First-Year Applicant Timeline

Discover the process of joining the class at NDSU

If you're just starting your college search or in the final phases of making your decision, make sure you know what steps you should be taking to prepare for your first year.

Junior Year

This is when it all begins. Understand the timing and steps you need to take to become an NDSU student.


Steps to take
  1. Meet with your guidance counselor to review the following:
    • Your courses for this year
    • Your plan for your senior year to meet the requirements for admission
    • Career options and college majors 
  2. Gather and organize information about schools that interest you.
  3. Take the standardized PSAT, which prepares you for the SAT. This also gives you the opportunity to enter the National Merit Scholarship programs.
NDSU-specific steps
  1. Review NDSU’s freshman admission requirements and be sure you are taking the required courses.
  2. Compare Advanced Placement courses at your school to the course equivalents at NDSU. Read more about AP equivalents at NDSU


Steps to take
  1. As you select courses for your senior year, consider college admission requirements, as well as what you may be interested in studying. 
  2. Along with your guidance counselor, identify your academic strengths and weaknesses in relation to areas you may want to consider at college.
  3. Do some job shadowing to learn more about careers that interest you. 
  4. Discuss a financial plan with your family. How do you plan to pay for school? Check out financial aid and scholarship information at
  5. Keep studying hard; seek help in subjects that are giving you difficulty.


Steps to take
  1. Prepare for the ACT and SAT by investigating test preparation tools such as classes, online resources, and books. 
  2. Take the ACT or SAT. Many students test more than once. You can retake the test in the summer or fall to improve your score.
  3. Attend college fairs, search college websites, and call schools that have fields of study you are interested in for information.
NDSU-specific steps
  1. When you take the ACT or SAT, list NDSU for receiving your test scores. Our ACT code is 3202 (the ACT writing test is not required at NDSU). Our SAT code is 6474. 
  2. Make a personal visit to NDSU. To schedule a visit, call 800-488-NDSU or 701-231-8643, complete our online request, or e-mail us at It’s best to contact us at least a week in advance. Your visit will include:
    • A meeting with an admission counselor
    • A campus tour with a current student
    • A meeting with a faculty member in your major when possible


Steps to take
  1. Continue to evaluate the colleges on your list. Visit their websites to find out what is happening on campus. 
  2. Save money from your summer job for college expenses. 
  3. Prepare a list of questions for your campus visits to make the most of the experience.
  4. Visit colleges to help you narrow your list. 
    • Schedule a campus tour 
    • Meet with an admission counselor 
    • If available, talk with a faculty member and students in your area of interest. 
Senior Year

Make sure you’re prepared to take the final steps of your college application process.


Steps to take
  1. Narrow your list of college choices. 
  2. Take the ACT or SAT if you haven’t already. 
  3. Research private scholarship sources and contact them for application information. 


Steps to take
  1. Attend college fairs. Visit an NDSU representative. 
  2. Visit college websites and contact schools you’re interested in for information and applications. Be aware of application deadlines and create a timeline or calendar. This should include:
    • Admissions 
    • Housing 
    • Scholarship
    • Financial aid 
  3. Missing a deadline can change everything.
  4. Ask teachers, coaches, counselors and other mentors for letters of recommendation. 
NDSU-specific steps

Begin the NDSU application for admission this month. It’s best to complete your application during fall semester to ensure that information about scholarships, housing, orientation, and registration is received on time. Apply online using the online application


Steps to take
  1. Take the ACT or SAT. Send your scores to the colleges you’re applying to. You may want to retest to improve your score. 
  2. Schedule a second campus visit to your top choices. See what campuses are like when classes are in session.
  3. Begin the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
    • Helpful information and instructions are online at
    • When completing the FAFSA, be sure to list NDSU's code, 002997. 
    • We strongly encourage use of the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to ensure easy transfer of your tax information. 
    • NDSU’s priority deadline to submit the FAFSA is February 1. 
  4. With the help of your English teacher, get started on your application essays if one is required. 
  5. Complete and submit college applications, especially if you are applying for Early Decision.
NDSU-specific steps
  1. When taking the ACT or SAT, list NSDU for receiving your test scores. Our ACT code is 3202 (the ACT writing test is not required at NDSU). Our SAT code is 6474.
  2. If you haven’t been to campus yet, visit during Discover NDSU. Dates and times are available on the Discover NDSU page. 


Steps to take

Gather scholarship applications and check deadlines. 

NDSU-specific steps
  1. Students with outstanding academic records are encouraged to review scholarship information
  2. Schedule a visit to campus if you have not done so. Call the Campus Visit Coordinator at least a week before your visit, at 800-488-NDSU or 701-231-8643. You can also submit your request to


Steps to take
  1. Apply to any colleges remaining on your list, if you haven't already. Keep copies of your applications. Promptly return all forms mailed to you by colleges where you've applied. 
  2. Submit a request for housing, or find out about housing options in the community if arrangements aren’t made for you. 
NDSU-specific steps
  1. The priority deadline for Guaranteed Scholarships (NDSU Presidential, Presidential Honor, and Provost's Scholarships) is February 1. Students who have submitted all required application materials and meet required scholarship criteria as of the February 1 priority deadline are guaranteed an award. Students completing the admission process after February 1 will be considered for scholarships based on the funds available.   
  2. Complete paperwork such as the Housing Contract and New Student Scholarship Application. 


Steps to take
  1. If early financial aid estimates are available at any of the colleges you are considering, check on deadlines for the applications. 
  2. Check on deadlines for required paperwork and forms, such as deposits, housing contracts, and supplemental applications for selective programs.
  3. Attend financial aid information programs at your high school.


Steps to take
  1. Keep your grades up. A drop in grades can affect admission offers.
  2. Check with your guidance counselor and local organizations for more scholarship opportunities.
  3. Continue saving for college expenses.
  4. Watch the mail for information on admission, scholarship opportunities, and housing.
NDSU-specific steps
  1. The deadline to apply for Additional Named Scholarships is February 1. You must be admitted to apply for these scholarships. 
  2. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by NDSU's priority deadline of February 1. 
  3. Schedule a visit to campus if you have not done so. Call the Campus Visit Coordinator at least a week before your visit, at 800-488-NDSU or 701-231-8643. You can also submit your request to


Steps to take
  1. Decide which college you want to attend. Confirm your attendance, if required. Cancel your admission at schools you will not attend. 
  2. Ask questions. This is a new experience for you, and we want you to have the answers. Call schools and ask for help if you need it. 
NDSU-specific steps
  1. Visit campus during Discover NDSU. Dates and times are on the Discover NDSU page.
  2. Register for Summer Orientation. Dates and times are mailed to all admitted students in April. 
  3. Have your high school send your official transcripts to NDSU. Your transcript must have a graduation date and final grade point average. 
  4. If you took college coursework while in high school, have your official transcript sent to NDSU.
  5. If you have received an NDSU scholarship, be sure to reply and accept your award by June 1.
  6. Make your commitment to attend NDSU by June 1.