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In general, the more prestigious the school, the more stringent the admissions requirement will be.

Prepare for your college applications by learning about college admissions requirements ahead of time.

Colleges have very different admissions guidelines. You’ll learn this as you proceed through your college search.

To save you some time, it’s a good idea to explore what types of things certain colleges require. Let’s look at three different types of schools and their admissions requirements:

The large, public school – Ohio State University

Ohio State University requires:

  1. A completed admissions application,
  2. A copy of your senior year course schedule,
  3. OSU’s College Prep Form, completed by your high school counselor,
  4. An official transcript and a profile of your school,
  5. Official ACT or SAT scores, including writing scores,
  6. Official transcripts from college courses taken in high school (if applicable),
  7. TOEFL scores for non-native English speakers.

The large, private school – University of Southern California (USC)

USC’s application standards include:

  1. A completed application,
  2. Completion of a rigorous high school curriculum,
  3. High grade point average (GPA) and class rank (from official transcript),
  4. Official SAT or ACT scores, with writing scores,
  5. SAT Subject Tests for students from non-accredited high schools,
  6. An activities summary,
  7. Written summaries including an essay, short answers, and quick takes,
  8. Counselor or teacher recommendations,
  9. Personal interviews when necessary.

The community college – Houston Community College (HCC)

HCC requires one of the following:

  1. Diploma from an accredited high school,
  2. GED certificate,
  3. College-level hours earned at other accredited college.

As you can see, the admissions requirements vary greatly between college types. And even within these groups there will be requirement diversity – that is, some large, public schools will need teacher recommendations and not all private schools will need an essay.

Now it’s your turn. Haul out the ol’ college list (or simply click on My Schools on Campus Explorer) and evaluate admissions requirements for your prospective schools by clicking on the Admissions tab on each schools description page.

For example, this is what you’ll find on the University of Texas’s Admissions tab:

The University of Texas at Austin Admissions

Acceptance Rate: 45% (Highly Selective)

SAT Scores:
% of Students Submitting SAT Scores: 92%
Bottom 25th Percentile: Verbal: 530, Math: 570
Top 75th Percentile: Verbal: 660, Math: 690

ACT Scores:
% of Students Submitting ACT Scores: 44%
Bottom 25th Percentile: Composite: 24, Verbal: 23, Math: 25
Top 75th Percentile: Composite: 30, Verbal: 31, Math: 32

Application Requirements (Undergraduate Only)

Application Fee: $60.00
Formal Demonstration of Competencies: Not Required
High School Diploma or Equivalent: Required
High School GPA: Not Required
High School Rank: Required
High School Record: Required
Recommendations: Not Required
TOEFL: Required
Test Scores: Required

Take a look and get a general idea of what you’ll need when you apply.

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Related Tools and Checklists

High School Junior Timeline and Checklist
High School Senior Timeline and Checklist

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