Four Year University Application Process

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
  • 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
Essay Prompts per Application Website Using
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.
College visits are a very important part of the application process. It's important for students to consider all aspects of where they plan to apply/attend. 
Factors to Consider
  • Size of college
  • Location
  • Campus Setting
  • Learning Environment
  • Major
  • Cost
  • Class
  • Extracurricular activities, clubs and organizations
College Visit Days in 11th and 12th Grade
TISD allows 11th and 12th grade students two college visit days per year. Students must follow guidelines in order for the absence to be excused. Click HERE for more details.
Helpful Resources