Harper College

Simple Steps to Apply for College

Application requirements

Most colleges and universities use similar procedures and admission policies. However, each college may have specific rules about applications, deadlines and other factors.

Your grades, outside activities, and letters of recommendation play an important role in gaining entrance to your desired college or university.


Most colleges list specific due dates for receiving all application materials. If you do not meet this deadline, your application may not be considered. According to the College Board, you should send in your application several weeks before the deadline. If you believe you are late in applying, consider using an electronic service to get the application to the institution.

Admission policies

You should be able to find information about admission policies by visiting the college website or requesting information from your high school counselor. Admission policies tell you what the college expects from you academically and outline potential opportunities for various student populations.

Colleges tend to look at the following areas when considering student applications:

  • Grades that reflect an upward trend
  • Solid scores on standardized tests
  • Advanced placement classes
  • Strong involvement in selected activities
  • Community service
  • Work or other extra-curricular activities
  • Well-written essays

For a deep dive into the components of a college application, read Unpack the Application Package.

Last Updated: 12/14/23