How to Apply for College

Applying to a college or university is a varied experience depending on what type of institution you plan to attend. The application process can be long and involved for a four-year institution while applying to a community college or open admissions university is quick and simple. A few basic steps will help you streamline the application process no matter where you go.


    • 1

      Download an application or fill one out online. Most four-year colleges, universities and community colleges offer an application online for download or sometimes you can fill out the form and submit it on your computer. Carefully fill out the application with all of the required information.

    • 2

      Write a catchy application essay. Some colleges and universities require that students write an essay in order to apply. The application essay usually addresses the student's desire to attend the particular college and asks about prior accomplishments and motivations for pursuing a college degree in general.

    • 3

      Gather the required materials from your school counselor before you apply. Most colleges will ask for an official high school transcript and possibly letters of recommendation from your teachers. Be sure to get these materials together well in advance of the application deadline.

    • 4

      Fill out student aid papers if necessary. The majority of college students receive some type of financial aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is easily downloadable and will get you government aid if it's available and you qualify.

    • 5

      Complete an application for student housing. Some colleges and universities require students to live on campus at the beginning of their college career. If your school requires it, apply for housing and carefully consider your answers to questions of roommate preference.

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