College Applications


Before selecting a school, students must assess the college’s admission requirements to determine if they qualify. To do this, explore the school’s website and note minimum course and GPA requirements, necessary tests, essays, and application deadlines.


  • Student Success Tips for HS students wanting to improve their future college application
  • College Board-College App List: track all deadlines for institutions you're interested in
  • Student Tracker: the ASPIRE Student Tracker can track important activities/deadlines
  • The Common App: Many universities and colleges throughout the country use the Common App, so that students do not have to enter the same information in over and over again. Some schools may require supplemental information or essays in addition.

There are a lot of confusing terms thrown around within college admissions. Pull up the ASPIRE Glossary to stay informed of what means what. Key terms to look up:

  • Admissions Test, SAT, ACT, Fee Waiver*
  • Recommendation (Letter)
  • Regular Decision, Rolling Admission
  • Early Action, Early Decision, Deferred Admission
  • Limited Entry, Open Admission

*Note on application fee waivers and deferrals: Many colleges require an application fee at the time students submit their application. Several automatically waive the fee if students apply online, others will accept a deferral or waiver, both of which must be signed by a high school counselor. Students should download a copy of the NACAC fee waiver that can be used nationally.

Application Essays

Tips on Submitting Application/Essays

A helpful checklist students may want to take home with them as they work on applications and essays.

Letter of Recommendation Request Form

Students can use this as part of a request for a letter of recommendation that will help the writer know more about the student, so the letter will better reflect important attributes about the student.

Standardized tests

Four-year colleges and universities generally require that a standardized test be taken to apply for admission. Oregon community colleges do not require standardized tests, but do have their own placement tests. Each school’s website or admissions office will give you the information you need on test requirements. School counselors can also be a resource for test preparation. Students should have a planned testing date (or multiple) in their timeline.

There may be test fee waivers available at the high school to students who qualify for the free and reduced lunch program. See a school counselor for more information.


SAT Prep: SAT video lessons, apps for practicing SATs, study groups, and more

SAT Prep Khan Academy: Free and highly recommended prep course for students

ACT Prep: ACT online prep course (must create an account)