Application Process


The high school application process can be exciting, daunting, self-affirming, confusing, or all of the above. We are here to help!

A student’s application to College Prep consists of a Student Statement, a student questionnaire, a parent questionnaire, an interview, a standardized test, teacher recommendations, two years worth of school transcripts, and a family information sheet. Taken together, this information allows us to learn about the student as a scholar and a person. No one piece of the application carries more weight than any other. An applicant’s file is typically read by five members of the Admission Committee. In addition to looking for a strong academic fit between the student and College Prep, the Admission Committee pays special attention to each student's willingness to contribute to the lives of others.

We hope that you make good use of our website. It is an excellent place to learn about many aspects of College Prep. When you inquire online, you will receive an application packet. The packet includes a curriculum guide, a school profile, a viewbook, and more. The packet is a good place to write down questions and track your application progress with the included checklist.

Most prospective College Prep students come to the school for a half-day visit during the fall of their eighth grade year, complete the College Prep application, and participate in a brief interview with a member of the College Prep Admissions Committee.

Application Timeline

September 2013

  • Application forms available from the College Prep Admissions Office by clicking here.
  • Register for the Independent School Entrance Examination here or for the SSAT here; Note: The ISEE may be taken at College Prep on January 19, 2014; More information about entrance exams can be found by clicking on the tab labeled "Testing" on the Application Process page.
  • Call Vanessa Ortega in the Admission Office at (510) 652-4364 x1 on or after September 9 to schedule a half-day student visit.
  • Please visit our website to schedule a parent tour (optional) or contact Jonathan Zucker in the Admission Office at (510) 652-4364 to reserve a space.

October 2013

  • Please visit our website  to schedule a parent tour (optional) or contact Jonathan Zucker in the Admission Office at (510) 652-4364 to reserve a space.
  • Sunday, October 13, 2013: Open House #1 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. 

November 2013

  • Half-day visits continue
  • Sunday, November 10, 2013: Open House #2 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

December 2013

  • Half-day visits continue
  • Saturday, December 7, 2013: Open House #3 from 1:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. (sign up here).

January 2014

  • Half-day visits continue
  • Tuesday, January 7, 2014: Financial-aid workshop at 6:00 p.m.
  • Thursday, January 9, 2014: Admissions Diversity Evening at 7:00 p.m. (sign up here)
  • Saturday, January 11, 2014: Interview Day #1
  • Thursday, January 16, 2014: Application deadline.
  • Thursday, January 16, 2014: Financial aid application deadline.
  • Sunday, January 19, 2014: ISEE administered at College Prep, 10 a.m. (check-in at 9:30 a.m.)
  • Saturday, January 25, 2014: Interview Day #2

February 2014

  • Saturday, February 1, 2014: Interview Day #3
  • Saturday, February 1, 2014: Last day to take ISEE or SSAT for scores to be considered for the College Prep application.
  • Monday, February 24, 2014: Tax forms (2013 - Form 1040) due for new financial aid applicants.

March 2014

  • Thursday, March 13, 2014: notification by mail of admission decisions and financial aid awards.
  • Wednesday, March 19, 2014: Deadline for responses from financial aid candidates with offers (by noon).
  • Friday, March 21, 2014: Deadline for responses from non-financial aid candidates with offers (by noon).

April 2014

  • Registration and placement tests for newly enrolled students (dates to be announced).

May 2014

  • New Parent Orientation (date to be announced).

Student Visit

There is no better way to get a feel for College Prep than walking the grounds, observing classes, and talking to students and faculty members.


We encourage all interested students to come for a half-day visit to College Prep to observe classes and experience our community first hand. You do not have to submit an application to visit College Prep.

Visits begin in October and conclude in January. In a typical week, we will host visitors both morning and afternoon on four days. Morning visits are usually from 8:45 a.m. until 12:05 p.m. and afternoon visits are typically from 12:30 p.m. until 3:10 p.m. Upon arrival, you will be introduced to your host (a current ninth-grade College Prep student), who will take you to classes and answer any questions you might have. You might even get to answer a math question or two!

Please call Vanessa Ortega at (510) 652-4364 x1 on or after September 9 to schedule your visit. At that time, please inform us if there are specific classes you would like to visit or if there is a particular ninth-grade host you would like to have show you around. To the best of our ability we will try to accommodate your requests. Because classes at College Prep are so small, we can only accommodate a handful of visitors each day, so please have a few dates in mind when scheduling your visit.

Since the two visitor parking spaces are often in use, visiting parents may park in any available parking spot in our lot (with the exception of spaces marked for van use) when dropping off their student. Directions to the school may be found here. All visitors should check-in at the Admission Office. Follow the main path up campus and the Admission Office will be on your left, across from the Main Office, just past the Buttner Auditorium. At the conclusion of the visit, your child will be walked down to the parking lot.

Open House

College Prep will host three open houses in the fall. Attending an open house is a great way to see College Prep in action.

You will have the opportunity to talk to teachers, current students, coaches, and administrators as well as attend mini-classes and tour the beautiful campus.

You do not need to have an application on file to attend an open house, though reservations are required. Open houses are for prospective students and parents alike.

All open houses begin promptly at 1:00 p.m. in the Buttner Auditorium and end by 3:30 p.m. 

This year's open house schedule is as follows: 

  • Sunday, October 13, 2013, 1 p.m. (This open house is now full)
  • Sunday, November 10, 2013, 1 p.m (This open house is now full)
  • Saturday, December 7, 2013, 1 p.m. (This open house is now full)

Thank you to everyone who attended an open house this year. We saw almost 1,000 people over the course of three open houses!


College Prep requires that all applicants take either the Independent School Entrance Exam (ISEE) or the Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) as part of the application process.

The Admission Office has no preference between the ISEE and the SSAT.

ISEE Information

You may register to take the ISEE exam online. Registration begins in late August and costs $100. The 2013-2014 ISEE student guide is available here. A free study guide, What to Expect on the ISEE, is available directly from the ISEE or may purchase the book for $20 directly from ISEE.

Applicants should indicate on the ISEE registration form that College Prep is to receive test scores. The ISEE code number for College Prep is 052192. The ISEE will be given at College Prep on Sunday, January 19, 2014 at 10 am. Applicants need not take the test at College Prep; several test dates and local sites are available. Testing dates, sites, and registration deadlines are listed in the Student Guide under “East Bay Consortium.” Early registration is advised, as local test sites fill up quickly. Applicants must take the test no later than February 1, 2014 for scores to be considered for the College Prep application.

A limited number of ISEE fee waivers are available for families with need. Please call the Admission Office at (510) 652-4364 to request a fee waiver.

SSAT Information

You may register to take the SSAT online at their website. A study guide, The Official Guide to the Upper Level SSAT, is available for $35. The testing fee for the SSAT is $120.

Students may take the SSAT at a number of Bay Area locations. A student registration guide, which includes local testing sites as well as registration information, is available from the College Prep Admission Office or directly from SSAT. There are five SSAT testing dates (all Saturdays) that occur in time for scores to be considered for the College Prep application. These are October 12, November 9, December 7, January 4, and February 1. The registration deadline for each of these tests is approximately three weeks prior to the test date. Applicants should indicate on the SSAT registration form that College Prep is to receive test scores. The SSAT code number for College Prep is 2484.


As part of the admission process, each applicant is required to meet with a member of the Admission Committee.

The interview is an opportunity for applicants to ask questions about College Prep and to discuss their interests and goals for high school. The interview is always only one student with one interviewer and usually lasts around twenty minutes.

At College Prep, the interview occurs on a different day than the student visit. Please call Vanessa Ortega at (510) 652-4364 x1 to schedule an appointment for one of our interview days. Interviews occur on three Saturdays:

  • Saturday, January 11, 2014
  • Saturday, January 25, 2014
  • Saturday, February 1, 2014

Interviews time slots are available beginning at 9:00 a.m. and every half an hour until 2:30 p.m. We are happy to accommodate students who cannot make any of the above dates.

For students who may be nervous or who have not been in an interview before, here are a few pieces of advice.

  • Be yourself; Don't say what you think the interviewer will find impressive. Talk about what you love to do, both in school and for fun.

  • Ask questions; It is a good idea to ask questions specifically about College Prep. Maybe you are curious about the track team, or want to know more about visual arts or the progression through the English department. Asking questions will demonstrate to the interviewer that you have done some thinking about our school (and you will also get your questions answered!). Ideally, the interview should be equally useful to the applicant and to the school.

  • Don't over-prepare; A natural conversation is much better than listing your accomplishments or trying to sound impressive. The College Prep interview does not follow a script or use set questions. You may be speaking with a math teacher, the Head of School, the Associate Athletic Director, etc. Each interviewer has his or her own style and technique. That being said, spend some time prior to the interview thinking about what you are looking for from your high-school experience. If you are nervous, it is fine to let your interviewer know!

Parent Tour

Parents of current eighth graders are invited to take an optional tour of campus to see the facilities and ask questions in a small-group setting. You must reserve space to attend a tour (no drop-ins) so we can keep the tours small.

All parent tours begin at 9:30 am and meet at the Admission Office. This year, parent tours will be offered on the following dates:

Please note: Parent tours have concluded for this admission season and will begin again in Fall 2014.

  • September 23 (Monday) FULL
  • September 26 (Thursday) FULL
  • October 3 (Thursday) FULL
  • October 7 (Monday) FULL
  • October 10 (Thursday) FULL
  • October 14 (Monday) FULL
  • October 17 (Thursday) FULL
  • October 21 (Monday) FULL
  • October 24 (Thursday) FULL
  • November 4 (Monday) FULL
  • November 7 (Thursday) FULL
  • November 14 (Thursday) FULL
  • November 18 (Monday) FULL
  • November 21 (Thursday) FULL
  • November 26 (Tuesday) FULL
  • December 2 (Monday) FULL
  • December 5 (Thursday) FULL
  • December 9 (Monday) FULL
  • December 12 (Thursday) FULL
  • December 16 (Monday) FULL
  • December 19 (Thursday) FULL

Parking and Directions: There may or may not be parking spots available in our lot when you arrive for a parent tour.  You are free to park in any spot in the lot except those marked for van use. Directions to College Prep can be found here.