The College Application Process for Servicemembers
You’ve made the decision to apply to college. Congratulations!
But now what? Like many students, you probably have a lot of questions. Questions like:
- How many application forms do I really have to fill out?
- What kind of information am I expected to provide to schools?
- And if you’re a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, Reserves, or a military spouse, you’re probably wondering what other surprises are lurking in the application process for you.
This post will bring a little dose of reality to what can become a very surreal process for many people.
First of all, the average complete college application is usually made up of about seven components. I say “about” seven because not every college requires every component. We’ll talk about each of these seven categories, because they’re the ones that most schools require.
- Transcripts (High School, any transfer credit, military experience/training)
- Test scores (SAT/ACT/unique tests)
- Portfolio/Auditions – for performing arts majors
About 500 colleges use an online application form called the Common Application. This is exceptionally helpful if you’re applying to half a dozen different schools and they all use the Common Application – you enter your information once, select the schools you want, and you’ve completed one step for all six of your schools at once. Time saved.
Before you fill out your application form(s) you’ll want to review them to determine what (if any) information you’ll need to collect from your parents. You’ll also want to find out what your high school or service branch will send directly to your potential colleges – if they won’t send transcripts or records on your behalf, you’ll want to make arrangements to send them yourself.
Also good to know: the admission application is not the same thing as the financial aid application (or application for military education benefits). Those are two very distinct application processes.
Lastly, even when you use the Common Application, you will need to send each school their individual app fee, which can be anywhere from $35 – 100 each. Military students, military spouses and veterans may qualify for fee waivers or reimbursement through their education benefits, so if you fall into either of those categories be sure to double-check. Sometimes a school may not come out and say they’ll waive veterans’ applications fees – you have to contact the admissions office directly and ask.
Read more from Christine and if you’re a student, tell us how your college application process went in the comments.
What is the #collegeapplicationprocess like for members of #USArmedForces?