What Papers Do We Need to Apply and Register for College?

by Dr. Sabrina Prieur

Applying and registering for college can be a daunting task for many students. Even with the advent of personal computers and the mainstreamed use of electronic document submission, some tasks still require students to come into the registrar's office or to contact the admissions department. While registration and admission requirements can vary between institutions, you will need a few basic documents no matter where you choose to attend school.

Verify Your Identity

Since a large number of private and public colleges and universities receive federal grants and other money from the government, verifying students' identities is vital. Colleges accept only official forms of identification. For example, Calhoun Community College in Decatur, Ala., requires a valid government-issued photo ID, or two forms of ID such as a Social Security card, birth certificate or military ID.

Previous Education Transcripts

If you are a first-year freshman and have never before attended college, you will your high school transcript, which includes a complete record of your high school courses. If you are already a college student and are transferring to another institution, you will generally need only copies of your previous college's transcript, but it can't hurt to have your high school transcripts just in case. Even though the University of California, for example, will let you apply online without submitting transcripts, you are required to submit transcripts upon acceptance before you can register. Most colleges require official transcripts that are sent directly from the high school or presented in the high school's official sealed envelope.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid Forms

Students who are seeking financial aid are required to fill out the FAFSA form. While it is usually completed on a computer, a paper version is also available. The FAFSA will determine the student's total financial need, based upon the parents' income and assets, and the cost of education. Based on this data, students can be awarded grant and loan money that is sent directly to the college. Colleges will not offer students institutional-based aid or other financial services without the completion and receipt of this information.

Standardized Test Scores

Test scores such as the SAT, ACT, MAT, GRE and GMAT are the most common ones associated with registration and admission requirements for undergraduate and graduate students. While some institutions, such as the University of California, may admit you without these scores, you cannot register without the school having received the test information. Additionally, test scores are needed to help students register for ability-appropriate math and English courses.

Degree Audit Forms

The degree audit form details what classes the student has already taken and what classes are still needed to complete a degree program. Degree audits are generally completed in the student's college adviser's office before registration so students and advisers can decide which classes should be taken each semester. Degree audits prevent students from taking courses that will not count toward their degrees, helping to expedite graduation.

About the Author

Sabrina Prieur is an expert on education, health, fitness, physical education and sports/athletics. She has a BS in health and physical education, a master's degree in education, and a PhD in leadership with a concentration in sports management and administration. A collegiate professor and athletics administrator, she's taught and coached various sports in the public schools and inner city.

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