What Are Typical University Requirements for Enrollment?

Standardized tests scores and high school transcripts are almost always required for enrollment in a university. Other enrollment requirements, such as letters of recommendation or essays, may not apply for all colleges and universities. Read below for information regarding the typical university requirements for enrollment.

University Enrollment Overview

Admission requirements vary from university to university, but there are a few requirements staples in the admissions process. This article explores some of the most common admissions mandates and offers specifics about each.

Important Facts About University Enrollment Requirements

Application Form Many accept the online Common Application or the Universal College Application
Fees Generally required, but can be waived in cases of financial hardship
Deadlines Dates vary for early decision and regular admissions
Other Common Requirements Interview with school officials or alumni, listing of extracurricular activities

High School Diploma or GED

In most cases, a high school diploma is required prior to enrollment into a college or university. High school diplomas are awarded to students who successfully complete an accredited high school curriculum. Those who have not completed high school may take the General Educational Development (GED) exam. Passing this exam demonstrates that a student has the equivalent of a high school education without having to complete a high school program.

Standardized Test Scores

Most universities take an applicant's standardized test scores into consideration. Standardized tests, including the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) and the American College Testing (ACT) exam, are used to assess a student's skill level in subject areas that include mathematics, literacy and writing skills. These tests attempt to provide a fair assessment of aptitude and play an important role in the acceptance of a student.

Letters of Recommendation

Many universities require applicants to provide letters of recommendation. These letters may come from a student's high school teacher, school counselor, volunteer adviser or someone else who can testify to his or her academic and personal achievement and character. Letters of recommendation may weigh heavily in a university's decision because they offer a first-hand account of a student's capabilities.

Statement of Purpose

As part of a university application packet, an original statement of purpose or essay is often required. This essay may answer a question posed by the university or explain a student's experience, educational background and interests. A statement of purpose or essay can function in the same way as an admission interview, in that it gives the applicant a chance to present him or herself to the admissions committee. Applicants typically explain why they are a good fit for a particular college or university.

Official Transcripts

High school transcripts are often a requirement for enrollment into universities. Transcripts are also required for students who want to transfer from one postsecondary institution to another. These transcripts show the grade for each class taken by the applicant and the applicant's overall grade point average (GPA).

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