What documents do I need to apply for college? Detailed document checklist

Applying for colleges can be a hassle if you are not well prepared and if you do not have the required documents. 

What documents do I need to apply for college? This is one of the most asked questions among student fraternities when they apply for colleges. Documents are crucial, they can make or break your chances of getting admission letters from your dream college. Incomplete or invalid documents results in outright rejection of your application, so it is advisable to be prepared and keep all your documents handy before you apply for a college. 

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Now, if you are someone curious to know what documents you need to apply for college, then you are at the right place, we have got your back. In this article, we will provide you with a complete list of documents that you need to apply for college along with a step-by-step process of applying for college admission. Let’s get started:

What is application for college admission?

If you are looking to study from any college in USA, you need to apply by filling the application form. An application for admission is sent to the college who in turn evaluates it and decides whether to offer you admission or not. Now, to increase your chances of admission, your application has to be well prepared covering all the aspects of your academic background, extracurricular activities, work experience and others. 

You can also use the Common App or the Coalition App to apply for colleges. These apps help you customize your applications for various colleges and universities. The good thing about these apps is that the application from these are accepted by over 900 colleges and universities in the USA.

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College application checklist: What details it should have?

Regardless of the method you use for submitting your application, your application should have the following details. 

  • Personal Information 
  • Extracurriculars activities
  • Work experience/internships
  • Essays
  • Honors and achievements
  • Recommendations
  • ACT/SAT score 

Among all these, essays are of real importance. Essays are also seen as personal statement. Experts says, your essay should be well structured, around 650 words length or more. And, most importantly, it should reflect your views on the topic. This way, the evaluator gets to know your understanding of the matter, and your ability to write. After completing your college application, you must review it fully and only satisfying yourself, submit it along with application fee. 

Now let’s move to the main question. What documents do I need to apply for college?

When it comes to documents, it is very simple. Keep the documents that support the information you provide in your application. There should be documents related to your academic background, social security, standardized test scores, identity proof. The complete checklist of documents you need to apply for colleges is given below. 

  • Personal Statement/Essay
  • Transcripts of High School and any other academic record
  • Score of standardized test 
  • Recommendation letters
  • Social security number
  • Work experience/internship certificates

What documents do I need to apply for college?

  • Personal statement – The essay/personal statement should be submitted. It is very important part of the admission process. From Common App, you can use one personal statement for multiple colleges. However, some colleges may ask for a different personal statement. The personal statement is an opportunity to express yourself beyond your grades and scores. So, do some good research, think about some ideas before you start writing this.
  • Transcripts – The original transcript of High School should be submitted. Some colleges directly ask the schools to provide transcripts. Still, you should submit the original transcripts. If you have transcripts from any other education/academic institution, do submit that too. Your transcripts is evaluated to check how you performed in your academics.
  • Test score – Many colleges and universities accept standardized test scores such as SAT and ACT. You should prepare well for these tests, and try to score well. These scores play a critical role in your admission. The scores are shared by the test-conducting institution to your college. 
  • Recommendation letters – The recommendation letters are very important. Sometimes these letters can help you get admission even when your academic record is not so good. The recommendation letters can be from teachers or counselors. Try to submit more than one recommendation letter.
  • Financial details – The colleges would like to know your financial situation. This is also to know whether you qualify for scholarships or not. If you qualify for scholarships, you may have to fill the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). So, keep your financial documents including social security number handy.