Planning for College or Trade School

Getting Admitted

After you've decided what colleges you want to apply to, get an application for admission from each school's admissions office or website. Complete and return the application. Pay attention to deadlines.

Make arrangements to have your high school transcript sent to the school. Get a housing application if you're going to live on campus and submit it as soon as possible. Find out about deposits, orientations and registering for classes. After you've been accepted, notify the school of your decision and let the other schools you've applied to know you won't attend.

If you have questions or don't understand something, ask your parents, guidance counselor or the admissions director at the college.

Find out what tests are required and the deadlines for submitting the results. Be sure to confirm this information with the school. If you've taken the required tests, check with the school to make sure it has your results. It's up to you to make sure you've taken the correct tests and that the results have been reported.

Some schools use an enrollment contract to explain what you can expect them to give you for your money. Read the contract carefully before you sign it. A representative of the school may promise you things that aren't in the contract, such as help finding a job. If the representative makes you a promise, ask him or her to write the promise on the contract and sign and date it. A promise is usually not enforceable in court unless it's in writing.

Early Decision and Early Action

In Early Decision, you make a commitment to enroll in a school if you are admitted. You have to withdraw all other applications and make a nonrefundable deposit by a date well before May 1. One possible disadvantage to Early Decision is that it may mean you don't have any leverage in negotiating a better financial aid package from the school you choose.

With Early Action, you apply to your preferred school and receive a decision before the normal response date. You don't have to enroll at the institution or make a deposit before May 1.

For more information, including deadline and notification dates, contact the admissions office of the school you are interested in attending.