College Admissions

College Applications 101

Applying to college is exciting, and there are a lot of materials you’ll need to gather when you submit your application. Most applications are online, so you won’t need to worry about your handwriting, but you will need to keep track of a lot of paperwork. These tips will take the guesswork out of college applications.

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There are several types of admissions that you need to be aware of when applying to college. Make sure you write each admissions date and type down in one place, or keep a spreadsheet, so that you know when to submit your admissions materials.

  • Regular admissions means there is a specific deadline, usually in December for the next fall’s enrollment.

  • Rolling admissions means that students are accepted on a continuing basis with a later deadline.

  • Early decision/acceptance sometimes means that students apply earlier with the commitment that if accepted, they will attend. At USA, Early Admission applications are students who have completed their junior year of high school and wish to enroll prior to high school graduation.

Information You’ll Need When Submitting Your Application

  • Your basic information (name, phone, email, address, Social Security number, etc)

  • Resume or list of extracurricular activities

  • Credit card for application fees, typically anywhere from $35 to $70 per school

  • Official copies of your high school transcript (sent straight from your high school registrar to the university)

Score Reports You’ll Need to Order

Universities need official copies of scores, so make sure you order them from the testing organization well ahead of due dates to account for transit time. When you sit for the test, you can often indicate which schools should receive your scores, and they will automatically be sent to the institution.

  • Official SAT and ACT test scores (sent straight from the testing site, or, to the university)

  • If applicable, Advanced Placement (AP) test scores (sent straight from College Board to the university)

Other Materials

  • Your entrance essay (see school website for specific questions/prompts/requirements, if needed)

  • Recommendation letters (if required)

  • Scholarship essay materials and prompts

  • Don’t forget to start your FAFSA application early to see what aid you qualify for

Parents, check out this article about the parent’s role in the college applications process.


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