The procedure starts with filling out an application form. You can download it from the college’s Web site, if one is available, or request one by e-mail. Include the proper documents and processing fees, then mail the packet to the admissions office.
Processing fees for admission vary, starting from about $25.
You will need to present official copies of transcripts from any colleges or universities you have attended. Usually, you must contact the school from which you graduated. Transcripts are sent directly from one school to the other to protect the integrity of the process.
Letters of Recommendation
You will usually be asked to provide three letters of recommendation from your teachers or people who have worked closely with you. These are usually written and sent “in confidence” to the school by the person providing the reference.
The interview is another tradition that education doesn’t quite know what to do with in the new online world of distance learning. Some schools require that you visit the campus for an interview. If you live far from the school, you might be able to negotiate around this requirement, or substitute for it with a phone interview.
Like the job search in the business world, the application process in the academic world can be a bit onerous. Some schools do not automatically grant admission, and some schools admit only a certain percentage of applicants. It is a good idea to prepare applications in twos or threes: two packets to schools that are a “stretch” for you (a school with very high standards, well known, probably expensive); two or three to schools that will probably accept you and that you would like to attend: and two or three “fallback” schools (easy for you to get into and attend, and that you will be happy attending if your first choices do not accept you). Again, many online schools are faster than traditional schools in the admission process.
Credit for Life Experience
Some schools might give you some credit for related work experience. It does not hurt to ask. That could save you some time and money. You’ll probably have to write a self-reflection paper so be prepared.
Credit by Examinations
If you feel there is a subject in your program that you know very well, you can ask to be tested. If you pass, you don’t have to take the course. There is usually a charge for that, but it is still far less than the cost of taking the course.