Apply to College

The college application process can seem daunting, especially for students and families going through it for the first time. The U.S. News Apply to College guide offers answers to assist you, from tips if you are just beginning to brainstorm essay topics to advice on what to do if you’ve been placed on a waitlist.

Choose your topic area of interest in the guide below — including the college essay, extracurricular activities, standardized tests, admissions deadlines, waitlists and transferring — and you’ll see a list of articles filled with advice on how to effectively navigate that part of the application process

How Do I Apply to College?

To apply to college, keep in mind that you need to start early in high school and do your research to find the right fit. The following articles offer advice on how to get in to college.

What are the biggest college application mistakes to avoid?

How can I complete my college applications on time?

What should I know about the college application process?

What are ways to make my college applications stand out?

How do I get into college with a low GPA?

Which colleges have the highest application fees?

What should I know about the Common App?

How can I apply through the Common Black College Application?

What Are the Different Types of Colleges and Where Should I Apply?

From smaller liberal arts colleges to bigger public universities, you have a lot of school types to consider. Here’s what to keep in mind about applying to different schools.

How do I get into an Ivy League school?

What is a liberal arts college?

What are the cost differences between a private and public college?

What are reasons to consider a community college?

Which colleges have the most undergraduate students?

How do larger public colleges compare to smaller private schools?

How do I narrow down my list of colleges?

What are tips for picking the right school?

How Do I Write a College Essay?

Use the college essay to give admissions officers insight into who you are. The tips in these articles will help you tackle the application essay with confidence.

What are tips for writing the college application essay?

What are grammar and style mistakes to avoid in a college essay?

How do I finish my college essays on time?

What Kind of Extracurricular Activities Can Help Me Get Into College?

Whether you’re involved in a club or have a job, colleges want to know how you spend time outside of the classroom. Read on to learn about the role of extracurricular activities in college applications.

How do colleges weigh extracurricular activities in an application?

What are ways to discuss work experience on a college application?

How do I turn extracurricular activities into scholarships?

How Important Are Standardized Test Scores?

Schools have varying policies when it comes to admissions tests like the SAT and ACT. Here’s what you need to know about college entrance exams.

Are schools changing their testing requirements?

What is a good score on the SAT?

What is a good score on the ACT?

How has the SAT changed?

How do I decide whether to retake the ACT or SAT or change exams?

What Do I Need to Know About Recommendation Letters?

Applications typically require recommendation letters written by people who know you well. Read the following articles to find out who, when and how to ask for letters.

How do I ask for a letter of recommendation for college?

What are some examples of college recommendation letters?

When Are College Application Deadlines?

Some colleges offer early decision or early action admissions, in which you apply early and receive a response before other applicants. In general, though, most colleges have a January deadline for regular applications. These articles compare the different application deadlines: early action, early decision, regular decision and rolling admissions.

When should I apply to college?

What are the differences between early action and early decision?

What should I know about restrictive early action?

Are there certain colleges where it’s beneficial to apply early?

Which colleges have later application deadlines?

What is rolling admissions?

What colleges offer rolling admissions?

What Are Tips for Applying as an International Student?

Applying to U.S. universities as an international student can be challenging. The articles below can help you understand the admissions process if you’re applying from abroad.

Which U.S. colleges have the most international students?

Which colleges accept the most international students?

What should I know about scholarships as an international student?

How do I prepare to apply to college as an international student?

What mistakes should I avoid when applying to a U.S. university?

What’s the difference between TOEFL and IELTS?

What should I know about playing sports as an international student?

What If I Apply and Am Put on a Waitlist?

A college may put you on a waitlist and not offer you a spot until after the typical May 1 decision deadline. Here’s what you need to know if you’re wait-listed.

What do I do if I’ve been put on a waitlist?

What colleges admit the lowest percentage of students off the waitlist?

What Do I Need to Know When Transferring Schools?

Transferring may make sense if your college isn’t a good fit or you want to finish a degree at a four-year school after community college. Read tips below on transferring schools.

How can I prepare for a successful college transfer?

What’s the process of transferring as an international student?

How does transferring colleges impact student loans?

What should transfer students know about articulation agreements?

Which schools have the most transfer students?

Best Colleges Rankings

For students who need help narrowing down the list of colleges and universities to apply to, the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings can serve as a good starting point.

National Universities

National Liberal Arts Colleges

Regional Universities

Regional Colleges

Undergraduate Business Programs

Undergraduate Engineering Programs

Historically Black Colleges and Universities

More College Lists

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