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. TheClassroom College Search offers profiles including costs, map, and acceptance rates. For example, Stanford University has a 5% acceptance rate, while Arizona State University has a 83% acceptance rate. Arizona State University's mission is to be "measured not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed." 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. Once your list of potential schools is set and matches your criteria, many schools offer tours and admission fairs for prospective students -- some offer virtual tours.

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 may 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.


  • If you plan on living on or near campus, apply for housing as soon as you receive your acceptance letter.
  • Check with the school's registrar to see if you can register for classes online.

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