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How to apply to college

Umpqua Community College graduates jumping


Learn what you need to do to apply for college.

Be prepared before you apply

Finalize the list of colleges you plans to apply to and write down application deadlines. These can vary by college and by individual program.

Some colleges offer the opportunity to apply early. Other colleges don’t have a firm deadline (also known as rolling admissions). This means you can apply at any point before a term starts.

If you are transferring colleges, there may be a different deadline than for first-year students.

What you need to apply to college

Visit college websites to find out what you will need to complete your applications. Gather this information ahead of time.

One way to make it easier? Whenever you can, use the Common Application. It is accepted by over 900 colleges nationally, including several in Oregon.

All applications require:

All college applications will ask for basic information including your full legal name, address, birthdate, and citizenship status. If you are a U.S. Citizen or have a Social Security number, you will be required to provide it. Memorize your Social Security number or keep it in a secure and accessible location.

You will need to provide a high school transcript that lists the classes you've taken and your grades. Your high school can send a transcript directly to the college; talk to your counselor or a teacher about how you can request an official transcript.

If you have taken dual credit or direct enrollment classes you may also need to submit transcripts from the college(s). Whenever possible, have colleges send transcripts electronically directly to the colleges you plan to apply to.

Colleges prefer that you apply online. Keep track of your log in and password information for college applications in a secure and accessible location such as our It’s A Plan app. Use the same e-mail for all applications.

Some applications require:

This is a list of extracurricular activities that you've done as part of school, in your community, for your family, or as a job. Quality is better than quantity! List the activities that have been the most meaningful, the most amount of time and/or where you've had a leadership role.

Many 4-year colleges and universities require or recommend submitting ACT and/or SAT scores. Some colleges allow you to self-report your scores on the application; others require that the testing companies send the scores directly to them.

Some colleges require one or more examples of your writing. Write your essay before you sit down to apply and be sure to follow directions and proofread before submitting.

Some colleges want to hear from people who know you well like a teacher, counselor, or coach. Be thoughtful about who you ask. Give them plenty of time to write the letters of recommendation, and provide your résumé or activities chart and any instructions from the application.

Public colleges ask questions about residency, or whether you live in the state, to determine if you qualify for in-state tuition. In Oregon, undocumented students may be eligible for in-state tuition and must complete additional paperwork.

You may need to pay a fee when you submit your application. If you cannot afford the fee, many colleges accept a deferral or waiver. You will need to complete a form for each school you apply to and have it signed by your high school counselor or other school official.

Make a copy of our Google Docs template to keep track of the information you will need to apply to college.

Make a copy of our Google Docs template to catalog your school, community, and volunteer activities.

Schedule time to apply

Set aside dedicated time to apply to college. Take advantage of any time and help that your school provides.

College applications can be confusing. You can ask a counselor or teacher at your high school or an admissions representative or enrollment manager at the college you’re applying to.

Follow up after you apply

Send your high school transcript, SAT or ACT test scores, letters of recommendation and other supplemental materials to colleges. Check your e-mail regularly – this will be the main way colleges contact you!

Colleges may let you know whether you have been accepted at different times. Some colleges might let you know right away; others may wait until the spring even if you apply in the fall.

Complete financial aid applications

If you’ve already submitted your FAFSA or ORSAA, make sure to add all of the schools you have applied to. Your college may have an additional financial aid or scholarship application as well.

If you are applying to an Oregon community college you should also submit the Oregon Promise grant application if you are eligible.

Application information for Oregon colleges

Community colleges
Application info Deadline Fee Common App?
Blue Mountain Community College Rolling Free
Central Oregon Community College Rolling $25
Chemeketa Community College Rolling Free
Clackamas Community College Rolling Free
Clatsop Community College Rolling Free
Columbia Gorge Community College Rolling Free
Klamath Community College Rolling Free
Lane Community College Rolling Free
Linn-Benton Community College Rolling Free
Mt. Hood Community College Rolling Free
Oregon Coast Community College Rolling Free
Portland Community College Rolling Free
Rogue Community College Rolling Free
Southwestern Oregon Community College Rolling Free
Tillamook Bay Community College Rolling Free
Treasure Valley Community College Rolling Free
Umpqua Community College Rolling Free
Public universities
Application info Deadline Fee Common App?
Eastern Oregon University Priority - 2/1 $50 Yes
Oregon Institute of Technology Priority - 11/1 $50 Yes
Oregon State University Early Action - 11/1; Priority - 2/1 $65 Yes
Oregon State University - Cascades Early Action - 11/1; Priority - 2/1; Regular - 8/30 (F 23) $65 Yes
Portland State University 8/1 $60 Yes
Southern Oregon University Priority - 2/1 $60
University of Oregon Early Action - 11/1; Regular - 1/15 $65 Yes
Western Oregon University Rolling, Priority - 2/1 Free
Private colleges
Application info Deadline Fee Common App?
Bushnell University Rolling Free Yes
Corban University Rolling Free
George Fox University Early Action - 11/1; Priority - 2/1 Free Yes
Lewis & Clark College Early Action and Early Decision - 11/1; Regular - 1/15 Free Yes
Linfield University Early Action - 11/1; Regular - 2/1 Free Yes
Multnomah University Fall Priority - 8/1; Spring Priority - 12/1 $40
Pacific Northwest College of Art Early - 11/15; Priority - 2/1 Free Yes
Pacific University Early Action I - 11/1; Early Action II - 1/15 Free Yes
Reed College EA & ED I - 11/15; ED II - 12/20; Regular - 1/15 Free Yes
University of Portland priority 11/15; regular 1/15 $50 Yes
Warner Pacific University 8/30 Free Yes
Willamette University Early Action & Decision - 11/15; Regular - 2/1 Free Yes