The Admissions Process

Once you select a college, university, vocational or technical school, you must apply to be admitted. On your admissions application, supply complete and accurate information. Failure to do so will delay your admittance or, in some cases, keep you from being admitted. Here's some basic information to know to complete the admissions process.

Standard or Regular Admission
For seniors: The complete admissions application must be submitted by a set date during your senior year. Although most college application submission dates fall between November 30 and March 15, you should call each college to which you are applying to find out what individual submission dates are. Acceptance notification usually takes place in the spring. If you have been accepted you must notify the college of intent by May 1.

Early Admission Program
For seniors: Outstanding academic achievers are sometimes admitted in early admissions programs, so be sure to contact individual schools for details on their early admissions programs.

Open Admissions
A good example of an open admissions college is the community college. These colleges offer admission to all students who apply as long as they a have a high school diploma or have passed the high school proficiency test (GED) or are at least 18 years old. Also, open admissions usually means no subject, grade point average, or entrance exam requirements. However, many of these schools do require you take an entrance exam at the time of registration.

Admissions Checklist
Requirements may vary but here are a few things you may need to provide when you apply for college:

  • Admission application, with your essay (if required);
  • Application fee (some waivers are available);
  • Extracurricular activities resume (if required);
  • Letters of recommendation from your teachers and others;
  • Official high school transcript, with your class rank;
  • SAT/ACT test scores;
  • A copy of your Social Security card;
  • Some medical records;
  • Application for on-campus housing.

Questions to Ask About Financial Aid When You Apply to a College or University:

  • Ask for all of the application materials needed to apply for financial aid. Find out if the college has its own form to submit, in addition to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Answer all questions. Don't leave anything blank.
  • Find out the deadlines for sending in your forms, and make sure you put them down on your calendar.
  • Determine whether any aid is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Ask an admissions or financial aid counselor when they expect you will be notified of the school's financial aid offer. Put the date down on your calendar.
  • Find out whether your demonstrated financial need will have any impact on the college's decision to admit you.
  • Request an overview of the entire financial aid program, including how to qualify for need-based aid, merit-based scholarships and talent-based scholarships.
  • Ask whether the college will reduce your financial aid award if you receive outside (private) scholarships.
  • Find out if your college of choice will meet all of your demonstrated financial need, and if so, for how many years.
  • Request an overview of all state financial aid programs that may be available to you.
  • Ask about payment options. Many colleges offer tuition payment plans that let you make installment payments for each semester's bill.
  • Find out how you can locate other sources of financial aid.
  • Make sure you do your research and learn about all types of student loans to make sure you get all the financing you need. In addition to federal student loans you should also consider private undergraduate student loans.

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