Out-of-State Admissions

If you are looking to attend a college outside Arizona, start researching the admissions process for the school(s) you want to attend.  The best plan is to begin as early as your freshman year, to give you more time to ensure you meet the university’s specific requirements.  In addition to different requirements, there are many types of application processes including: Early Decision, Early Action, and Open Enrollment.  

Early Decision and Early Action admission is designed for students who are sure they want to attend a specific institution.  The main difference between these two processes is that Early Decision is a binding contract between you and the university.  If you earn admission, you agree to attend that institution and withdraw all applications from other colleges; whereas Early Action is not binding.  If you are accepted under Early Action, you have the option to consider all your options before committing to that particular university.  Please note that you can only submit one Early Decision application, whereas you can submit numerous Early Action applications.  The benefit of these application processes is that you are notified of your acceptance earlier than if you applied for regular admission. 

Open Enrollment means that any student is eligible to apply for admission.  You will typically find these types of applications for community colleges and vocational institutions.    


Out-of-State Applications

Just as there are a variety of universities and colleges across the United States, there are also a variety of admission processes.  Most universities require that student complete applications during the fall semester of their senior year.  Each college has its own deadline and application, although some colleges do accept the Common Application or Universal College Application, which can be sent simultaneously to various colleges.  If you are applying to many schools that use these applications, this can save you a lot of time filling out the application basics, so you can focus on the college-specific portions of each application.

"Safe Schools" and "Reach Schools"

Consider applying to more than one college to ensure you find a school that will be a good fit.  A typical plan is to apply to a few “safe schools” and a few “reach schools.”  A safe school is a less-selective university for which you believe you are guaranteed to be admitted.  For Arizona residents, this may be one of the three Arizona Universities.  A “reach school” is a more selective university you hope to attend, but feel there may be a chance you will not be admitted.  By having a few safe schools and a few reach schools, you ensure that you will have options when it comes to decision time in the spring.

Another benefit of applying to multiple institutions is that you can compare financial aid packages the institutions offer you.  By applying to many schools, you make them compete for your tuition money.  


Application Fees

Lastly, since many applications require a fee, check in with your counselor to see if you are eligible for application fee waivers.  Some schools require a letter from your counselor, verifying that your family will not be able to carry the burden of college application fees.