College applications can be complicated. Use these tips to help.
There are many steps you need to take before you begin your first class.
- Schedule a campus visit or attend an admission event for adult learners.
- Make an appointment with someone in student services or admissions that supports adult learners. They can help you navigate through the admissions process.
- Order your transcripts from any previous colleges you attended or your high school.
- Complete any required admissions tests or placement evaluations and assessments.
- Fill out the admissions application. This can often be done online (see application forms below). Some admission requirements may not apply to older students. Although usually not required, you might want to include your resume, a list of education you have had since high school, or an online portfolio with your application.
- Apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There is no age limit for federal or state aid.
- Once accepted, make an advising or counseling appointment to help chose your class schedule and make a graduation plan.
- Sign up for classes.
Each school, or type of school, will have its own application form:
- State colleges and universities. A single application form can be used at any of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities in Minnesota. Applications can be found at the state college or university location, or online at www.mnscu.edu.
- Private colleges, universities, and career colleges. For private institutions, you'll need to contact each individually for applications. You can also check the Minnesota Private Colleges Council or the Minnesota Career College Association for information and links.
- University of Minnesota. Request an application from the admissions office at the campus that interests you: Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Morris, or Rochester.
- For other colleges, check if the college accepts the Common Application. Instead of filling out separate applications for each school, you may use the common application to apply to multiple schools. Many private colleges accept the common application.
Things to Remember
Whichever application you're filling out, follow these tips:
- Look for application instructions in the school's catalog or on their website and follow them exactly. Don't hesitate to ask someone for help.
- Always make copies of everything you submit.
- Wait two to six weeks for a response to your applications.
Create a Checklist
Since each school has different application requirements, you need to keep track of the following tasks for each school you apply to:
- Application fees. If the fee presents a financial hardship, ask if you can have it waived.
- Application deadlines. Many private college deadlines are early, often in January or February for priority status. State colleges and universities welcome admission applications throughout the year.
- Transcripts and other certificates. Is a high school transcript or GED certificate required?
- Test scores. Are ACT, SAT, or TOEFL test scores required? Undergraduate admissions tests are used for admission and/or placement at many schools, but may not be required of adults (especially at two-year colleges). If you are applying for a graduate or professional program, you may need to take a graduate admissions test.
- Essays. A short essay or personal statement may be required. If you've been out of school for some time, you may want to submit a personal statement even if it is not required to give you an opportunity to describe your background, academic interests, and motivation.
- Letters of recommendation. If you've been out of school for some time, you should compile references from employers or professional acquaintances who can comment positively on your abilities.
Remember to keep all of your school information and applications in one place.