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Month-by-Month Application Steps Checklist - Freshmen

If you would like to apply to CSUSM and ACE Scholars Services, please do all of the following during the specified months. If you have any questions, please contact us at or 760-750-4ACE (4223).


Step 1: Register for either the October or November SAT or ACT tests. Cal State San Marcos must receive scores by February 15th, so be sure to request that your scores are sent to CSUSM (SAT code for CSUSM: 5677; ACT code for CSUSM: 272). *PLEASE NOTE: CSU campuses have suspended the use of ACT/SAT exams in determining admission eligibility.

Step 2: At the start of your senior year in high school (the first week of school) meet with your school counselor to be sure you are meeting college prep requirements (A-G coursework) needed for admission to CSUSM.



Step 3:Start researching scholarship opportunities including those specifically for foster youth such as Just in Time for Foster Youth, The San Diego Foundation, Promises2Kids, Foster Care to Success and Fostering Opportunities Dollars for Scholars. Be mindful of application deadlines.

Step 4: Find an adult who will agree to be your College Application Mentor to support you throughout the college application process. This could be your CASA Volunteer, school counselor, social worker, teacher or mentor. Your College Application Mentor will receive information and email communications from ACE Scholars Services to assist you in the application process from October, when you begin your college application, until August when you begin the Fall semester at CSUSM.

Step 5: Complete and submit the ACE Scholars Services application.




Step 6: Complete and submit the California State University application on Cal State Apply. Be sure to include California State University San Marcos as one of your choices.

Step 7: Complete and submit the form for the FSA ID (formerly known as the Federal Personal Identification Number, or PIN). You will need this FSA ID (made up of a username and password) to complete your financial aid application.

Step 8: Complete and submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) BEGINNING OCTOBER 1 (*2024-2025 FAFSA OPENS JANUARY 2024)Do not wait for the March 2nd deadline to do this! The sooner, the better.

Step 9: Fill out the application for the California Chafee Grant for Foster Youth. (IMPORTANT: This grant is available to foster youth on a limited basis — getting it done in October may increase your chances of receiving it.) April 2nd deadline for 2024-2025.

Step 10: Ask your social worker to scan/email or mail your Verification of Dependency letter (this is a requirement for moving forward with your ACE Scholars Services Application):

ACE Scholars Services
California State University San Marcos
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Rd. Administrative Building 3400
San Marcos, CA 92096-0001

* Applications to CSU San Marcos for Fall 2024 close on February 16th. There are no exceptions, we recommend that you complete and submit your application by the end of October.*



Step 11: Make sure you submitted your ACE Scholars Services application (refer to SEPTEMBER) and the California State University San Marcos and FAFSA applications (refer to OCTOBER).

Step 12: From this point on, check your email every day. CSUSM and ACE Scholars Services communicate with students through email about important deadlines, requests for documents and so on. It’s important to take care of any email requests right away.

*Applications to CSU San Marcos for Fall 2024 close on February 16th. There are no exceptions*



Step 13: Be sure that your school counselor sends your Grade Point Average (GPA) Verification form which is required for you to qualify for a Cal Grant. March 2nd deadline. Your school may submit it electronically, or mail it to:

California Student Aid Commission
Cal Grant Operations
P.O. Box 419077
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9077

*Deadline for submitting the FAFSA, Chafee Grant, and GPA Verification is April 2nd for 2024-2025. However, it is HIGHLY recommended that all are completed as early as possible*



Step 14: Set up a free account at the California Student Aid Commission site which allows you to keep track of Cal Grant and Chafee applications, aid awards, change of address, change of college choice and so on.

Step 15: Schedule your personal, on-campus interview with ACE Scholars Services staff; this is a requirement for participation in the program. This is the final step in the application process so you will know if you are accepted into the ACE Scholars Services program at this point.

*Deadline for the FAFSA, Chafee, and GPA Verification is April 2nd for 2024-2025. It is HIGHLY recommended that it all be completed as soon as possible*



Step 16: Remember to file your intent to enroll at CSUSM by the May 15th deadline. If you miss this deadline, you miss out on your chance to attend CSUSM. No exceptions!

Step 17: Once you have been accepted to Cal State San Marcos, go to the Checklist for Admitted Students.

Step 18: Submit a request to your school counselor to send your final transcript to CSUSM. Transcripts must be received at CSUSM by July 15th.

Step 19: ALL ACE Scholars are required to live in on-campus housing during the freshman year, so you will need to apply for on-campus student housing.



Step 20: Register for student orientation in early June. Be sure to be available for the summer Early Start program (6 weeks, from late June to late July). This is a requirement for ACE Scholars freshmen. No exceptions!


Please contact us at or 760-750-4ACE (4223).