Applying to college can be confusing and stressful. Let us help.

Whether a student’s headed to community college, a public school, or a private school, they’re going to have to apply. Ensure your counselors and teachers are equipped to navigate this at-times confusing process, explore the differences between different application systems, and access resources to help students before and after submitting.

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Understand the different application systems.

There are several types of applications – ApplyTexas, individual school applications, the Common App, and more. Make sure you understand the difference between them with helpful trainings in the Texas OnCourse Academy.

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Ensure that students can afford to apply.

Fee waivers are key to helping low-income students get their foot in the door at their dream school. Understand how to access and use waivers in different application systems.

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Streamline application season.

There’s so much to keep track of – admission requirements, types of decisions, application follow-up, your role as a counselor or adviser. The Texas OnCourse Academy keeps you from having to Google to keep it straight!

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Don’t stop now.

Applying to college is only half the battle. Explore more resources related to financial aid and scholarships, both in the Texas OnCourse Academy and on our Finances page.

Important Dates and Deadlines

JUN
2

GRADES 11 &12

June SAT test date

JUN
9

GRADES 11 & 12

June ACT test date

OCT
01

GRADE 12

Common applications open. Start applying to college!

MAY
1

GRADE 12

National Decision Day: Pick your college!

All Resources for Applying to College

Middle School

Help us Fulfill Your Data Needs. (Survey)
BLOG

Texas OnCourse aims to build a data widget that helps the members of the educational community track the readiness and outcomes of their students. To ensure that we are addressing the community’s interests, we would like to hear about your data needs and challenges!

Small sample pie graphs representing public university application rates by race and ethnicity
My Top Resources to Sharpen Your Career and Technical Education Skills
BLOG

Did you know that February is Career and Technical Education Month? CTE Month is a public awareness campaign initiated by the Association for Career and Technical Education.

Leader Fellow Calvin Jordan
Career Clusters and Endorsements
BLOG

What are the differences between Career Clusters and Endorsements, and how do they hang together?
This is the second in a series of posts on high school endorsements.

Icon of lightbulb surrounded by smaller icons of calculators, beakers, atoms and graphs
High School Endorsements: The Basics
BLOG

What are endorsements? For parents and guardians, hearing that their eighth grader will have to select an endorsement can be confusing. After all, when today’s adults were in school, such a thing didn’t exist!

Man in graduation cap selecting from tiny versions of himself as doctor, businessman, chef and construction worker
Announcing Release of New Middle School College & Career Resources
LESSONS AND CURRICULUM

Texas OnCourse is excited to announce the release of key resources to prepare middle school students for college and career decisions: our Curriculum Guide, and career exploration game MiddleGalaxy.

Two latino children at laptops
College and Career Advising in Texas
REPORT

Texas OnCourse administered a survey to K-12 counselors and advisers throughout Texas to better understand the state of college and career advising. Feedback from school counselors is crucial to maximizing the impact of our counseling and advising resources. Texas OnCourse is committed to using the data supplied in this survey to maximize the services we provide to our community.

Diverse students reading at tablets
The College and Employment Outcomes of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrators
REPORT

For our Data Note No. 2, we investigated how college and employment outcomes vary based on whether students concentrated in CTE (defined as taking three or more courses in the same CTE subject) and in what discipline they concentrated.

Small screenshot of bar-graph titled "fall 2014 postsecondary enrollment by CTE cluster concentration"
Full Catalog of Free Training for Counselors and Advisers Now Available
BLOG

Our succinct and effective modules fall under three primary categories: Postsecondary Pathways, Career Pathways, and Financial Aid. Prepare students for success regardless of their academic path with this comprehensive resource that supports your day-to-day work advising your students.

Text: College, Career, Financial Aid
Texas OnCourse Academy
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Texas OnCourse Academy provides comprehensive learning on college and career advising to educators.

Texas OnCourse logo

Early High School

Help us Fulfill Your Data Needs. (Survey)
BLOG

Texas OnCourse aims to build a data widget that helps the members of the educational community track the readiness and outcomes of their students. To ensure that we are addressing the community’s interests, we would like to hear about your data needs and challenges!

Small sample pie graphs representing public university application rates by race and ethnicity
What are the endorsement choices of 9th graders enrolled in Texas Schools in 2015-16?
REPORT

Texas OnCourse has published a new data note highlighting the differences in how various demographic groups select their high school endorsements.

Report showing percentage of ninth graders pursuing endorsements by gender
My Top Resources to Sharpen Your Career and Technical Education Skills
BLOG

Did you know that February is Career and Technical Education Month? CTE Month is a public awareness campaign initiated by the Association for Career and Technical Education.

Leader Fellow Calvin Jordan
Career Clusters and Endorsements
BLOG

What are the differences between Career Clusters and Endorsements, and how do they hang together?
This is the second in a series of posts on high school endorsements.

Icon of lightbulb surrounded by smaller icons of calculators, beakers, atoms and graphs
College and Career Advising in Texas
REPORT

Texas OnCourse administered a survey to K-12 counselors and advisers throughout Texas to better understand the state of college and career advising. Feedback from school counselors is crucial to maximizing the impact of our counseling and advising resources. Texas OnCourse is committed to using the data supplied in this survey to maximize the services we provide to our community.

Diverse students reading at tablets
The College and Employment Outcomes of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrators
REPORT

For our Data Note No. 2, we investigated how college and employment outcomes vary based on whether students concentrated in CTE (defined as taking three or more courses in the same CTE subject) and in what discipline they concentrated.

Small screenshot of bar-graph titled "fall 2014 postsecondary enrollment by CTE cluster concentration"
How University Application Rates Vary by Race/Ethnicity
REPORT

If Texas colleges want to boost attainment and college completion rates, we need a clear picture of how students are actually applying to college. This inaugural Texas OnCourse Data Note investigates how university application rates vary according to race and ethnicity.

Small sample pie graphs representing public university application rates by race and ethnicity
When and Why to Take the TSIA
BLOG

The Texas Success Initiative Assessments (TSIA) are part of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) program designed to help a student's college or university determine if the student is ready for college-level coursework in reading, writing, and mathematics. Let us explain when and why to take the exam!

Woman's hands working at laptop
Resources to Share: National Merit Scholarship
BLOG

The fall is PSAT season, which means students have questions about the National Merit Scholarship. Often, students don’t fully understand why the PSAT is important, except as a practice for the SAT. We've created simple graphs that can help you guide your students.

Text - help students understand the national merit scholarship
Full Catalog of Free Training for Counselors and Advisers Now Available
BLOG

Our succinct and effective modules fall under three primary categories: Postsecondary Pathways, Career Pathways, and Financial Aid. Prepare students for success regardless of their academic path with this comprehensive resource that supports your day-to-day work advising your students.

Text: College, Career, Financial Aid
TASFA: Help Texas Residents Access Financial Aid
FINANCE

Undocumented and DACA-status students are often confused or frightened about how to seek financial aid. In today’s climate, students may have a particularly hard time seeking this sort of help from authority figures. As a Texas educator, you can assure students that in-state financial aid is available to all students who reside here, not just citizens.

Texas Flag labeled Texas Application for State Financial Aid
ACT vs SAT
BLOG

Students often ask themselves, do I take the SAT or the ACT? We do recommend that students take full length practice tests of both, or even take both tests (both offer fee waivers!) - but included here is a chart detailing the similarities and differences between the two major college exams.

Text logos for SAT and ACT
Texas OnCourse Academy
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Texas OnCourse Academy provides comprehensive learning on college and career advising to educators.

Texas OnCourse logo

Late High School

Help us Fulfill Your Data Needs. (Survey)
BLOG

Texas OnCourse aims to build a data widget that helps the members of the educational community track the readiness and outcomes of their students. To ensure that we are addressing the community’s interests, we would like to hear about your data needs and challenges!

Small sample pie graphs representing public university application rates by race and ethnicity
Starting the Conversation: Financial Aid Award Letters
BLOG

As we leave 2018 FAFSA priority deadlines behind us, students are checking their portals and mailboxes for their financial aid award letters. As they gear up to make big decisions about their financial and educational future, here are a series of helpful terms and questions to help guide students through their award letters.

Icons: wrapped present for gift aid, paper on clip board for loans, hand holding dollars for work study
My Top Resources to Sharpen Your Career and Technical Education Skills
BLOG

Did you know that February is Career and Technical Education Month? CTE Month is a public awareness campaign initiated by the Association for Career and Technical Education.

Leader Fellow Calvin Jordan
Career Clusters and Endorsements
BLOG

What are the differences between Career Clusters and Endorsements, and how do they hang together?
This is the second in a series of posts on high school endorsements.

Icon of lightbulb surrounded by smaller icons of calculators, beakers, atoms and graphs
Financial Aid Timeline
BLOG

The FAFSA has now been open since October 1, so as the March 15 deadline roles closer, students may be wondering what their next steps are.

Outline of clock
The Basics: Scholarship Applications
BLOG

Starting the scholarship process can be overwhelming for students! Here, we’ve organized our tips into four simple steps to get students started on their application process, with downloadable resources for students, parents, and educators.

Image of George Washington from the dollar bill winking. Headline: Get money.
College and Career Advising in Texas
REPORT

Texas OnCourse administered a survey to K-12 counselors and advisers throughout Texas to better understand the state of college and career advising. Feedback from school counselors is crucial to maximizing the impact of our counseling and advising resources. Texas OnCourse is committed to using the data supplied in this survey to maximize the services we provide to our community.

Diverse students reading at tablets
The College and Employment Outcomes of Career and Technical Education (CTE) Concentrators
REPORT

For our Data Note No. 2, we investigated how college and employment outcomes vary based on whether students concentrated in CTE (defined as taking three or more courses in the same CTE subject) and in what discipline they concentrated.

Small screenshot of bar-graph titled "fall 2014 postsecondary enrollment by CTE cluster concentration"
How University Application Rates Vary by Race/Ethnicity
REPORT

If Texas colleges want to boost attainment and college completion rates, we need a clear picture of how students are actually applying to college. This inaugural Texas OnCourse Data Note investigates how university application rates vary according to race and ethnicity.

Small sample pie graphs representing public university application rates by race and ethnicity
When and Why to Take the TSIA
BLOG

The Texas Success Initiative Assessments (TSIA) are part of the Texas Success Initiative (TSI) program designed to help a student's college or university determine if the student is ready for college-level coursework in reading, writing, and mathematics. Let us explain when and why to take the exam!

Woman's hands working at laptop
Resources to Share: National Merit Scholarship
BLOG

The fall is PSAT season, which means students have questions about the National Merit Scholarship. Often, students don’t fully understand why the PSAT is important, except as a practice for the SAT. We've created simple graphs that can help you guide your students.

Text - help students understand the national merit scholarship
Access Additional College Scholarship Funds with CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE
BLOG

In October, many college counselors and advisers are heads-down focused on helping students with FAFSA and TASFA applications. However, did you know students and families may qualify for additional financial aid through the CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE application? This application is used by 300+ colleges and scholarship providers and, like the SAT, is administered by the College Board.

Text: CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE
Navigating the Many College Application Systems
BLOG

The various college application systems each have unique characteristics that that can make it hard for even the most seasoned counselor to quickly and easily remember specific details. Fortunately, Texas OnCourse has put together a one page resource you can hang in your classroom to make it easy to remember.

Text: Apply Texas, Common App, Coalition App, Universal App
Full Catalog of Free Training for Counselors and Advisers Now Available
BLOG

Our succinct and effective modules fall under three primary categories: Postsecondary Pathways, Career Pathways, and Financial Aid. Prepare students for success regardless of their academic path with this comprehensive resource that supports your day-to-day work advising your students.

Text: College, Career, Financial Aid
TASFA: Help Texas Residents Access Financial Aid
FINANCE

Undocumented and DACA-status students are often confused or frightened about how to seek financial aid. In today’s climate, students may have a particularly hard time seeking this sort of help from authority figures. As a Texas educator, you can assure students that in-state financial aid is available to all students who reside here, not just citizens.

Texas Flag labeled Texas Application for State Financial Aid
ACT vs SAT
BLOG

Students often ask themselves, do I take the SAT or the ACT? We do recommend that students take full length practice tests of both, or even take both tests (both offer fee waivers!) - but included here is a chart detailing the similarities and differences between the two major college exams.

Text logos for SAT and ACT
Common App: 3 Things to Know
BLOG

While the Common App makes it easier to apply to many colleges, including most Ivy League schools and many private colleges across the nation, that doesn’t make the college application process simple. Here are 3 top tips for students as well as for counselors, parents and guardians using the Common App.

Text: Our top tips for the Common Application
Best Practices: FAFSA Resources
BLOG

Among young people who did not finish college, nearly seven in 10 have no idea what FAFSA is, according to a 2011 survey. This not only undercuts their ability to pay for, and complete, college. It also makes them vulnerable to scamming and other malicious acts.

Text: The good, the bad and the ugly
Texas OnCourse Academy
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Texas OnCourse Academy provides comprehensive learning on college and career advising to educators.

Texas OnCourse logo
ApplyTexas
APPLYING TO COLLEGE

Apply to all Texas two- and four-year public schools, and some private schools, with this streamlined application.

Web screenshot: log in panel for ApplyTexas
The Common Application
APPLYING TO COLLEGE

The Common Application is a central application to public and private universities across the country. Understand and apply.

Common Application Homepage, reading college is ready for you
FAFSA
FINANCES

Federal funding is the largest source of financial aid. Apply for grants, loans, and other types of aid with this free application.

Screenshot: Federal Student Aid homepage with options to log in and start a new FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid)
The Coalition Application
APPLYING TO COLLEGE

The Coalition Application makes applying to college more accessible for low-income and first-generation students.

Web screenshot: Diverse students at graduation ceremony. Label: making college a reality for all students.
Common App Ready
APPLYING TO COLLEGE

The Common Application provides this resource full of college essay writing tips, guidance on college recommendations, understanding application fees, fee waivers, and more.

Screenshot: Image of woman working at computer with buttons plan ahead, explore colleges, and virtual counselor
The Universal College Application
APPLYING TO COLLEGE

With the Universal College Application, students save time by submitting a single application to participating institutions. The website also provides financial aid and testing resources, as well as a central place for students, counselors, and advisers to submit important forms.

Screenshot of college search function