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Choosing and Applying to College

What colleges are in North Carolina?
Click here to find out!
How do I apply to college?

You can check on a school’s website to see how they prefer you to submit an application. The three most popular websites for applications are Common App, Coalition, and CFNC. Many schools use one of these three websites to make the process simpler. Some schools may have you submit an application directly through their website.

Common App:


You will have to make an account if you use any of these websites. Write down your username and password (I recommend your store this in a Note on your phone)!

When do I apply?

Every school will have different deadlines. The earliest applications will be due around the middle of October. Some schools have deadlines extending into the spring. You can begin submitting applications as soon as they are available, which is typically early August. It is best to apply early!

What does early decision mean?

This means that you are 100% sure that it is your top choice. If you are accepted under an early decision agreement, you must attend. This is a legally-binding agreement. This means that you will often have to commit to the school before you receive a financial aid offer. 

What does early action mean?

This means that you are applying by one of the school's first deadlines. Generally when you apply by this deadline, you hear your admissions decision sooner and are eligible for more scholarships. Most students should try to hit early action deadlines! If you are accepted early action, you are not required to attend this school.

What if I want to apply to a community college?

NC Community college applications are completed through CFNC. They typically do not open until the end of September/October. There is not a deadline or application fee for community college applications.

How many schools should I apply to?

It depends! You should heavily consider the cost of attendance, location, programs of study, and how you compare to their average admissions standards. Generally, you should be looking to submit 3 to 5 applications to ensure you have choices when it comes time to decide.

Do I have to pay to apply to college?
Most college applications require a fee (usually 20-90 dollars). However, you can request a fee waiver. See your school counselor for assistance.
What is included in a college application?

The application itself will include questions about you, your family, your activities, your school, and your interests. In addition to completing the application, you may also have to submit the following items: Transcripts, letters of recommendation, test scores, essays, and a resume.

How will I know if the college has all of my documents and if my application is complete?

CHECK YOUR EMAIL! Colleges will communicate with you via email to inform you if your application is missing anything. Many schools will invite you to create a portal through their website where you can check your status.

How will I know if I got accepted?

Most schools will notify you online first - either through their online portal or by email. You can then expect to receive a letter (and probably a cool envelope!) in the mail about a week later.

How do I choose a college?