Education Encyclopedia - StateUniversity.com » Answers to Your Questions about College

Apply for College

apply for college apply to college

Applying for college is a big step and it can change the course of your life. So when you apply to college, have fun with it and imagine where you might end up, but also make sure that you treat it with due seriousness. It’s always important to read all the instructions, pay attention to the details, and ensure your application packages are complete!

Choosing Colleges to Apply To

First things first. Before you apply to college, you must first find some schools you would like to attend. However, it is prudent to choose and apply to at least three colleges. Some colleges can be quite competitive, others might give admission preference to students living in the local area, etc. So it’s always good to have a back-up plan in case your first choice for a college doesn’t pan out for some reason.

Look at the U.S. News and World Report’s college rankings. Read the websites of potential schools. Consider such things as whether you want to attend college close to home or far away, what kind of major you would like to study, and expected costs. When you have made your choices, then write down a final list of the colleges you will be applying to.

Documentation Needed from the Colleges You Apply To

You should gather the documentation you will need to apply to college. This includes official copies of your high school transcripts, or else you should request that they be sent to the colleges you want to apply for if your high school does not directly give them to students, and a copy of your SAT or ACT test scores. Colleges will consider both your grade point average (GPA) and test scores in their admission decision.

If you are applying for financial aid at the same time you are applying for college, you will also need to produce your latest tax return, if you had to file one, and your parents’ latest tax return.

Colleges’ Online and Paper Applications

When you apply for college, you can typically choose whether you would like to apply online or apply using a paper application that you then send by mail to the college. Applying online is a faster option, but you will need to create an account with the college’s online system, which includes picking out a user name and a password and storing them in a safe place. Alternatively, you can pick up a paper application from the college itself to fill out, or you can often go to the college’s website and print out a PDF application form there.

Application Fees for College

Colleges generally require you to pay an application fee. This fee accompanies your application and goes towards administrative costs. You can pay the fee by credit card, personal check, or as otherwise directed by the college.

Other Application Elements from Colleges Being Applied To

Some colleges may have other application requirements, such as an essay, letters of recommendation, or a portfolio. These items are requested so that the college may gain a better picture of you as an applicant as well as your abilities. Make sure you follow all the instructions, and then put your best foot forward!

Application Dates from Colleges

Make sure you know when the application period is for each college you are applying to; this is when the college accepts applications for a specific term. You should aim to apply for college as soon as the application period opens; don’t wait for the last day to apply, as you may just miss your opportunity!

Note that at many colleges you have the option of applying for fall or spring semesters, while at other colleges, they accept applications for fall semesters only.

Notification

Colleges will let you know if you have been admitted or not via email or mail, according to their specific policies. However, if you still haven’t heard anything by the time they indicated you should have already heard back, then feel free to get in touch with them.

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