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Application Process

College applications can be complicated. Use the tips below to help.

Apply to a College or University

There are many steps you need to take before you begin your first class.

  1. Schedule a campus visit or attend an admission event for adult learners.
  2. Make an appointment with someone in Student Services or Admissions who supports adult learners. They can help you navigate through the admissions process.
  3. Order your transcripts from any previous colleges you attended or your high school.
  4. Complete any required admissions tests or placement evaluations and assessments.
  5. Fill out the admissions application. (This can often be done online). Some admission requirements may not apply to older students. Although usually not required, you might want to include your resume, a list of education you have had since high school, or an online portfolio with your application.
  6. Apply for financial aid using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There is no age limit for federal or state aid.
  7. Once accepted, make an advising or counseling appointment to help choose your class schedule and make a graduation plan.
  8. Sign up for classes.

Things to Remember

  • Look for application instructions in the school's catalog or on their website and follow them exactly. Don't hesitate to ask someone for help.
  • Always make copies of everything you submit.
  • Wait two to six weeks for a response to your applications.

Create a Checklist

  • Application fees. If the fee presents a financial hardship, ask if you can have it waived.
  • Application deadlines. Minnesota State welcomes admission applications throughout the year. Admission requirements vary for 2-year, 4-year and graduate programs.
  • Transcripts and other certificates. Is a high school transcript or GED certificate required?
  • Test scores. Are ACT, SAT, or TOEFL test scores required?
    • Undergraduate admissions tests are used for admission and/or placement at 4-year schools.
    • Two-year colleges typically do not require entrance exams for applicants with a high school diploma or a GED. They use placement tests to determine which levels of classes are right and if a student needs basic skills courses. Learn more about college entrance and placement tests.
  • Essays. A short essay or personal statement may be required. If you've been out of school for some time, you may want to submit a personal statement even if it is not required to give you an opportunity to describe your background, academic interests, and motivation.
  • Letters of recommendation. If you've been out of school for some time, you should compile references from employers or professional acquaintances who can say positive things about your abilities.

Remember to keep all of your school information and applications in one place.

Apply for Non-credit Continuing Education

Many colleges also offer short, non-credit continuing education programs that have a much simpler application process. Minnesota State colleges offer non-credit continuing education courses to help build your basic skills or develop industry-recognized training that will help you find employment. Examples of continuing education include management training, foreign languages, computer skills and writing courses.

Unlike a credit program, you cannot use federal grants or loans to pay for non-credit training. However, there may be other types of funds that can help you pay for this type of training. In Minnesota, talk to a counselor at your local CareerForce office to see if you qualify for Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) or other training funds that the state provides.

You can find a link to help you apply for non-credit continuing education at Minnesota State schools under “Other Resources” at the bottom of this page.


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Other Resources