excellent resources for the SAT if the free SAT Preparation Booklet, 10 Real SATs, all published by the College Board. BOHS also offers SAT Prep courses. Be sure to check with your counselor for further information.

How many times should I take the SAT?

Both junior and senior SAT scores may be submitted. The majority of colleges and universities take the best verbal and best math scores. Your school counselors recommend that students take the SAT in the spring as a junior and October as a senior.

What exactly are the SAT II Subject Tests?

Subject Tests (formerly SAT II: Subject Tests) are designed to measure your knowledge and skills in particular subject areas, as well as your ability to apply that knowledge. Students take the Subject Tests to demonstrate to colleges their mastery of specific subjects like English, history, mathematics, science, and language. The tests are independent of any particular textbook or method of instruction. Not all colleges require SAT Subject Tests. Make sure you check the college or university’s requirements when considering your application. For more information, log onto

Should I take the ACT?

The ACT Assessment is designed to measure high school students’ college readiness and is made up of multiple-choice tests that cover four skill areas: English, mathematics, reading, and science. More information can be found at We suggest you take both the SAT and ACT practice tests and compare your performance.

What is the school's CEEB code?

Brea Olinda High School’s CEEB code is 050370.

How do I request a transcript to be sent to a university/college?

CLICK HERE to learn more about our services for ordering and sending transcripts electronically.


Videos for students, which discusses topics on finding the right college fit, choosing a major, understanding college costs, and even deciding whether to apply early action or early decision.

Each video is short, so students can learn a bit at a time.

Here's the link: Starting Your College Search [Video Course]


Each year, more than 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high schools in the U.S., but only a fraction continue on to college. For students like those at Brea Olinda High School, conflicting information about eligibility, legal rights and financial aid can be major barriers. With this in mind, we've created a college guide for undocumented students that addresses their key concerns:

  • Explanation of legal rights, including the DREAM Act and DACA
  • How to find and apply for colleges
  • Financial aid for undocumented students

You can review the free guide here: