How to Enroll in College

by Sampson Quain
A freshman student arriving with bags on her car at college.

Whether you are a senior in high school or an adult who wants to get a degree, enrolling in college is the first step toward achieving your goal. With the number of schools available, you may find it daunting to navigate all the ins and outs to find the institution that best matches your needs. It is important to know and follow all the deadlines, because if you do meet all the enrollment deadlines, you may soon be on your way to attending college.

Research schools to determine what institution meets all your criteria. Purchase U.S. News & World Reports' annual survey of colleges, or visit websites to obtain profiles on hundreds of colleges. List potential schools and write down tuition, admission requirements and unique qualities for each institution. Get advice from your high school guidance counselor or from an admissions officer if you are not in high school. Many schools offer tours and admission fairs for prospective students.

Fill out an admissions application for the school you select. Many schools allow you to submit your application online, as well as through the mail. The application process is likely to require submission of high school transcripts and scores from required college entrance examinations, such as the ACT and the SAT.

Applicants are informed of an admission decision by letter or email with instructions on the next steps for enrolling.

Apply for financial assistance, if applicable, by calling the school's aid office. The school can provide you with information on all loans available to you, as well as any grants or scholarships for which you qualify. The most common type of federal loan application is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, which you can access on the Internet.

Register for classes by attending a registration session, which often happens in conjunction with orientation. Submit any legal documents or proofs of vaccination required for official registration. Select your schedule of classes and pay your tuition. Some schools allow you to pay a portion of the tuition at registration and the remainder during your first semester.

About the Author

Sampson Quain is a screenwriter and filmmaker who began writing in 1996. He has sold feature and television scripts to a variety of studios and networks including Columbia, HBO, NBC, Paramount and Lionsgate. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in screenwriting from the University of Southern California.

Photo Credits

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