Getting into College

Figure out the best fit for your goals & interests

A group of college students studying in the library with their laptops

The college landscape is vast, but a little research can help you put together your initial list. Think about your career goals, your skills, and what works best for you—big or small campus? Close to home or far away? Contact admissions offices and visit colleges when possible.

Need help? Connect to a school counselor or visit the College Board’s Big Future website, which has information about colleges, financial aid, and how to plan for your future.

College Prep Programs

College prep programs can help give you the tools you need to graduate high school, apply to college, and succeed once you’re there. Check out some of the college prep programs available around NYC.

Learn about college prep

College Now gives you a jump-start on college classes. As a high school student you can take classes on CUNY campuses to learn about the college process—and even start earning college credits.

Learn more about College Now

College Applications

Each college has its own application process, and it’s important to pay attention to the details. Some schools accept the Common Application, which can save you time, but others do not. CUNY and SUNY have their own separate application processes, too. The process can be confusing, so don’t hesitate to ask for help. And remember, the deadlines are real.

A few useful resources to start with:

Get your application together

There’s more to applying to college than just completing your application. Most selective colleges will also ask you to submit:

  • at least two letters of recommendation
  • one or more personal statements and/or essays
  • your high school transcripts
  • your SAT or ACT scores
Use a checklist to help you keep track of all application requirements


Not all schools require your SAT or ACT scores, but most four-year colleges do. If you decide to take either standardized test, there are many free resources available to help you prepare for and pay for them.

The NYC Department of Education (DOE) pays for all high school juniors to take the SAT for free during the school day.

If you attend an NYC public school, you can study for the SAT using Khan Academy, which links to your PSAT scores and provides personalized study guides.

Get ready for the SAT & ACT

Register for the SAT

Tuition-Free Scholarship at CUNY and SUNY

The Excelsior Scholarship allows you to attend a SUNY or CUNY college tuition-free. To be eligible:

  • you must be a resident of New York State
  • you must have lived in the state for 12 continuous months prior to the start of school
  • your family must make under $100,000 per year

Learn more about the Excelsior Scholarship

Get help earning a CUNY degree

CUNY ASAP helps students earn an associate’s degree within three years by providing financial, academic, and personal support. As a student, you can benefit from:

  • a free unlimited MetroCard
  • textbook vouchers to reduce (or eliminate) the cost of textbooks
  • full tuition assistance (for students on financial aid)
  • a dedicated ASAP advisor
  • special registration options and consolidated schedules
  • career development and academic support
Learn more about the CUNY ASAP program