How to get ready to apply to universities

Applying to a university can be challenging but don’t let the process overwhelm you.


Susan Penwell

Contributing writer

Applying to a university can be challenging but don’t let the process overwhelm you.

Think ahead and apply one to three quarters prior to getting your associates degree. Set your mind at ease and take your time by gathering everything you need to apply early to the university of your choice. This will ensure a smooth transition from Pierce to a university.

Heather Phillips, a freshman at Pierce pursing her degree in business, marketing and management, plans to apply to multiple universities next year including Pacific Lutheran University, University of Washington Tacoma and Seattle Pacific University.

Phillips says that the deciding factors for choosing her university are that they offer her major, have a good campus location and offer online and night classes.

Phillips’ advice to transfer students is to “start planning early, do and confirm research, and find a mentor who’s been through it to help with the unexpected.”

Christa Trudeau is taking pre-requisites for a nursing program and received her transfer information straight from the nursing director.

“Talk to the main person that deals with your area of study so you know for sure what you need,” Trudeau said.

Here is a list of helpful tips to get students going on their transferring:


-To begin, use your major to help guide you when choosing a university. This will eliminate several schools. The school’s reputation is important to brief yourself on. The amount of money you will spend to get your degree deserves a reputation that you are happy with.


-Check the university’s employment rate after graduation on their website. The school should offer assistance in finding you a job as well. Generally, universities require a minimum GPA of 2.5 for admittance but it can also depend on the program you are applying to. Be aware that the minimum GPA may not get you in.


-You may need to apply more than once to the same school for general admission and for your major, especially if your major is competitive. The school may require students to do special testing. You can find the other requirements and information by going to the university’s website and Pierce’s website and go to the university transfer page.

Attend the transfer fair at Pierce College Puyallup on April 17 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the College Center. Many colleges will be on campus and you can ask the representatives questions.


-After you choose your schools make an appointment for a tour to see the campus and get a feel for the school to help you decide if you like the school.


-After you’ve decided what university fits you best, its time to apply. Apply to at least two colleges. You’ll do this online on the university’s website and there will more than likely be an application fee. Start the process at least a quarter prior to graduating from Pierce if the college of your choice goes by quarters. If the college runs on a semester schedule it is smart to apply two to three quarters in advance. This will ensure that there won’t be a time lapse between getting your associates degree and transferring.


-Most universities require a personal essay. Don’t worry, you can get help writing it. Pierce offers several helpful workshops, including “Writing Effective Essay Exams.” Some colleges will allow you to use an essay that you’ve already written and received a good grade on.


-You’ll need references too. The best people for this are instructors who have first hand knowledge of your talents and good grades.


-Add your prospective universities to FAFSA and know that the financial aid reward you receive won’t be the same everywhere. You may not get the same amount of grant money either but there are a lot of scholarships to be given.


-Don’t worry about the application process to a university. Faculty counselor and advisor Vicki Howell-Williams, who organizes the transfer fairs at Pierce, can answer questions about college transfer uncertainties.

Howell-Williams encourages students to “work backwards and know where you want to go to develop a plan.”

It’s important to make sure that you are taking the proper credits that fulfill the university’s program requirements.

Howell-Williams knows getting a degree is one of the most important gifts you can give yourself.

“It’s not just about an occupation,” Howell-Williams said. “A degree will help you be a critical thinker and synthesize information. Adopting an attitude of lifelong learning will keep you personally and mentally agile.”


The Puyallup Post is the award-winning news media of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2018. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube @thepuyalluppost

How to get ready to apply to universities

by Contributing Writer time to read: 3 min