Applying for Higher Education

Its never too late to begin to preparing to go to college.
Youth in Care

You may have the desire to go to college but have no idea how to get there. Below are some resources that can help you through the application process. But first things first...

Completing High School

As a youth in care, you may need assistance understanding or meeting all the requirements you will need to complete in order to graduate. These include required courses, and may include community service and extracurricular activities. You can get advice on what classes to take during high school and information on extracurricular activities at

College Preparation Timelines

Having a timeline that tells you when you should be doing certain things, such as taking college entrance exams, visiting colleges, applying to colleges and applying for financial aid, can really take the mystery out of the college preparation process. Visit

What You Need to Know About Applying

There is more than one way to apply for higher education and there may be fees associated with them. Here's some information that may be helpful for you.

The Common Application

The Common Application is a single application that many colleges have agreed to accept. The Common Application may be helpful, because once completed, copies can be sent to any number of participating colleges. This means you spend less time on paperwork, and more time on researching colleges, going on college visits, writing your personal essay, and finishing high school. For more information about the common application, the participating schools and the application requirements, visit the web site at


There are fees associated with applying to college. If you are applying to several colleges those fees can add up. However, you may be eligible for college application fee waivers. In some cases, individual colleges have specific policies, income guidelines and forms used to determine fee waivers. So, be sure to check with them directly. Your high school guidance counselor can also be a valuable resource for more information about application fee waivers. The following web sites can also help:

  • The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) has an "Application for Fee Waiver Form" that you can download from their web site. This web site also has information about who is eligible to use the form, requirements for completing the form, and frequently asked questions.
  • The College Board accepts fee waivers from eligible students who took the SAT. Test-takers who received an SAT fee waiver may qualify for up to four college application fee waivers.

Educational Support Programs

Below is information on a few programs that provide support and may be available at the college to which you are applying.  As a youth in care or formerly in care it is likely that you will qualify for these programs. ALL OF THESE PROGRAMS REQUIRE YOU TO APPLY FOR THE PROGRAM AS PART OF SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION. YOU WILL FIND ON THE APPLICATION A SECTION THAT ASKS IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN APPLYING FOR THESE PROGRAMS. BE SURE TO INDICATE YOUR INTEREST.

EOP: Colleges with Universities in the SUNY System

The State University of New York's Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) provides access, academic support, and financial aid to students who show promise for mastering college-level work, but who may otherwise not be admitted. Support services may include counseling, tutoring, modest financial, academic advisement aid and educational/skill-building workshops. In addition, students may be required to attend a pre-freshman summer program prior to fall matriculation. Offered primarily to full-time students who are New York State residents, EOP accepts students who qualify, academically and economically, for the program.

HEOP: Private Colleges and Universities

The Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) is an academic support program established by the State of New York in 1970. It enables motivated students who lack adequate preparation and financial resources for college attendance to pursue a college degree. To meet the specific need of its students, HEOP primarily provides testing, counseling, and tutoring. Academic advisement and financial assistance are also available.


SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation and Knowledge) is a higher education opportunity program found at each of the senior colleges of the City University of New York. The SEEK Program provides special academic, financial and counseling assistance to students entering college for the first time. The program provides services to help students succeed in the college setting.

College Discovery

College Discovery (CD) is a special program funded by New York State for financially and educationally disadvantaged students. Students who are in the CD program may receive money for books and fees. These funds are grants and do not have to be repaid. CD students also receive additional counseling and tutorial services through the Department of Student Life.