The University application process


What You Have to Know About the Application and Admissions Process

  • What to know
  • First Step
  • Documents
  • Deadlines
  • Last Step

Start the summer before your senior year

  • Selecting schools to apply for, getting the application packets, writing the essays, and sending them off can be very time-consuming.
  • Starting your senior year is full of excitement, and before you know it, deadlines for applications are looming.
  • Do yourself a favour and begin planning out which schools you want to apply to in July and August, and begin filling out applications in September.


It can be expensive

  • Applying to schools takes money (there are almost always application fees) and lots of time.
  • Make sure you have all the money you need to apply to the schools you are looking at.
  • If you don’t talk to the coach about getting a fee waiver, not every programme has them, but it can help to have a couple feel waived.

Ask the Coach to Review Your Application

  • One of the biggest benefits of being a student athlete in the application and admissions process is having a coach review your application and give feedback before it goes to admissions.
  • If a coach hasn’t offered to do that, ask them.
  • It shows the maturity and responsibility that not all recruits possess.
  • If the coach doesn’t have anyone to review that packet, ask the admissions department.
  • Several schools will review packets before they are final.

Deadlines are there for a reason

  • Nothing frustrates a coach more than athletes who can’t be on time and meet deadlines.
  • Don’t assume coaches can just get you through admissions and get your application in on time.
  • For many schools, this is a non-negotiable deadline, even for athletes.

Coaches can’t just “get you in.”

  • Don’t assume that just because some athletes get into some schools with well below-average grades, you can get into school with little work.
  • The NCAA is going to require that teams meet an academic minimum for post-season play, and that means coaches will be on the lookout for better students.
  • Some coaches have a lot of pull-in admissions, and others don’t have any.
  • It’s better to be safe than sorry and get your best application in well before it is due.

Send over with an acceptance letter

  • Believe it or not, there are athletes every year who just forget to send back their acceptance letters.
  • Schools send out a letter and give a deadline when you need to send back your acceptance of the offer.
  • Don’t celebrate until you send back your letter, and, as a friendly reminder, let the coach know you are accepting as well.

First step

Now that you have decided which university you want to attend, what is the next step?

The first step is to apply to the university.

  • Most universities give you the option to apply directly on their websites.
  • Be sure to read the requirements carefully when applying.
  • Some will require standardised tests (e.g. GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT), and others will ask for different documents (writing samples, portfolios, lists of patents) as part of the application process.
  • Non-US students may be required to supply proof that their English-language skills are proficient enough to attend classes.
  • Be sure to have your TOEFL iBT, IELTS Academic, PTE Academic, or C1 Advanced certificates available.

​The USA doesn’t currently have an application system for all universities.

Local and international students should apply directly through the university. Use the links on the university websites, and follow the instructions carefully.


Different universities and programmes will require different documents.

However, these are the items you are most likely to need if you apply to a university in the US:

Deadlines for University

  • If you are applying for an undergraduate (bachelor’s) degree in the US, universities will typically offer two application deadlines:
    • early admission and 
    • regular admission.
  • If you are applying for fall admission, your deadline can be anywhere from January to March
  • If you’re applying for fall (autumn) admission, regular admission deadlines will be between February and March of the same year.
  • If you are applying for a post-graduate (Master’s or PhD) degree, your American university application deadline will depend on the semester in which you are enrolling (spring intake or fall intake).
  • If you are applying for fall admission, your deadline can be anywhere from January to March.
  • If you are applying for spring admission, your deadline is probably anywhere between July and September of the previous year.


These deadlines can vary drastically depending on which programme you are applying for or which university you wish to attend. Be sure to contact the programme itself if you’re not sure about the correct deadline.

Next up:

Stage 5 – VISA requirements

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