How To Apply To College

College students

Ready to apply to a college or university? 

This guide is here to help walk you through the process and connect you with the resources you need to get where you want to go. 

Watch the video to learn more about the college experience, admissions, financial aid, and programs of study at COCC and beyond.

Admissions:  What is the difference between a community college and a university?


Community College

Community colleges have open admissions policies:

  • To qualify for admission, students must be at least 18 years of age or possess a high school diploma or GED. High school students can take college classes through our concurrent enrollment program.  
  • All students who apply are accepted regardless of high school GPA.
  • No test scores or essays required.
  • Some programs or degrees at a community college may have selective admissions for entrance (after pre-requisites are completed).  At COCC, those programs include: Registered Nursing, Veterinary Technician, and Paramedic (see program webpages for admissions criteria). 
  • Adults can take classes at COCC without their GED or high school diploma; however, a GED or diploma is required for financial aid.  Hence, it is encouraged for prospective students to complete their diploma or GED to access financial assistance.
  • Students can apply for any academic term (fall, winter, spring, summer). Make sure you research application deadlines for each school.
  • Oregon Promise grants can only be used at Oregon community colleges.

University or 4-Year Colleges

Universities have selective admissions policies, meaning that NOT all students who apply will be accepted.  

  • Universities base admissions on a variety of factors:  GPA, high school transcripts, essays, test scores, interviews, extracurricular activities, etc.  
  • Students need to research admissions requirements for each university. 
  • Students need to research application deadlines and terms students are accepted at each school.

Oregon Goes to College provides excellent tools and resources to help students prepare for college throughout high school and beyond.


Apply to Community College

Since community colleges have open admissions (non-selective) policies, admissions processes are straight-forward and include steps to set up students accounts, apply for financial aid, choose classes, create an academic plan, and orient to the college.

  • How to apply to community college
    Below is a list of typical community college admissions steps:
    • Complete brief application with demographic information
    • Pay application fee (Students who have limited financial resources may use the NACAC Request for Admission Application Fee Waiver form when applying to college. High school students can ask their counselor or Career Center for assistance with completing and submitting form).
    • Activate accounts (set up password)
    • Orientation or welcome videos may be required
    • Provide math and writing placement (via survey questions, transcripts, or placement assessments)
    • Submit college transcripts (if student has earned college credit at another institution)
    • Attend academic advising (choose classes and create an academic plan)
    • Register for classes
    • Attend new student orientation before the start of the term
    Admission advisors are available at all schools to help students complete admissions steps, apply for financial aid, and answer frequently asked questions.
  • Apply to Central Oregon Community College
    Ready to apply to COCC?

    COCC Admissions Website

    COCC Admissions Deadlines

    First-time college students:  High school or GED graduates who have no college credits or only college credits from COCC.

    Transfer student:
    High school graduates should choose this option if they have college credits from other community colleges or universities. Transfer students need to submit their transcripts so they can get their college credit transferred to COCC.

    Have questions and want personal help with your application? Don't hesitate to contact Admissions at 541-383-7500 or email
  • Apply to other Oregon community colleges
    Oregon Goes to College: Includes a list of other community colleges in Oregon including links to admission webpages. Scroll down page to find list.

    If you are planning to attend a community college outside of your home district, make sure you research out-of-district tuition.  Call the college admission's office for questions about community college district boundaries and tuition policies. You can find tuition and fees for every college on their websites.
  • COCC on-campus housing
    Central Oregon Community College is one of a few community colleges in Oregon that offer on-campus housing for students.  Students are not required to live on-campus.  On-campus housing is an option for students on the Bend campus who would like the convenience of living on campus and experiencing on-campus life. It is recommended that students apply early for on-campus housing since space is limited. COCC On-Campus Housing Information

Apply to University or 4-Year College

Since universities and 4-year colleges have selective admissions policies, students are encouraged to carefully research admissions requirements for each school they plan to submit an application. Admission's offices at every school are available to answer questions and assist students with the process.

Admissions: Frequently Asked Questions