How To Apply To College
About College Applications
You have searched for colleges, and prepared for college, now you have to apply!
College Application Forms
A college application itself is a form, usually in an online format. What is referred to as "application materials" are the transcripts, college letters of recommendation, and test scores that you will also submit for review. Each school may require that you use a specific college application form, tailored to their school on their website, while many colleges use the Common Application that can be accessed on the Common Application website and sent to many schools.
The Common Application serves students and institutions by providing a college application form (online and in print) that students may submit to over 400 schools, representing a full range of higher education institutions. Once you complete your college search and have your list of colleges ready, check to see if these colleges work with the Common Application. Note that even if a school uses the common application they may also require additional application materials, such as an additional essay topic of their choice, so read the application rules carefully. Once you have identified what the application requires, make a list compiled of the elements you will need to get for each application and their deadlines. Most schools will require 2-3 letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, your highest test score (ACT or SAT) and 1-3 original admissions essays.
For the schools not working with the Common Application, find the phone number, address, and/or website for your school by using the HowToGetIn School Search box on this page and contact the school to request a college application form.
College Applications - Dates and Deadlines!
You should already have a list made with of all the deadlines you need to keep. Put this list somewhere important. In general, college application packets are due before January 1st. If January 1st is last date they can be received, send your application before this deadline. Missing an application deadline automatically means that you've missed your chance to apply — stay organized and don't miss out!
Filling Out College Applications
Most schools will allow you to apply online which saves you having to worry about loose sheets of paper, white-out and messy handwriting! Online college applications will generally let you fill them out at your own pace, and come back as often as you like until they are complete, and for security your data is encrypted and your private account can be accessed by you.
College admissions essays can be uploaded directly into your online application, and if you are using the common application online, each application you start will contain your profile information so that you don't have to re-enter it each time! You will also be provided a handy checklist to ensure that you are completing each step in the application process. It doesn't get much easier than that! The only factor you really need to mind is the time it takes to complete these applications in full.
If your school still accepts, or you choose to fill out a paper application, be especially wary of mailing before the deadline, and remember to print carefully and neatly.
Other Materials Required For College Applications
Explore the resources below to learn more about other application materials required, such as essays, transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation.
>> Learn more about Admissions Essays and tips on developing essay topics.
>> Learn when and how to request Letters of Recommendation.
>> Learn how Test Scores and Transcripts are used admissions.
>> Learn how to ace a College Interview.