California's nonprofit, independent colleges and universities are often referred to as "private." Nonprofit, independent colleges and universities are not state-supported, unlike the University of California, California State University, or California Community College systems. California is home to more than 75 unique nonprofit, independent colleges and universities. They focus on the individual student. Because each nonprofit, independent college and university is unique, admission requirements vary. Applicants for admission are evaluated for past achievement, future promise, and "fit" with the schools' missions and goals. All applications are treated as individuals and are personally evaluated. Generally, admission requirements at nonprofit, independent colleges and universities fall into four categories:
- Schools with admission requirements similar to the University of California;
- Schools with admission requirements similar to the California State University system;
- Schools that accept only the top students in the world; and
- Schools with very specific requirements, in addition to a well-rounded curriculum, related to their specialty - for example, in the visual or performing arts.