The college application process can be confusing and stressful. Let us help.

Whether you’re headed to community college, a public school, or a private school, you’re going to have to complete a college application. Texas OnCourse is here to guide you through this sometimes confusing process.

Explore the differences between different application systems and see which application your dream school accepts.

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Decide where to apply.

The resources listed on this page are for students who have researched where to go and are ready to start applying. Not sure where you want to apply? Don’t worry. Make your way over to our College Planning page.

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Find out what applications are necessary.

It used to be that every college had its own application. This made life very hard for students. These days, many colleges accept the same few applications: ApplyTexas, Common App, Coalition App, and the Universal College App. Explore the resources below to find out what’s right for you.

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Make yourself look good.

College applications take into consideration all sorts of information: your grades, test scores, extracurriculars, essays, and more. Before you submit any applications, be sure you’ve made yourself look as good as possible.

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Submit, but don’t stop there.

Getting your applications in is a big deal! But once you celebrate hitting that Submit button, keep your eyes on the prize. Visit our financial planning page to make sure you get a head start on scholarships and financial aid.

Important Dates and Deadlines


GRADES 11 &12

June SAT test date


GRADES 11 & 12

June ACT test date



Common applications open. Start applying to college!

01 - 15


Texas priority deadline for TASFA and FAFSA

All Resources for Applying to College

Late High School

College Costs: Four Tips for Four Types

As college acceptances and financial aid award letters start rolling in for high school seniors, families are beginning to count the cost of these postsecondary options. The cost of attendance for each college includes four main types of expenses. Understanding these types of expenses, some direct and some indirect, will help families decide whether a college is a financial fit and find ways to cut costs.

Leader Fellow Jenifer Price
Maximize Winter Break at Any Age

Ahhh, winter break! Time to rest and relax. It’s also a great opportunity to zero in on your future. For students with their eyes set on college, take the most of your winter break with these tips

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Starting the Conversation: Financial Aid Award Letters

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
Career Clusters and Endorsements

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.

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The Basics: Scholarship Applications

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.

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When and Why to Take the TSIA

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!

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Resources to Share: National Merit Scholarship

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.

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Access Additional College Scholarship Funds with CSS/Financial Aid PROFILE

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.

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Navigating the Many College Application Systems

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
TASFA: Help Texas Residents Access Financial Aid

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

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.

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Common App: 3 Things to Know

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.

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Best Practices: FAFSA Resources

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.

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

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The Common Application

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

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

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The Coalition Application

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

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Common App Ready

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

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The Universal College Application

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.

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