TAKE THE FIRST STEP

APPLYING TO COLLEGE

Graduation is not an end, it’s a beginning. There are several paths you can follow, but it’s important to pursue some type of education or training after high school. The most common paths to a good career are four year colleges and universities, two year community colleges, and technical colleges. Below are action steps to help you apply to all three.

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College Enrollment Action Steps

Seniors, use the videos, written instructions, and other resources below to complete your college applications.

4 Year Schools
2 Year Schools
Technical Schools

Colleges and Universities

If your plan is to attend a four-year college or university and earn a bachelor’s degree (including ROTC programs and military academies) this checklist is for you!

 

ACTION STEPS RECOMMENDED
TIMELINE
Keep track of college logins, check portals and emails regularly August – July
Complete college applications, including application fees
or using fee waivers
August – October
Request transcripts Within one week of completing
college applications
Register to take or re-take the ACT/SAT and ensure scores
are sent to colleges of choice
Prep: July – October
Re-take: October – December
Register for the NCAA/NAIA Clearinghouse (if you are interested
in playing college sports)
August – December
Explore ROTC or officer training programs (if interested) August – December
Complete the Tennessee Promise application August – October
Obtain a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID (student and parent) July – January
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
and review Student Aid Report (SAR)
October – January
Complete Tennessee Promise meeting and service requirements November – July
Complete additional scholarship applications (personal essays) August – May
Review admission letters and financial awards October – April
Accept admission at your school of choice As soon as you decide (no later than
May)
Pay or defer enrollment deposit to selected school After accepting admission (Spring)
Register for new student orientation After accepting admission (Spring)
Apply for housing by listed deadline (if applicable) After accepting admission (Spring)
Learn about bridge programs and apply (if needed) After accepting admission (Spring)
Inform your college/career counselor of every acceptance and
scholarship offer
As early as you know
Complete FAFSA verification (if selected) Spring
Check your university email and portal regularly and respond
promptly to messages
Ongoing

Community Colleges

(Transfer, Associate Degree, or Certificate)

If you want to earn a bachelor’s degree by starting at a community college and then transferring to a four-year university – or if you want to attend a community college to earn an associate degree or certificate – then this checklist is for you! If you are planning to transfer, you will want to earn an Associate of Arts (A.A.) or an Associate of Science (A.S.). If you are planning to work after earning your degree, you may want to earn an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) that prepares students to directly enter the workforce.

ACTION STEPS RECOMMENDED
TIMELINE
Keep track of college logins, check student portal and email regularly August – July
Complete college applications–there is no fee to apply to Tennessee
community colleges
August – October
Request transcripts Within one week of completing
college applications
Prep for and take/retake placement tests (i.e., ACT) Prep: July – October
Retake: October – December
Complete the Tennessee Promise application August – October
Obtain a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID (student and parent) July – January
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
and review Student Aid Report (SAR)
October – January
Complete the Tennessee Promise meeting and service requirements November – July
Complete additional scholarship applications (personal essay) August – May
Review admission letters and financial awards October – April
Accept admission at your school of choice As soon as you decide (no later
than May)
Talk with a community college academic advisor and/or attend
summer orientation
March – July
Arrange housing (if applicable). Community colleges do not have
housing on campus.
After accepting admission (Spring)
Explore your program of study (including transfer programs) Spring
Learn about bridge programs and apply (if needed) After accepting admission (Spring)
Inform your college/career counselor of every acceptance and
scholarship offer
As early as you know
Complete FAFSA verification (if selected) Spring
Check your college email and portal regularly and respond 
promptly to messages
Ongoing

Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology (TCAT/Technical Colleges)

If you want to attend a Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) or another technical training institute to obtain a certificate or license in a skilled trade, this checklist is for you! At TCATs, you can train to become a certified professional in a variety of fields, such as a motorcycle mechanic, a nurse, or a computer technician.

 

ACTION STEPS RECOMMENDED
TIMELINE
Keep track of college logins, check student email regularly  August – July
Complete college applications–There is no fee to apply to TCATs August – October
Contact school/program regarding additional requirements, 
waitlists, etc.
August – December
Send additional requirements (transcript, test scores, portfolio, etc.)  August – December
Complete the Tennessee Promise application August – October
Obtain a Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID (student and parent) July – January
Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and
review Student Aid Report (SAR)
October – January
Complete Tennessee Promise meeting and service requirements November – July
Complete additional scholarship applications (personal essay) August – May
Review admission letters and financial awards October – April
Accept admission at your school of choice As soon as you decide (no 
later than May)
Arrange housing (if applicable). TCATs do not have housing on campus.  After accepting admission (Spring)
Inform your college/career counselor of every acceptance and 
scholarship offer
As early as you know
Complete FAFSA verification (if selected) Spring
Determine your start date. Depending on the popularity of your
selected program, there may be a wait list.
Spring

 

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