Online College Applications: What to Expect

Filling out an online college application is not so much different than filling out an application for a traditional college. You'll need to include basic information such as your name, phone number, address, social security number, etc. You'll also need to include the names and addresses of any other postsecondary schools you're earned credits in as well as the name and address of your high school. Depending on your age, you may even need to offer some information about your parents.

You'll need to obtain a copy of your high school diploma and transcripts or GED scores in most cases, though some career diploma schools don't always require that their students be high school graduates. In some cases, you'll need to send a copy of your high school writing portfolio. You'll also need to send transcripts of the work you completed at any other college, even if it was just one college class you took while you were still in high school.

Some online college applications require that you submit an essay along with you application materials, though this is rare for a continuing education college. For financial aid purposes, you'll probably have to fill out a FAFSA as well as any supporting documents that the college will need in order to process your financial aid awards. Some students may be required to send in copies of their tax returns for review by the financial aid committee.

Some online colleges may also require that a student complete an entrance exam. Sometimes these exams are simply meant to assist the college in placing you in general education courses that are appropriate to your level of education, and sometimes they're meant to determine if a student is educated enough to attend a college. Colleges that have a limited number of student slots available may use low placement test scores as an excuse to not accept a student into their program. These placement tests generally occur over the Internet and have a time limit.

While most of the forms you'll need can be found and filed on the school's website, you should plan to have to submit additional materials by postal mail. Make sure to read the application information section carefully on each of the websites of the schools that you are applying for because each will have different requirements.

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