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The College Application

Application Portals

Colleges offer students various Application Types for undergraduate admissions.

The vast majority of colleges employ services that provide standardized online forms. These services allow students to apply to multiple colleges without having to re-type common information, while still providing a means for colleges to ask questions particular to their programs. Some institutions accept applications from a particular service exclusively, while others accept alternatives.

Application services:

  1. The ApplyTexas is used for all Texas Public and some Private universities.
  2. The Common Application is the most used for out of state colleges – about 700 colleges.
  3. The Coalition Application is a new application system accepted by approximately 100 colleges.
  4. A NEW system called the Common Black College Application allows students to apply to 65 Historically Black Colleges and Universities for a flat fee of $20.00.

A few colleges prefer to maintain their own, online college specific applications and may or may not also accept applications through one of the services listed above. Examples of colleges that accept their own applications exclusively include the University of California.

Colleges prefer online applications but sometimes offer paper submissions for students who do not have access to computers. Please feel free to use the Counseling Office computers for your college applications.

Application Deadlines (EA, ED, RD…)

Colleges offer application deadline choices called Decision Plans (also known as "Admission Plans"). These choices are provided by each college to accommodate an applicant's readiness for application completion (i.e., all required components are ready and submitted by the deadline). At times, it can convey an applicant's level of commitment to the college.

College decision plans fall into three major categories


The College Application

The college application process can be simple or extensive depending on the colleges you are applying to. The following section will take you through the step by step process on how to apply to college! 

College Application Check list


The College Application Process- The Basics

Applying to College is FAST:

F ees
A pplication
S end Scores
T ranscript

FEES: You will pay the application fee or submit a fee waiver (if you qualify - see the information about Application fee waivers below) at the end of your application.  Most community colleges, such as TVCC Community College, do not charge an application fee.  Fees per application can range from $25.00- $90.00.

APPLICATION: Students applying to a state intuition will use the Apply Texas application found online at This includes junior colleges. Private and prestigious universities utilize the Common Application found on  Both applications become available online for students on July 1, 2020. Some students may choose to apply directly to the university through the university website, but students should be aware that they will not be able to copy an application this way. By using Apply Texas or the Common Application, students can easily copy their application information over to another application. The only advantage students have in applying directly through the university is that sometimes a fee waiver is offered. The application includes student demographic information, course history, residency questions, extracurricular and volunteerism, talents awards & honors, employment information, and an essay or two if the college requires.

SEND SCORES: Send SAT or ACT official scores to the colleges you are applying to.  If you have not taken one of the exams yet, the college you are applying to cannot consider your application until you have at least one set of scores from one of the tests. Junior colleges are the exception to this rule. Junior colleges do not require the SAT or ACT, but they require a placement test called the TSI.
SAT sign up, send scores, & testing dates:
ACT sign up, send scores, & testing dates:


 Fee Waivers: To be eligible for fee waivers, students must be on free and reduced lunch. If you know you are eligible, but you are not on free and reduced lunch, you may go to the Wills Point High school front office to obtain the form to be placed on free and reduced lunch. Students should see their counselor for fee waivers so their counselors can verify they are on free and reduced lunch. After a student uses one waiver to take the SAT test, College Board places electronic waivers in their College Board account for students to use to apply to college. 

******See the Application Checklist on the following page as a reference for all the deadlines you need to set for yourself senior year. Begin planning now. Do not wait. *****

  • Regular Decision (RD):

    The vast majority of students who apply to a given institution will do so through Regular Decision, and they can apply Regular Decision to as many schools as they would like. 

    • Unrestricted choice.
    • Time to decide where you want to apply.
    • Time to compose a well-considered application.
    • Ability to submit your 1st semester senior year grades for consideration.
    • Ability to take more standardized tests in Nov or Dec of your senior year.
    • Financial aid and scholarship awards are available to help you make your decisions.

    Rolling Admission (RA):

    Most colleges that offer Rolling Admission (RA) don't offer other ways to apply, so you are not necessarily choosing a rolling plan when you apply. Applications are accepted within a large time frame that may begin as early as August, until all positions are filled. You are notified soon after your application is received. Your response is usually not required until May 1st. These colleges believe they can assess each student individually rather than compare each student to the rest of the application pool. Since positions do fill up, and in some schools financial aid, merit scholarships, housing choices may start to run low, it is advised that you apply earlier rather than later. If you apply earlier, your junior year record should be strong and your testing should be complete by October of your senior year.

  • Early admission options, which offer additional variations:

    • Early Decision (ED): Early Decision (ED) plans are binding, which means you commit to enroll in that school if you are admitted. You are allowed to apply for an early decision to only one college. If you are accepted you will receive a financial aid package offer at around the same time, you must withdraw all applications already submitted and you may not apply elsewhere. Because an ED acceptance is a binding commitment, this choice must be very carefully considered. Involving your parents early in this decision process is critical as your family will not be able to compare financial aid packages or merit scholarship offers between colleges. If financial aid is an absolute need, it may not be a good idea for you to apply Early Decision. Some schools offer two rounds of Early Decision (ED 1 and 2), where the ED 2 deadline is just before or coincides with the Regular Decision deadline.


    • Early Action (EA): Early Action (EA) is the most flexible way to apply early. Almost all early action policies allow applicants to apply to multiple schools for early or regular admission decisions. You will receive notification of acceptance, denial or deferral usually by mid-December. If you are accepted, you are not committed to enroll and you have until May 1st to decide. This gives your family the ability to compare financial aid packages between colleges to which you are accepted.


    • Restrictive Early Action (REA), also known as Single-Choice Early Action (SCEA): A few highly selective schools employ "restrictive" or "single choice" early action policies (REA or SCEA). With these programs, you are restricted from applying early decision or early action to other private universities. Note, however, that there is no restriction regarding applying early to public or foreign institutions, as long as the application is non-binding. You may also be permitted to apply via Early Decision 2 to another private university as long as the notification is after January 1st, but if you are accepted, you must withdraw your Early Action application. Make sure you check each school's restrictions carefully and abide by those policies.

The College Essay Topics 


ApplyTexas Topics

Topic A (Freshman and International Freshman): 

Tell us your story. What unique opportunities or challenges have you experienced throughout your high school career that have shaped who you are today?

Topic B (Freshman and International Freshman): 

Most students have an identity, an interest, or a talent that defines them in an essential way. Tell us about yourself.

Topic C (Freshman and International Freshman): 

You've got a ticket in your hand - Where will you go? What will you do? What will happen when you get there?

Topic D

Please Note: The essay in this section is specific to certain college majors and is not required by all colleges/universities that accept ApplyTexas applications. If you are not applying for a major in Architecture/Interior Design, Art, Art History, Design, Studio Art, Visual Art Studies/Art Education you are not required to write this essay.

Personal interaction with objects, images and spaces can be so powerful as to change the way one thinks about particular issues or topics. For your intended area of study (architecture/interior design, art history, design, studio art, visual art studies/art education), describe an experience where instruction in that area or your personal interaction with an object, image or space effected this type of change in your thinking. What did you do to act upon your new thinking and what have you done to prepare yourself for further study in this area?


Common App Topics

1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, please share your story.

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?

4. Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma — anything of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.


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