Applying for Admission


The first step in applying to college is to get an application.

Most colleges give you an option to fill out a written version or apply online.

Online applications can be found on the colleges’ websites. Usually, the application must be downloaded using a computer program like Adobe Acrobat (PDF) or Microsoft Word. Many colleges have online applications on their websites.  You may also be able to download the application. If you’d rather fill out a paper version, you can go to the school’s admission’s office and pick one up or ask them to mail an application to you.

If you are submitting a paper application, get two copies of the application (in case you mess up).

TIP: Have a backup plan. Apply to more than one school just in case you don’t get accepted into your first choice. Although you have your heart set on one school, it may be one of the hardest to get into.


Gather information you may need for to fill out and submit with your application. Below is a list of these items, however, how will want to check with your desired college to make sure you have what you need:

  • Social Security Number
  • Visa or permanent resident information
  • State driver’s license or identification card
  • Dates of high school attendance.
  • Dates of college attendance (if you’ve taken college-level classes before)
  • The program and degree you’re interested in

If you are incarcerated or if you are an ex-offender:

Some applications may ask about your criminal history. Pay careful attention to the way they ask the question. For exampleOther than traffic offenses, have you ever been convicted of any felony or other crime? If you were charged with a felony but then acquitted, you can answer No to this question. If you are not sure about the type of convictions you have, you should get a copy of your record and learn about what is on it. You may want to correct mistakes, or change what people can see on it. For information on how to clear up your criminal record (if appropriate), click here.

If you are from another country:

College applications usually ask your status: U.S. citizen, resident alien (they may ask for your green card number), refugee, or foreign citizen. (The college may ask for your passport, visa, and an I-20 form. You can find more information about student visas on the Education USA website.

If you have graduated high school, you will need a transcript to show proof. If the transcript is not in English, you will need it translated by an official translator. Private organizations will do credential evaluations for a fee, usually $100 or more. You can search on the Internet or in the phone book under credential evaluations for these businesses. The National Association of Credential Evaluation Services is one organization that provides this service.

If English is your second language:

You may be required to submit a score from a special test, like the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The TOEFL tests to see if you can use and understand English at the college level. You have to pay to take the test. If it’s difficult for you to pay, ask to see if you are eligible for the fee waiver. Depending on where you take the test, it may be on a computer or on paper. Visit Educational Testing Service for more information, including test-taking tips, information for people with disabilities and how to register for the test.

Other websites to help you prepare for the TOEFL include

  • 4Tests
    Allows you to take a practice TOEFL test assessing your listening, structuring, reading and writing skills.
  • About (ESL)
    The practice test consists of 33 questions. The tester will receive feedback once he is finished
  • * Project Learn of Summit County offers a number English-for-Speaker-of-Other-Languages classes throughout Summit and Portage counties. To learn more about these services, call 330-434-9461.
  • TIP: Schedule an appointment with a college career counselor at your desired post-secondary institution to go over any admissions questions you may have. She will help you decide what the best and most appropriate career choices are based on your strengths and weaknesses.


Before you complete official application, fill out a practice copy first. Doing a practice copy allows you to adjust your handwriting and change your answers. Once your correct your mistakes, copy them to a clean application that you will submit to your desired college.


The essay or writing sample is one of the most important parts of the college application. Not only do you get a chance to express yourself, but you’re making an impression on the college without seeing them in person.

Leave plenty of time to do your essays — more than likely, you’ll write a few drafts before getting to the version that is just right.

Optional sample of creative work

If it is required, include a creative writing sample, portfolio, or audition CD.

Recommendation forms

Appropriate people to ask for recommendations are Project Learn teachers, employers, or anyone other than a family member who can comment (favorably and in-depth) on your skills, integrity, and personality. Be sure to give them the enough notice of the application deadlines.

List of activities

This list should include all the professional or volunteer activities you participated in. Websites like can help you craft a professional résumé to submit with your application.

Fee or fee waiver form

A check or money order is required for the application fee, or, if you are requesting a waiver, check to see if the school has its own form.

TIP: Proofread your application. Make sure you fill out your application completely and haven’t left out any required information.


Make an extra copy of your application – in case it’s lost in the mail or your computer freezes while you’re trying to send it. Better to be safe than sorry.

The last step is to press SUBMIT if you’re filling out an online application or mailing it, if completed a paper version.

TIP: Watch those deadlines. There are different deadlines for admission applications, financial aid and transcripts.

TIP: Remember to include any application fees, if required.

TIP: Respond immediately to all questions and provide additional information, if contacted by  the college admissions department.