This is an exciting time! You’ve found a school and degree program that matches your educational and career interests and submitted an online college application. This is the first step in your journey towards achieving your goals. However, mixed with your excitement may be a bit of anticipation: What happens next?
Here are five common steps in the admissions process with tips on how to speed along your admissions decision.
1. CONNECT WITH AN ADMISSIONS REPRESENTATIVE. If you researched your choice school and degree program entirely online, you may not have spoken with someone prior to submitting your application. To ensure that your background and career goals align with the degree program you selected, gain insight into the application process, discover application deadlines, and get your questions answered by an expert, it’s important that you connect with an admissions representative as soon as you can. The good news: More than likely, an admissions representative will reach out to you shortly after you submit your application. “We make an effort to connect with prospective students as soon as possible,” says Angela Vieira, Online Admissions Team Leader for Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education. “We know your time is precious, and we’d love to have the chance to get to know you right when you’re going through your search process. In that call, our goal is to give you quality information to help you find out if Johnson & Wales Online is the right fit for you!”
Complete it quicker: If you happen to miss your school’s initial outreach, don’t wait for them to call you back. Take down their contact information and either call them back at your earliest convenience or send an email to schedule a time to talk which is convenient for you.
2. REQUEST YOUR TRANSCRIPTS. You will need to provide transcripts, and/or certifications from previous institutions in order for Admissions to make an official decision. How many transcripts you need to gather depends on how many schools you have attended. (For example, if you previously attended college and are applying for a bachelor’s degree program, you will need to submit your official high school transcripts, in addition to your official college transcripts.) Your transcripts provide your future school with the opportunity to review the courses you have completed in comparison to the courses in your chosen program. There may be a grade requirement and program residency (how many courses need to be completed at the university), but no year limitations (expiration date) to the transfer policy. “You already completed and paid for the course, so why would you take it and pay for it again if you do not have to?” says Denise Duval, Online Student Transfer Advisor for JWU Online.
Complete it quicker: More than likely, an admissions representative will be helping you navigate the ins and outs of gathering your transcripts. Be sure to ask them how to initiate the transcript request process electronically if your school allows us to request the transcripts on your behalf (many schools do) — and they may even pay the fees! JWU College of Online Education uses DocuSign to send authorization forms to students via email. Within minutes you can complete necessary paperwork to request your transcripts and move on to your next step while we request your transcripts for you.
3. FILL OUT THE FAFSA. “Every student should complete the FAFSA application,” says Michelle Doss, Online Student Financial Planning Counselor with JWU Online. FAFSA stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and you can apply for it whether you are pursuing your bachelor’s or master’s degree. Michelle explains, “Financial aid refers to both student loans and grants. Students often worry they will not qualify; however, all US citizens are eligible for student loans and the application will let us know if you are eligible for grants. The school will help review the submitted application to determine your eligibility and set up your financial plan.” You can complete it 100 percent online in about 30 minutes, and, while it could potentially save you money, it doesn’t cost you a dime!
Complete it quicker: In order to file the FAFSA as quickly as possible, you’ll need to have the following at hand: your social security number, most recent tax return, bank and investment statements, and your personal FSA ID. If you do not currently have an FSA ID, click here to create one.
4. REQUEST LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION. If you are applying for a graduate program, your institution may request two or more letters of recommendation. “The letter of recommendation is key in helping us to understand a student’s skills in areas like leadership, planning, and how well you communicate with others. Knowing where a student is at with certain skill sets helps us to plan for your future success,” says Lisa Koenig, Assistant Director of Online Admissions.
Complete it quicker: Instead of writing a letter, your recommendation source may be able to fill out a form that meets the same requirement. For example, prospective JWU Online students can share this form with an employer or other individual who is familiar with their educational and professional background. Even if such a form isn’t available at your institution, inquire if there’s an email address to submit your letters so that they don’t have to be sent via regular mail.
5. WRITE A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE OR PERSONAL ESSAY. It’s not unusual for a university to require a short (usually one page) essay for admission, especially for a graduate program. This is your chance to put into words your motivation for pursuing your degree — don’t put it off!
Complete it quicker: Here’s a template for a Solid Statement of Purpose. Use it to outline your own essay. You may be surprised how motivating it is to put your aspirations down on paper.
Now that you have a good idea of what’s typically needed to move from applicant to accepted student, it’s time to dive in! And remember to lean on the admissions support available to you — don’t let your questions become roadblocks to achieving your goals.
For more information on pursuing your degree at Johnson & Wales University College of Online Education, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881 or email [email protected].