College Application Process to Four Year Universities

Items Required For An Application to Be Considered COMPLETE

*You will not be considered for admission if your application is not complete.

  1. Complete the application
    1. Common application websites: Apply Texas, Common Application, Coalition or college/university created application
    2. Some colleges require essays, make sure to check the college website or application website. Links below these steps for reference.
  2. Submit your official high school transcript
    1. Most transcripts are sent electronically. Please request through the method required by the high school.
    2. Request the transcript AFTER you have submitted your application
    3. Final transcripts will be required, but this will not be available until AFTER graduation. Students can begin requesting the final transcript around April. The first final transcript is free, any additional will have a fee.
  3. Submit official SAT or ACT scores
    1. Some college/universities have remained test optional. Check their websites, don't assume
    2. SAT scores - Send through your College Board account
    3. ACT scores - Send through your ACT account
    4. TSIA - Some colleges/universities will ask for TSIA scores if you have not met the college readiness placement scores. This is to ensure that you are placed correctly in your courses.
  4. Submit the application fee
    1. Fee submission is typically build into the application website, and will appear at the end of the application. Some colleges may not require application fees, but the majority will. Check the college website.
    2. For students enrolled in the Free and Reduced Lunch Program (applied annual through and approved for the program)
      1. When submitting the application, select request application fee waiver.
      2. Go to the college website and find out what documentation is required to waive this fee. If you cannot provide the required documentation, you'll be expected to pay the application fee.
      3. Free and Reduced lunch students may have all application fees waived
  5. Complete your FAFSA or TASFA
    1. This is a NEW requirement for class of 2022 and beyond by TEA. All seniors will need to file their FAFSA or TASFA prior to graduation. More information available at Financial Aid Requirement
    2. Do I submit FAFSA or TASFA?
    3. Helpful resources on financial aid

Additional Items That May Be Required or Optional

  • Letters of Recommendation(s)
    • Most colleges will only accept two. Give your recommender a Student Brag Sheet when you request a letter. Be sure to give the recommender at least two weeks to get the letter completed.
    • Common Application and Coalition: You'll enter your recommenders name and email, the system will email them the request, and they will submit the letter electronically.
    • Apply Texas: You'll need to submit the letters in the online student portal (for each college) after you've submitted your application
  • Essay(s)
    • May be required or optional, but are GREAT to submit! (If required, you don't really have a choice) This is your personal touch on your application, and allows the admissions committee to get to know you better.
    • Be YOURSELF, and write it yourself. Yes, they know if your parent wrote it...they can tell.
    • Proofread every essay. You won't want to send the an essay to a college with a different college name referenced in it. Spelling and grammar are VERY important.
    • SAVE your essays. You may be able to use them for other colleges who use the same topic, or for scholarship applications.
    • Again, must importantly, BE YOURSELF
    • Apply Texas Essay Prompts
    • Common App Essay Prompts
    • Coalition Essay Prompts
  • College Resume
  • Interview
  • Audition
    • For students entering any major that is performance based (theatre, music, dance, etc.)
    • Be sure to know the dates and deadlines to schedule your audition, and reach out to the college if you need any help with this.


AFTER you submit your application: Online Applicant Portal

You will receive an email from the college/university confirming they received your application. This email will contain your login to your online applicant portal. It is VITAL that you check this portal frequently. You will have an online portal for EACH college you apply to! You will be able to watch the application process, and know when your items have been received and processed, AND if you're missing anything.


You may also need to complete additional application items through your online applicant portal (Ex: University of Texas, Austin has additional application items in the portal). Below are some items you may submit or view in the portal.

  • Submit letters of recommendation
  • Submit college resume
  • Complete additional application items
  • Received, processing or missing items
  • Submit proof of Bacterial Meningitis Vaccination 
  • New Student Orientation sign up
  • Financial aid offers
  • Housing application
  • Advising appointments
  • Scheduling classes

Deadlines are VERY important. This can't be stressed enough. Colleges clearly post these for students, and expect them to submit by the exceptions.

  • Check the college website and write down your deadlines
  • Be sure to also check scholarship deadlines through your college/university, some may be as early as October!


There are lots of scholarships available through your college/university. Do your research on each institution's website to familiarize yourself with what scholarships are available, how to apply, and the deadlines.  It's important to also make sure you have submitted your FASA/TASFA when it comes to scholarships.


Best advice:

  • Don't procrastinate
  • Put down all your deadlines on a calendar and put in a location you and your parents can see them
  • Don't wait until the week before a deadline to begin working on college and/or scholarship applications. It's too stressful, and you run the risk of missing the deadline or not submitting all the required items.
Resources to Help with the College Application Process
Essays Overview - click HERE
Choosing a Topic - click HERE
Drafting an Essay - click HERE
Expanding a Topic - click HERE
Self-Editing - click HERE
Learning TUesdays was a summer-long webinar series aimed at providing resources for rising seniors as they navigate the college search provided by Trinity University admissions staff.
Here are the great sessions offered.
  • Finding Community in a Virtual Landscape
  • Finding the Right College Fit
  • Value of Liberal Arts
  • Get in the Game: Collegiate Athletics
  • Choosing a Major
  • Holistic Review
  • Writing Your College Essay
  • What I Wish I Knew in My Senior Year
  • Funding Your Education
  • Deep Dive into Trinity Admissions and Aid
All in This Together (June 2) - In this session we will discuss ways to successfully engage the family in the college search and decision process. We will address the timeline and the importance of an open dialogue about finding the best academic, financial, and social fits for the student. Our goal is to provide the tools to help everyone enjoy this special journey. COMPLETED Watch the webinar here

Finding the Right College Fit (June 9) - Choosing the right college can seem like an overwhelming task. Where do I start? What should I be looking for? What does "fit" even mean? We're here to help! Hear from experienced admissions professionals and a college counselor to learn which questions to ask as you begin your journey. COMPLETED Watch the webinar here

Value of Liberal Arts (June 16) - What is a liberal arts education? Learn the facts, understand the benefits, and debunk the myths of what a liberal arts education really is. In this session, you will hear from admissions staff and Trinity alumni about the impact a liberal arts degree will have on your professional opportunities after graduation. COMPLETED Watch the webinar here

Get in the Game: Collegiate Athletics (June 23) - Thinking about continuing varsity athletics in college? Tune in to learn the inside scoop on the recruiting process, differences in Divisions, scholarships, and student-athlete life. This session will debunk myths and help you find the best fit for your academic and athletic goals. COMPLETED Watch the webinar here

Choosing a Major (June 30) - Your college degree is the first stepping stone to your future; it could lead you to an internship, onto graduate school, or your dream job! But what if you don't know what you want to study? Whether you already have a plan or don't know where to begin, join us as we discuss how to intentionally approach choosing your major and laying the foundation for your success in college and beyond! COMPLETED Watch the webinar here


Holistic Review (July 7) - Get ready to become a member of the Admissions Committee! In this interactive session, participants will learn about admissions criteria and apply a holistic evaluation method to review applications. Together we will explore how academic and personal qualities as well as the context of a student’s environment may influence admissions decisions. COMPLETED Watch the webinar here

Writing Your College Essay (July 14) - In what can often feel like an impersonal process, the essay provides you with a unique opportunity to share your voice with colleges. Join us as we discuss hints and tips, example essays, and tools for your next steps regardless of where you are in the essay writing process. Whether you’re a self-professed grammar nerd or writing averse, all are welcome. COMPLETED Watch the webinar here

What I Wish I Knew in My Senior Year (July 21) - APs, extracurriculars, college decisions, oh my! There can be a lot to juggle senior year, but fortunately many have braved the path you are about to set out on. Hear from Trinity students about making the most of your last year of high school in every regard as they reflect on “What I Wish I Knew in My Senior Year.” COMPLETED Watch the webinar here

Funding Your Education (July 28) - Join Trinity's Director of Financial Aid and Dean of Admissions for a discussion about funding options for your college education. From scholarships to applying for need-based aid, this session will tell you everything you need to know to make sure you're taking advantage of all available opportunities. COMPLETED Watch the webinar here

Deep Dive into Trinity Admissions and Aid (August 4) - Dive into the details about this upcoming year's admissions, scholarship, and financial aid processes and deadlines. Information will be specific to students who will apply during the 2020-2021 admissions cycle. COMPLETED Watch the webinar here
NAVIGATE 2020 - Virtual Conference and College Fair

Click HERE for access to the recordings of the following great sessions presented this summer by college admissions experts. (Scroll to the middle of the linked page to see the recordings.)

Maximizing Your ACT or SAT Score in the Era of Covid-19

The ACT and the SAT are the only admissions tests for the nation's colleges and universities. But how do you know which test is right for you? How do you prepare? When should you prepare? Should you take it more than once? Do colleges care which test you take? What if you qualify for extra time? Join us to get the answers to these critical questions and more, including how to navigate testing during the era of Covid-19.

What Matters Most to Colleges: Test scores, GPAs, Extracurriculars, Recommendations and more

What matters most to colleges: learn about how the colleges of today buck many of the trends of yesterday in how they value and evaluate a student's college admissibility. From test scores, to GPAs, rec letters to extracurriculars, join the conversation as three leading enrollment managers share with you, what matters most to colleges.

Simplifying the College Preparation Process 

The college decision making process is daunting. With over 5,000 colleges in the USA to choose from, how do you decide where to attend? Do you want a big or small school, in state or out of state? How do you afford it once you pick one? When do you start looking? Admission Counselor, Emily Freeman, and Sr Associate Director, Mary Smith, will simplify the process with step-by-step tips for the college search/decision making process, applying to college, testing and scholarships to help you attend and afford the best college fit for you! (This session is geared toward homeschool students, but can be applicable for all).

Navigating College Applications

Join a panel with experts from multiple sides of the desk--high school counselor, university admissions counselor, independent education consultant--in an exciting and engaging look at preparation for holistic college admission. We'll explore all facets of the undergraduate admission process--from course planning in high school to standardized test planning to school selection to interviews to essays and more--all within the contemporary context of the COVID-19 outbreak and the new reality that we all face through this.

Affording College When Family Finances Have Been Impacted By COVID-19

While COVID19 has disrupted income, assets, and college financial plans for many families, a college education is still affordable by utilizing a variety of college financing strategies. This session will discuss how to apply for financial aid, how to notify your college of your special circumstances, required documentation, and the resources that are available to maximize your financial aid.

How To Support Your Teen Through the College Search

The changing landscape of college admission can too often result in an anxiety-filled and unpleasant process for students and their parents. Admission professionals will offer their advice and insights for how parents can appropriately assist and parent their students in a manner that makes the college process less confusing, more effective, and even enjoyable.

Not Your Grandparents’ Career and Technical Education

Career and Technical Education is really about high demand, high wage and high skills jobs! Career and Technical Education is no longer the vocational education image of grease under your fingernails and mud on your boots! Discover how you can get your education and get on with your life! Don't just make a living but make a life with your interests and your passions.

Tips for Writing a Successful College Application Essay

In this session, Ethan Sawyer (College Essay Guy) will answer five of the most common questions students ask about the personal statement and college application. Drawing on techniques ranging from Nonviolent Communication to Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, this interactive session will leave students feeling inspired and ready to write. Come with an open mind and a pen.

ADVi uses artificial intelligence to answer your questions about attending public colleges and universities in Texas. Start a chat with ADVi today to get the conversation started!

Click HERE.

Princeton Review - Upcoming and Past Recorded Webinars