College Application Requirements

The college application is one of the most important documents that a young person undertakes. College admission requirements will vary according to the institution issuing them, but many are very similar. Below is a list of the general requirements for college application:

Application Form:

This is the first step. It may be direct to the college via their own application form, or using one of two systems – the Common Application, or Universal Application.

Teacher and Counselor Recommendations:

Most colleges will ask for recommendations – one from the counsellor, plus one or two of your teachers for academic subjects taken in junior or senior years. Check with each institute about whether these should be submitted via post or electronically. These are a useful tool in assessing what kind of student an applicant may be. It is sensible to ask teachers you feel know you well and can show you in your best light.

Reports and Transcripts:

During the application process, applicants are asked to submit their midyear grade report and a high school transcript. These gives colleges an early insight into how well you are doing and what your average GPA is. Colleges will be able to see how well you have performed during your high school years and will be mostly looking at academic subjects.

Standardized Tests:

Most colleges accept either the SAT or ACT. Regarding the SAT, this will usually be the standard SAT exam which tests math, critical reading and writing. Most colleges, though not all, will expect students to submit scores from this in addition to two SAT II tests. For the ACT, the standard test covers English, math, reading and science, with writing as an option. Writing is usually always one of the requirements for college. The general advice for these tests, is to first take them when they are in the second half of their junior year, to allow for retakes.


This is the part of the application in which you get to sell yourself and express who you really are. The majority of colleges ask for one. Opinions differ on how important this section of the application process is. However, it is better to take this part of the application seriously, whether or not it is looked at as an important component of the college admission requirements. The essay may be issued as a part of the Common/Universal application, or it may be in addition to it. Some colleges require the two essays. There are many online guides to help students with this section. Additionally, some colleges will run workshops to help students. The essay prompts are usually provided during the application process. The essay is generally 250 to 500 words long.

As previously mentioned the requirements to apply for college will differ. The colleges themselves will give you an exact list. Admissions officers know that this process can be nerve-wracking and one that applicants find daunting. They encourage students to ask questions if they are uncertain about any aspect of the admissions process. They can usually find answers and advice from school counselors and college websites, but, if they don’t they can contact the admissions departments direct. If applicants follow the instructions and keep on top of their application, they should be on their way to a degree before they know it.

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