Steps To College

A step-by-step guide for students planning to attend college

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Your Step-by-Step Guide to College Planning

1. Explore

Colleges, Universities, & Technical School options

2. Complete the FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid
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3. Apply

Begin your online college application

Note: For some colleges and universities, students may need to complete steps such as 5: Essay, 6: Letter of Recommendation, and 7: Resume, prior to submitting application.

Apply using the college or university website or consider an application that is accepted by many colleges and universities across the US, such as the Common Application (accepted at more than 800 colleges and universities) or The Coalition Application (accepted at more than 140 colleges and universities, application fee waiver offered, and the only option for the University of Florida). Students must create an account to proceed with both the Common Application and Coalition Application.

4. Testing

Prepare for, take, or retake the ACT or SAT Test
5. Write a standout college essay

This may not be needed for the application to Community Colleges (State Colleges, i.e. College of Central Florida), or Technical Colleges, but may be needed for local scholarship applications.

6. Ask for recommendation letters

This is an essential part of a college application. Be sure to give these people plenty of time to write a letter — three weeks to a month or more depending on how busy each person is. Remember to ask more people than you need letters in case one or more of the people cannot write a letter in time. Always remember to send a thank-you note!

7. Complete a résumé

Highlight your awards, accomplishments, activities, interests, and future plans.

The link below is a step-by-step guide to creating your résumé for your college application.

Tuition & Fees

Food & Essentials

Books & Supplies

Room & Board or Commuting Expenses

8. Narrow Down & Compare College Choices & Costs

Use these resources to help you compare:

9. Find Scholarships and Consider Finances

Consider how you will pay for college and how much you need

10. Monitor Emails & Communications

Make sure you are meeting all your requirements and deadlines.