Once you find the schools that are a good fit you can begin the application process. Most colleges have an online application, but some require paper applications for specific programs.

Placement Tests

Many colleges require applying students to test their skills prior to enrollment in order to qualify for college level courses. Accuplacer is a commonly used assessment. If you are required to take the Accuplacer test, consider preparing well in advance. MyPLACE offers adult education courses that could help you prepare. Community College of Philadelphia offers free online math prep.  


Many colleges accept College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) credits. CLEP exams, administered by the College Board, allow you to prove your mastery of college-level material, acquired through individual study or general instruction. With earned credits, you might be able to place out of certain introductory college courses. To learn more about CLEP, visit


Be sure to provide an up-to-date resume. Depending on your age, schools might not be interested in the activities you were involved in during high school. A good rule of thumb is to list experience as far back as 10 to 15 years.

Transfer Credits

If you are a returning student, you will need to transfer your credits from your previous institution. Acquiring transcripts can be a lengthy process – begin early and contact your previous institutions as soon as possible. Follow the directions for transfer students on the school’s website.