The Application Process

Getting into a college or a trade school is similar to applying for a job – It requires an application.

In addition to the standard application, many colleges required additional information, including:

1. Diploma & transcripts

  • You can order your high school transcripts by calling, writing, requesting it via your high school’s website or visiting your school counseling department.
  • If you have been out of school for a period of time (2 to 5 years), call your high school to make sure that your records are still there. If not, you may need to call the district registrar to request a copy.
  • Most high schools will send your transcripts directly to the colleges you are applying to.

2. Write an essay about a proposed topic.
3. Get recommendation letters from teachers (Usually 3).
4. Pay a fee ($30-$50) to submit your application.

  • It is common for a college to waive the application fee for low income families. To learn more about application fee waivers and whether you may be eligible click here.



Timelines & Deadlines

The application process usually begins at the end of your junior year when you have:

  • Narrowed down your college list.
  • Started researching your financial aid options.
  • Received your SAT or ACT results.
  • Decided where to get recommendations.

Completing applications takes time. Ideally, your application packages should all be submitted before the New Year of your senior year of high school. But first, make sure all application deadlines don’t fall before that.

Getting your applications out the door as soon as you can gives you more time to make your final decision. Typically, schools will take 2-3 months to send a decision letter. If you’re curious about the status of your application, call the Admission’s Office or you can check online.


Advice & Resources

  • Writing the essay is probably the last thing that students complete in the application process. Check out these Top Ten Tips before you write your essay.
  • Your approach for getting letters of recommendations is fairly similar to getting references for a job. Watch and learn to find out what the differences are in this video!
  • Don’t forget about your schoolwork portfolio that shows your accomplishments both in and out of school.
  • College is expensive. Save when you can because these small fees can certainly add up. Read this article and learn about application fee-waivers.

To get other general tips and strategies on the application process click here. And for a further breakdown of a college application process timeline click here.