August 22, 2011
How-do-I-apply-to-college

How Do I Apply to College?

You don’t apply to college very often, so it can appear a daunting task, even if you are applying to a community college where no admissions essay is required.

Many people are the first in their family to apply to college. Others applied once – 20 years ago. Still others, out of high school for a period of time, don’t have a guidance counselor for assistance.

So it’s understandable that someone faced with the task of applying for college, registering for classes, and showing up with the right book at the right time in the right classroom might feel like a deer in the headlights.

Front Range has a new online video guide that should relieve you of your worries. The college you are considering might have its own online help, so look for it. At Front Range, we call our steps to enrollment Getting Started. Your college may have a different process, but here is our step-by-step guide. Go to our video, or read further for some general information that could be relevant to your college.

Submit an Application

Pretty standard for any college.

Attend a Get Started Session

Your college may or may not do this, or it may call it something else – maybe it’s part of orientation. At Front Range, in an hour or less, you get an overview of the entire enrollment process, including such things as learning how to read the schedule.

Apply for Financial Assistance

Very important. It starts with the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Remember that word “free.” You never have to pay someone to find you financial assistance. And also remember that if you are a Colorado resident, apply for the Colorado Opportunity Fund.

Meet the Assessment Requirements

Your college wants you to be successful. Start with the right classes that will challenge you but not overwhelm you. Me? I’m not ready for Calculus. Take an assessment test, if need be, and get placed properly.

Meet with an Academic Advisor

I recently talked with a college student who told me he was getting his degree and a teaching certificate, but it was taking him an extra four semesters. He said he found out too late there was a different pathway that could have saved him three of those four extra semesters. Did you talk with an advisor? I asked him. I didn’t get the answer I wanted to hear.

No matter what college you attend, make friends with an advisor, and keep in touch often.

Log in to eWOLF and activate your email account

Colleges have portals or student information systems or some other online place for your student account. These are usually given names. Front Range’s mascot is a gray wolf, so, at Front Range, you would go to eWOLF for your student account information.

Register for classes

This is probably done online, through your student account. At some colleges, you would do this during orientation. At other colleges, you do this before orientation. Some colleges may do it for you. It all depends on the college.

Complete the payment process

You have to decide the combination of scholarships, grants, work-study, and loans. Take all the “free money” you can. Remember, chances are there is no “free money” without filing your FAFSA in a timely manner.

Purchase books and supplies

Use the campus bookstore or online sources. Make sure it’s the right book for the right course. At some colleges, you can order your books online and pick them up at the bookstore. This may save time standing in line. Consider all your options – buy new, buy used, or, these days, even rent your books.

Attend New Student Orientation

Dan Balski’s recent blog says why this is important.

Attend classes

This is college, so you are in charge of you. But remember that a big part of success is just showing up.

About the author:

John Feeley is director of public relations at Front Range Community College. He’s a retired soccer referee and newspaper editor whose subscription ran out.