First-Year Applicant Timeline

Discover the process of joining the class at NDSU

Which university you choose is one of the most important choices you'll make, so you need to do some planning and preparation. But where do you start? Follow these steps to ensure you get started on the right path.

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
  • Review your courses for this year – be sure to take courses required for admission or preparation into your field of study.
  • Consider the availability of dual credit, early entry or advanced placement courses. If your high school does not offer any, check with your local college to see if you can take coursework for credit there.
  • Meet with your high school counselor to review career options and college majors.
  • Attend a college fair and collect information on a variety of schools.
  • Visit with college representatives who come to your high school.
  • Start a filing system for mailings and emails to organize information from schools. Begin with a list of schools you find interesting and list reasons why.
NDSU reminders


Steps to take
  • As you select courses for your senior year, take into consideration admission guidelines. Be sure to take classes suggested for your field of study. 
  • Identify your academic strengths and weaknesses, and areas of study you may want to continue at the college level. Ask your high school counselor for assistance.
  • Job shadow or interview professionals to learn more about careers that interest you. 
  • Develop a plan for college. Check out financial aid information at and review scholarship information from the schools you're interested in. Both offer great options to help you and your family establish a plan for how you'll pay for college. 


Steps to take
  • Research colleges offering majors that interest you. Ask your high school counselor for assistance, attend college fairs, look at college websites and contact those schools for more information.
  • Explore majors and careers using Focus 2 Apply. Focus 2 Apply is an interactive assessment that suggests potential majors and career options based on your interests, strengths and personality. 
  • Keep studying and seek help in subjects that challenge you.
  • Consider taking the PSAT, SAT or ACT.
  • Get involved by taking part in extracurriculars.
  • Utilize college exploration and comparison tools like Niche.
  • Attend Junior Day at NDSU. 
NDSU reminders
  • Make a personal visit to NDSU. Daily visits may include a meeting with an admission counselor, a campus tour with a current student and, when possible, a meeting with a faculty member in your area(s) of academic interest. 
  • Explore NDSU's academic programs


Steps to take
  • Continue to evaluate the colleges on your list. Visit their websites to find out what is happening on campus. 
  • Save money from your summer job for college expenses. 
  • Prepare a list of questions for your campus visits to make the most of the experience.
  • Visit colleges to help you narrow your list. Plan to tour the campus and meet with an admission counselor and faculty member in your interest area. Students may be on summer break, but you can get a feel for the campus layout.
  • Reach out to your admission counselor to talk more about your interests and make sure you're on the right track. 
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. 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. Schedule a second campus visit to your top choices. See what campuses are like when classes are in session.
  2. 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. 
  3. With the help of your English teacher, get started on your application essays if one is required. 
  4. Complete and submit college applications, especially if you are applying for Early Decision.
NDSU-specific steps

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 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 application 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 school 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. If you have received an NDSU scholarship, be sure to reply and accept your award by May 1.
  3. Make your commitment to attend NDSU by May 1.
  4. Register for Summer Orientation. Dates and times are mailed to all admitted students in April. 
  5. Have your high school send your official transcripts to NDSU. Your transcript must have a graduation date and final grade point average. 
  6. If you took college coursework while in high school, have your official transcript sent to NDSU.