Apply for College

We’ll Help You Get Started!

Applying for college in Mississippi doesn’t have to be daunting. Here are the general steps:

Step 1 – Make Sure You Meet the General Admission Requirements

For admission to Mississippi’s public universities:


The College Prep Curriculum for students graduating from high school and entering a public institution of higher learning the summer of 2012 is as follows:

English 4 Carnegie Units All must require substantial communication skills components (e.g., reading, writing, listening, and speaking).
Mathematics 3 Carnegie Units Includes Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II. A fourth class in higher- level mathematics is highly recommended.
Science 3 Carnegie Units Biology, Advanced Biology, Chemistry, Advanced Chemistry, Physics, and Advanced Physics or any other science course with comparable rigor and content. One Carnegie unit from a Physical Science course with content at a level that may serve as an introduction to Physics and Chemistry may be used. Two of the courses chosen must be laboratory-based.
Social Studies 3 Carnegie Units Courses should include United States History (1 unit), World History (1 unit with substantial geography component), Government (½ unit), and Economics (½ unit) or Geography (½ unit).
Advanced Electives 2 Carnegie Units Requirements may be met by earning 2 Carnegie units from the following areas/courses, one of which must be in Foreign Language or World Geography, Foreign Language, World Geography, fourth-year lab-based Science, fourth-year Mathematics.
Computer Applications ½ Carnegie Unit The course should include use of application packages such as word processing and spreadsheets. The course should also include basic computer terminology and hardware operation.
Pre-High School Units Algebra I, first-year Foreign Language, Mississippi Studies, or Computer Applications taken prior to high school will be accepted for admission provided the course content is the same as the high school course.


The College Prep Curriculum for students graduating from high school and entering a public institution of higher learning beginning in the summer of 2012 is as follows:

English 4 Carnegie Units Compensatory Reading and Compensatory Writing may not be included.
Mathematics 4 Carnegie Units Includes Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II, and any one Carnegie Unit of comparable rigor and content (e.g., Advanced Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, Calculus, AP Calculus AB, AP Calculus BC, Discrete Mathematics, Probability and Statistics, or AP Statistics).
Science 4 Carnegie Units Includes Biology I, Chemistry I, and any two Carnegie Units of comparable rigor and content (e.g., Physics, Physical Science, Biology II, Chemistry II, AP Chemistry, Physics II, AP Physics B, AP Physics C – Electricity and Magnetism, and AP Physics C – Mechanics, Botany, Microbiology, or Human Anatomy and Physiology).
Social Studies 4 Carnegie Units Includes World History, U.S. History, Introduction to World Geography, U.S. Government, Economics, and Mississippi Studies. (Credit earned for a State/Local Government course in any other state may stand in lieu of Mississippi Studies.)
Arts 1 Carnegie Unit Includes any one Carnegie Unit of visual and performing arts course(s) meeting the requirements for high school graduation.
Advanced Electives 2 Carnegie Units Includes any two Carnegie Units of Foreign Language (I and II), Advanced World Geography and a Foreign Language (I) or any combination of English, mathematics, or lab-based science courses of comparable rigor and content to those required above.
Computer Applications ½ Carnegie Unit Course should emphasize the computer as a productivity tool. Instruction should include the use of application packages, such as word processing and spreadsheets. The course should also include basic computer terminology and hardware operation.
Pre-High School Units Algebra I, first-year Foreign Language, Mississippi Studies, or Computer Applications taken prior to high school will be accepted for admission, provided the course content is the same as the high school course.

If you want to go to one of Mississippi’s eight public universities, you should meet ONE of the following criteria:

Complete the College Preparatory Curriculum (CPC), (See Credits Needed for College) with a minimum 3.2 high school grade point average (GPA) on the CPC; or
Complete the CPC with a minimum 2.50 high school GPA on the CPC or a class rank in the top 50 percent, and a score of 16 or higher on the ACT* (Composite); or
Complete the CPC with a minimum 2.00 high school GPA on the CPC and a score of 18 or higher on the ACT* (Composite); or
*In lieu of ACT scores, students may submit equivalent SAT scores.

NCAA Requirements

If you are an athlete, you must satisfy the NCAA standards for student athletes who are “full-qualifiers” for Division I and Division II guidelines. Click here for a steps to achieving your NCAA  Eligibility from Freshmen Year to Graduation. NCAA also has a helpful guide 2011-12 Guide for the College-Bound Student-Athlete.

HEY: If you don’t meet any of the above criteria, you may still get in.

You should apply to the public university you want to attend. The university will require you to undergo an on-campus placement process. As part of the placement process, you’ll have to take an Accuplacer exam.

The placement process will determine whether you can enroll in regular freshman-level courses with some academic support OR you need to enroll in the summer semester with mandatory participation in the Summer Developmental Program.

The Summer Developmental Program is an intensive 10-week program, designed to help you become “college-ready.” If you successfully complete the summer semester, then you can enroll in the fall semester with academic support. If you don’t successfully complete the summer semester, the admissions counselor will talk to you about other educational options.

Financial aid is available for students enrolled in the Summer Developmental Program.

For more information about public university admission standards, call 601.432.6501.

Step 2 – Apply to Your Chosen Schools

Every college will have its own requirements and deadlines for admission, so look at the college’s admissions website or call the admissions office for the details.

The Basics

In almost all cases, colleges will require:

  • Completed application form
  • High school transcript or GED
  • ACT or SAT test scores
  • Immunization records
  • Non-refundable application fee (can sometimes be waived in cases of financial need)


Some colleges, or specific college programs, will require:

  • Essays – Proofread, proofread, proofread. Nothing says “I don’t really care” like grammar and spelling mistakes.
  • Interviews – If an interview is required, be ready to answer questions like “Tell me a little about yourself.” “Why do you want to attend our school?” “What do you plan to major in?” And let’s not forget the old favorite, “Where do you see yourself 20 years from now?”
  • Auditions & Portfolios – If you’re trying to get into a theater or music program, you might have to audition. Art programs may require a portfolio of work.
  • Lists of Activities – Some colleges, especially selective colleges, will want to know what extracurricular activities (sports, clubs, volunteerism, etc.) you’ve participated in. See the Extras section.
  • Letters of Recommendation – Some colleges, or specific college programs, will require letters of recommendation. It is really important to ask your teachers for these in advance. And make sure they are submitted ON TIME. You might have to give your teacher a friendly reminder.

Most colleges allow (or require) you to apply online or at least download the required forms. No typewriters or snail mail required.

Remember to visit the admissions page on the college’s website before you fill out the actual application to make sure you know the requirements and deadlines.

If you apply online, don’t mail a duplicate printed application, unless it is specifically requested. Duplicate forms are unnecessary, and they slow down the process.


Public Universities

Private Colleges

Community Colleges

Step 3 – Apply for College Housing

Some colleges require certain students (like Freshmen and Sophomores) to live on campus. If you’re going to one of these colleges, you need to get your housing application in ASAP. The best housing fills up fast, and trust us, you want the best housing you can get.

Even if you aren’t required to live on campus, but you decide to check out dorm life, you still need to apply for housing, and it is still a good idea to do it early.

Living on campus will broaden your college experience and provide you with opportunities to make new friends and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Typical Dorm Room Features

  • Computer Labs
  • Window Blinds
  • Elevators
  • Local Telephone Services with Call Waiting
  • Security Doors
  • Handicap Accessible
  • Kitchens
  • Vending Machines
  • Wireless Internet Access
  • Cable TV, 50+ Channels
  • Unlimited-Access Commercial-Sized Washers and Dryers
  • Ethernet Access

Typical On-Campus Services

  • Post Office
  • Copy Center
  • Fitness Center
  • Laundry
  • Health Center
  • Writing Lab
  • Food Court
  • Library

Living On Campus

Typical Dorm Rooms:

(Need a average dorm room layout graphic here)
Most dorm housing consists of either a room off a hallway, or a suite with several bedrooms and a living room. In most cases, you’ll be sharing a bathroom with other students. The bathrooms may be single-sex or coed.


It’s pretty rare to get a room by yourself as a first-year student. Having a single has its obvious perks, but there are a few negatives. Usually, single rooms cost more. And you might miss the companionship of a roommate, especially when you first arrive on campus.


A double — sharing a bedroom with one other person — is by far the most common setup at most colleges. You and your roommate can decide how to set up the room. Rooms with bunk beds may give you some extra space.


This is a nice option if you can get it. Suites usually consist of a couple of bedrooms and some kind of shared living space. For instance, a quad (four people) might be made up of two double bedrooms and one common room. You get the best of both worlds with this option; you can go into your bedroom to sleep while your roommate studies or talks on the phone in the common room.

The dorms can help jump-start your social life, ease the transition to life on your own and introduce you to a diverse group of people. Although there are some drawbacks — sharing a bathroom, coordinating schedules — most students feel that the rewards outweigh the frustrations.

Living Off Campus: Pros and Cons

The first thing to do before deciding to live off campus is to consider how you live and study. Apartment or house living involves some trade-offs. For example, you can save money on housing by sharing an apartment, but you may need to spend money on commuting to campus. Here are some things to consider.


  • Living off campus can be cheaper than living in university housing, depending on circumstances.
  • You’ll probably have more independence, freedom, privacy and space.
  • Private apartments are usually quieter and have fewer distractions than dorms, which makes them better for studying.
  • Having a rental history makes it easier to get a place to live after you graduate.
  • You can make your own meals.
  • There are probably fewer people sharing the bathroom. You may even have your own private bathroom.


  • Living off campus can actually be more expensive. You’ll probably have to pay a security deposit and the first and last month’s rent, as well as utilities. Additional costs may include furniture, furnishings, appliances, cleaning supplies, groceries and transportation.
  • You need to arrange your own Internet and cable TV connections.
  • You have more chores: renters usually spend more time grocery shopping, preparing meals, cleaning and commuting than dorm dwellers.
  • If you have one or more housemates, you have to negotiate agreements on household concerns such as privacy, sharing housework, and dividing utility bills and rent.
  • You may be more isolated from campus and other students.
  • You have more responsibilities and liabilities.
  • For year-long leases, you may need to find someone to sublet your place during the summer.

Think about what’s important to you and put together your own pros and cons list. You might also want to do a side-by-side comparison of all the expenses involved in living on campus versus living off campus.

If you do decide to live off campus, see if your college has an off-campus housing office that can advise you on where to search and what you should know about signing a lease.

Step 4 – Apply for Financial Aid

The application for admission probably isn’t the only application you’ll have to fill out. You definitely need to complete the financial aid applications.

Financial Aid Applications

See the Financial Aid section. After you apply for admission, go ahead and apply for federal and state aid. Then look into private or institutional aid.

The Financial Aid Steps:

Even if you think your family makes too much money to qualify for financial aid, you should apply. What have you got to lose? If you don’t apply, you might miss out on thousands!

Step 5 – Apply for College Checklist

Meet the Class Requirements
  • English   4 Units
  • Mathematics   3-4 Units
  • Sciences   3-4 Units
  • Social Sciences   3-4 Units
  • Advanced Electives   2 Units
  • Computer Applications   1/2 Unit
  • Arts   1 or more Units
  • Pre-High School Units: Algebra I, first-year Foreign Language, Mississippi Studies, or Computer Applications
Classes and Tests
  • Know your GPA!  Go to your counselor and request an update
  • Take the ACT or the SAT
Apply for your chosen school
  • Complete the school(s) Application Form
  • Have multiple copies of your High School Transcript
  • Have multiple copies of your ACT or SAT Scores
  • A copy of your Immunization Records (Get these from your Family Doctor)
  • Your no-refundable application fee or a copy of your fee waiver.
  • A copy of any needed essays
  • Letters of Recommendations: Sealed and signed
  • Any other recommended items such as Portfolios or List of Activities
Apply for Housing
  • Know your options and weigh the Pros and Cons
  • Compare the expenses of living on campus vs. living in an apartment or shared housing. Expenses include electricity, water, garbage, cable/internet, and transportation
  • Apply for your housing
Apply for financial aid
  • Apply for admission and scholarships
  • Apply for Federal Aid
  • Apply for State Aid
  • Apply for Other Scholarships (Private Scholarships)
  • Determine your bottom line with the Cost of College Calculators
  • Compare Financial Aid Packages
  • Accept your Financial Aid Package

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