In days gone by the requirement of taking a test or entrance exam to enter a university was much more stringent than it is now, but some schools still require it. Before entering many business grad schools for example you are required to take the GRE or Graduate Record exam. Before entering medical school you are asked for your scores on your MCAT or Medical College Admission Test. While these tests share with the university that you plan on attending just how up to speed you are, they don’t do as well to show how successful you will be in their programs. For those indicators a university looks at your GPA and transferring credit hours.

However, if you are planning on attending a school that requires you take one of these entrance exams (which may also include the ACT or SAT) you will want to make sure that you do it with plenty of time for them to score the test and send the results to your school or schools of choice. It can take up to two months for the scores to arrive at your online university. This is why it is suggested that Juniors in high school begin to examine their college options. They are still far away, but there are some things that you can’t plan for the last minute. Take this to heart and look as soon as you can at the entrance requirements for the university you plan on attending.

Another matter you should consider is when the admission dates and deadlines are. Traditionally schools have only a handful a year, but online you may find a very different story. Because part of the online experience is to provide flexibility for students with very divergent schedules you are likely to come across programs that offer start dates as soon as you enroll and meet any registration requirements. While this is a plus, you are still going to have to wait on any transcripts, test scores or financial aid paperwork to be completed.

So, in summary, you want to make sure that you are looking at schools well in advance, probably at least 6 months before you plan on attending, ideally a year. His gives you time to review requirements, take tests, put together documents for financial aid or save up with a job and all in all put your ducks in a row so that you aren’t left standing there on start date scratching your head and saying, “I wish I would have done this or that sooner.”

You are more likely to get into an online university program if you take the time to do everything correctly. Since you are going to spend a lot of time on the paperwork for admission, don’t rush it. Plan it out and give some attention and care to it. You’ll be surprised (especially if you’re like me and typically wait until the last minute) at the increased quality of work that you can do when you don’t rush things. Good luck!

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