Apply to College
You and your teen have done your homework and have narrowed down your selection to your top college choices. The time to start applying is early in his or her senior year.
Every college and university has its own application processes. Some require application fees, high school transcripts, SAT or ACT test scores, letters of recommendation, essays or any combination of these. It’s important to work with the school’s admission office to understand the specific application requirements and deadlines for the schools your student wants to attend.
At Heritage, students complete the application online at heritage.edu/apply. There are no application fees or submission fees. In addition to the application, students need to send their high school transcript to the Admissions Office. They can get these from their high school guidance counselor or the school’s office staff.
When to apply
Some colleges and universities, particularly those that are highly-selective in their admission process, have strict deadlines. As a rule of thumb, it is better to apply early, as early as the start of your students’ senior year. While Heritage University doesn’t have a deadline for applications, when your student applies early and is accepted for admissions, he or she can get a leg up on other students on class enrollment and financial aid.
Accepted, now what?
Congratulations, your student has been accepted for admission to college. Now what? Like the application process, each college has requirements that need to be met before students start class.
Accepting your offer – Most colleges send students a letter letting them know that they were accepted for admission to the university. Students need to complete that process by following the steps outlined in the letter to accept the offer to secure their place. Again, pay close attention to any deadlines or additional requirements. Even if your teen decided to attend another university, it is good practice for them to decline other offers of admission so that those positions and the financial aid that has been set aside can be freed up for other students who are applying to those schools.
Placement testing – Colleges want students to start strong. Placement testing for math and English gives advisors a guide as to what classes would be the best first start for your son or daughter. Typically any course that is level 100 or above is considered college-ready, and the credits earned in these courses can be applied toward graduation requirements. However, it is common for students’ scores to place them into pre-college level math and/or English.
At Heritage, students can take a free onsite placement test, or submit other placement scores, such as the ACT, SAT, or Smarter Balance results, or their transcripts that show that they completed college-level math and/or English courses. If your student’s testing results show that he or she needs some development work in math or English, he or she will be enrolled in the HU Academy.
The HU Academy allows students to build their skill level in reading, writing and Math without paying the higher per-credit costs for college courses. The classes are self-paced, so students can take the entire allotted time to complete the course or move through the curriculum quickly. The HU Academy can be taken during the summer before classes begin, or, students can enroll part-time in credit-bearing classes while taking Academy courses fall semester.
Financial Aid Packaging – Once your student has accepted the university’s offer for admission, the Financial Aid office will start putting together his or her financial aid package. The package is figured from information that is received from the US or the Washington State Department of Education based on what was submitted in your student’s FAFSA/WASFA application. Some funding, such as state and federal grants and work-study, are limited and awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Students can except all or part of a financial aid package and do so by signing and returning the letter they receive to the university’s financial aid office. If the package includes student and/or parent loans that are accepted, you and your student will have to complete a promissory note and complete financial aid counseling before the start of the semester.
Enrolling in classes—Once students accept their offer of admission, they can enroll in classes as soon as the open enrollment period begins. The timeline for this varies by school. At Heritage, accepted and enrolled students’ files are sent to the Advising Center. There, they meet with an academic advisor who helps them select their first slate of courses. Students are registered for courses months before classes begin. Generally speaking, enrolling early gives your student the widest array of options for courses. Some courses fill up quickly. Students who register late may not be able to get into the classes they want or need for their degree requirements.
How and when you pay for the classes also depends upon the school your student will be attending. At Heritage, accepting the financial aid package holds a student’s position in his or her registered classes. The cost of these courses and any associated fees are charged to each student’s account. When their financial aid is received from the various funding sources (federal, state, scholarships, loans, etc.), it is applied to this balance. Any money left over after all charges for tuition, books, and fees are applied, is refunded via check to the student for use throughout the rest of the semester.
Purchasing books – College books and supplies are an expense that can add up quickly. Typically, each course as at least one book, sometimes two or three, that are used during the semester. The book information is typically found in the course descriptions. These books can be purchased new, used, or electronically, or even rented. They can be purchased through the university bookstore, a third-party retailer, or even directly from other students who have taken the course prior.
Heritage uses an online bookseller. About a month before classes start, students receive notice that book funds have been made available on their account. They can purchase their books through the university online bookstore using their account. Early ordering is encouraged so your student is assured to get his or her books in time for the start of the school year.
New Student Orientation – Some colleges and universities hold an orientation for incoming freshmen and transfer students before the start of the academic year. Even if attendance is not required, it is in your student’s best interest to attend. These orientations give students the lay of the land and introduce them to the programs, departments and people who will help them be successful in their pursuits. At Heritage, New Student Orientation (NSO) is a required course that all new students are enrolled in when they register for classes. It is also when they get their student identification and parking permits.