Can students apply to college online?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

Can students apply to college online?

Francine Schwartz
Founder/ President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

Online Applications - The Preferred Way to Go!

Most colleges will tell you that they prefer to have applicants apply online. With the Common Application students can use one form to apply to hundreds of colleges. Be aware that many colleges also require a supplement to be completed with questions specific to their school. Francine Schwartz M.A, , LPC, NCC Founder and President Pathfinder Counseling LLC

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

You can and should.

I worked in public education for two decades, so I have a personal understanding of how the field of education tends to lag behind in technology, but we have fully entered the world of online college applications. Even in low-income areas, most students have access to computers and the Internet and prefer the speed and ease with which online applications can be submitted. Gone are the days of typewritten or handwritten paper applications. Most students can and should apply online.

Geoff Broome
Assistant Director of Admissions Widener University


No explanation needed. Virtually every college now has an application that is online either through their website or the Commonapp.

Eric Schenfield
School Counseleor New Britain High School

Can students apply to college online?

Students can apply to colleges online. Today, colleges and students both prefer the on-line process. The Common Application is a one stop shopping for over 450 colleges across the country and even for a few countries in Europe. The website walks you through the process of applying to all participating colleges online. The website includes information on transcripts, letters of recommendations, deadlines and supplements required for each school. Schools that do not participate with the common application usually have their own on-line application.

Eric Chancy
School Counselor Apex High School - 9-12

Can students apply to college online?

More often than not, students are applying online, and over the last few years, I have seen fewer and fewer paper applications. In fact, so far this year, I have seen NONE. I would dare to say that in this day of technology utilization, if a student can't or won't navigate the online process, it may be a red flag to the school.

Margaret Tung
Strategist Yale University

Can students apply to college online?

You should check with your school, but generally these days, almost all colleges have an online application, and in fact, prefer an online application to a written one--if you have a totally separate supplemental package that you want to send, my advice would be to send it all at once before the due date, to make sure it all gets there and is evaluated together.

Patricia Krahnke
President/Partner Global College Search Associates, LLC

Can students apply to college online?

Short Answer: Of course. Detailed Answer: They prefer that you apply online, because it's less paper handling and fewer mistakes on the inputting of your data. And often colleges will charge less (or zero) for an online application and charge more for one submitted on paper. Sometimes you get your decision faster, too, if you apply online.

Owner Ellen Richards Admissions Consulting

Can students apply to college online?

In today’s world of college admissions, it seems the exception rather than the rule for students to apply to college via paper. With the introduction of the common application to the admissions process several years ago, the number of students applying to college online has increased substantially every year as have the number of colleges that accept the common application online. Thus, students can do and sometimes must apply to college online. In fact, some schools even waive the application fee for the students who do so. The common application was originally intended to make the college application process easier on the students because the notion was that students could complete one application and send it to several schools rather than complete various applications that essentially convey the same information but now they could do it with one application. However, over the years, schools have added supplements to the common application meaning that students must keep track of which schools accept common application and then of them schools which ones require a supplement which could have no additional essays or up to five to six additional essays for the most competitive colleges so the common application-tool meant to simplify the lives of college applicants-has actually made the entire process more complicated and time consuming for them.

Lynda McGee
College Counselor Downtown Magnets High School

Can students apply to college online?

In a few years, this will be the only way you can apply! In fact, some state schools (such as California) have already done away with the paper application. To encourage you to apply online, many colleges and Universities will waive the application fee entirely. Online applications are superior in that you never have to reveal that your handwriting is sloppy, and you can use editing tools to doublecheck your writing for errors. Almost all of these applications will allow you to cut and paste essays and short answers that you have already carefully crafted in a spearate document. Just remember: once you launch that application, you can't take it back, so check it carefully and then check again to be confident that it is done correctly.

Eric Beers, Ph.D.
College and Career Counselor Air Academy High School

Can students apply to college online?

Most colleges today require students to apply online. Every year, a large number of colleges eliminate the option of applying with paper copies (they just get too much mail!) Many colleges waive application fees if students apply online. And it is just easier to track what has been sent when you can just do it online. Students are so much more computer savvy than adults...if you are a parents worried about how to do it online, just have your student show you!