Domestic Student FAQs

Preparing for the Application

Which application should I use?

Freshman applicants: Apply using the Common Application.

Transfer applicants: Apply using the CU Boulder Transfer Application. This application can be accessed through your MyCUBoulder account.

What do I need to fill out my application?

Domestic

To complete your application you will need:

  • Permanent and mailing addresses for yourself and your parents or guardians
  • Your social security number
  • College or school and major for which you will be applying
  • The names, cities and attendance dates of any high schools and collegiate institutions you have attended or are currently attending
  • Dates you have taken or plan to take the ACT and/or SAT
  • All courses not currently posted on your high school or collegiate transcripts that will be completed before the term for which you are applying, including term/year, course title and department (also course number and credit hours for collegiate course work, if applicable)
  • Activities, positions of leadership and academic honors received in high school or college
  • Most recent employers, hours worked per week and dates of employment
  • Parents’ occupation, place of employment and level of education
  • Names of family members (siblings, parents and grandparents) who have attended CU and dates of attendance

International

To complete your application you will need:

  • Permanent and mailing addresses for yourself and your parents or guardians
  • College or school and major for which you will be applying
  • The names, cities and attendance dates of any secondary schools and tertiary institutions you have attended or are currently attending
  • All courses not currently posted on your high school or collegiate transcripts that will be completed before the term for which you are applying, including term/year, course title and department (also course number and credit hours for collegiate coursework, if applicable)
  • Activities, positions of leadership and academic honors received in high school or college
  • Most recent employers, hours worked per week and dates of employment
  • Parents’ occupation, place of employment and level of education
  • Names of family members (siblings, parents and grandparents) who have attended CU and dates of attendance
What info do I need to apply for in-state tuition?
  • Dates (mo./day/yr.) of continuous physical residence in Colorado
  • Dates (mo./day/yr.) of absences from Colorado of more than two months in duration within the past two years
  • Dates (mo./day/yr.) of employment in Colorado
  • Exact years for which personal resident Colorado income tax returns were filed
  • Dates (mo./day/yr.) of active duty military service
  • Dates (mo./day/yr.) stationed in Colorado
  • Dates you/your family member have had a Colorado driver’s license or ID card (mo./day/yr.)
  • Current Colorado driver’s license or ID card number
  • Exact years of Colorado motor vehicle registration
  • Current Colorado license plate number
  • State in which currently registered to vote
  • Dates (mo./day/yr.) of Colorado voter registration
  • Dates (mo./day/yr.) of ownership of a home in Colorado that is your/your family member's primary residence.

Go to the Office of the Registrar website, www.colorado.edu/registrar, for regulations on tuition classification.

How do I access the application?

You can access the online application for any open term through your MyCUBoulder account. Log in and navigate to the 'Apply' tab to start your application today. The application for future terms becomes available each August.

Should I apply by the early action deadline?

Early action is for freshman applicants only. The benefit of applying by the non-binding early action deadline is to give freshman applicants a guaranteed decision date. If you have chosen CU Boulder as one of your top schools and apply by the early action deadline, you will receive a decision of admission, postponement or denial by February 1. Students may also receive a notification that we need additional information (first semester grades, new test scores, etc.) by February 1 before making a final admission decision.

Can I apply to other early action/early decision/early response schools along with CU Boulder?

Yes. Because our decision is non-binding, you are still permitted to apply to other schools that use an early admissions program such as early action or early decision. Early action is for freshman applicants only.

If I apply by the early action deadline am I required to attend CU Boulder?

No. The non-binding early action decision allows you to apply to and enroll at another school if you so choose. Early action is for freshman applicants only.

What are the essay questions?

Freshman applicants: Complete personal essay and writing supplement listed below.

Personal Essay (required, 250–650 words): Choose one of the five essays from the Common Application.

  1. Some students have a background, identity, interest or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma—anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
  5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community or family.

Writing Supplement (required, 250–650 words): In addition to the Common Application essay, you are required to submit a CU Boulder writing supplement.

As a vibrant community of learners dedicated to inclusive excellence, the students, faculty and staff at the University of Colorado Boulder seek to be open and respectful of contrasting beliefs and opinions. Every student has a unique life experience and a set of circumstances by which they are shaped and influenced. Your background may have been shaped by family history, cultural traditions, race, ethnicity, religion, politics, income, ideology, gender identity or sexual orientation.

Reflect on your unique background and tell us about a time when you had to relate to someone whose life experience was very different from your own. How did you approach the difference? If put in a similar situation again today, would you respond differently? If so, how?

Transfer applicants: Complete personal statement listed below.

Transfer Personal Statement (required, 250–650 words): Inclusive excellence and diversity play a central role at the University of Colorado Boulder and within our learning environments. Please describe why diverse and inclusive learning environments are important and how CU Boulder fits with your academic and professional goals.

Do you require transcripts for college work completed while I was in high school?

If you apply with the intention of attending CU Boulder directly after you graduate high school, we do not require transcripts for any college work completed while you were in high school in order to review your application for an admission decision. However, if you are admitted, you will be required to submit official transcripts for all college work completed while in high school so we may review the work and, if applicable, award you credit.

If you are applying as a transfer student, you will need to submit official transcripts for all completed college work, including college work completed during high school, in order to complete your application for an admission decision.

I am applying as a transfer student. Do I need to submit my high school transcript?

Yes. If you graduated high school after 1988, the Office of Admissions needs your final, official transcript including your graduation date in order to complete your file and give you an admission decision. Transcripts should be sent by mail or electronically to transcripts@colorado.edu by the issuing school.

Does the Office of Admissions conduct interviews?

The Office of Admissions does not host interviews, but we would love to connect with you by phone, email or during a visit program. If there is something that you would like to explain in your application, we encourage you to use the essays to articulate that. Contact the Office of Admissions call center at 303-492-6301 to speak with one of our current students, contact your admission counselor or come see us at one of our campus visit programs.

Should I take the ACT or SAT more than once?

It is really in your best interest to take the test a few times. We have found that students who take the test a second time are more familiar with what to expect and have a better opportunity to increase their score. If you do take the same test more than once, please make sure to send all of your scores to us. We will take your highest score from each section and combine them to give you a 'super' score. We will use that super score in our admission decision. Test scores are also used in the scholarship process and when considering you for the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program. The ACT and/or SAT are required for all domestic freshmen, international freshmen who wish to be considered for merit scholarships and for transfer students who have completed fewer than 24 semester credit hours at the time of application.

If I am taking an ACT or SAT exam in October, am I still eligible for the freshman early action deadline?

If you have taken the ACT or SAT previously and are taking the test again in October, you must send in your previous scores to complete your application. Once your new test scores from the October exam are received, we will add that information to your application and consider it in the review process. When registering for the test, you must indicate that you want your scores sent to the University of Colorado Boulder so that we receive them as soon as the scores are available. 

CU Boulder's SAT code is 4841 and the ACT code is 0532. Learn about the 2016 SAT redesign.

Completing the Application

I have questions about filling out the application. What should I do?

If you have questions about how to complete CU Boulder’s application, please refer to our Application FAQ page. If you still have questions, please contact our office at 303-492-6301.

If you have questions about the Common Application, please follow the instructions on their website regarding how to receive support.

Are admissions deadlines 'postmarked' or 'received by' dates?

Application deadlines are postmarked and/or electronic submission deadlines.

What is considered a complete application?

A completed application consists of:

  • Online application
  • $50 application fee, $70 for international students
  • Official high school transcripts*
  • Official college transcripts from each institution attended (if you have taken college course work)*
  • ACT or SAT I scores**
  • Two personal essays for freshmen, one personal statement for transfers
  • One letter of recommendation for freshmen only

*Official transcripts can be sent electronically by the issuing institution to transcripts@colorado.edu. Transcripts written in a language other than English must be accompanied by a literal certified English translation.

** Required for all domestic freshmen, all international freshmen who are graduating from a U.S. high school or who wish to be considered for merit-based scholarships and all transfer students who have completed fewer than 24 semester credit hours at the time of application.

How do I submit my ACT or SAT scores?

The easiest and fastest way for your ACT and/or SAT scores to be received by CU Boulder is to indicate that you want your scores sent to CU Boulder on the day of the test. If you did not request your scores to be sent to CU Boulder when you registered for the exam, you will need to request an additional score report from either ACT or SAT. Scores are also considered official if they are included on your high school transcript.

CU Boulder's SAT code is 4841 and the ACT code is 0532. Learn about the 2016 SAT redesign.

How many letters of recommendation should I send?

For freshman applicants: One letter of recommendation is required to complete your application. Make sure you choose someone who can provide good insight into your character and your abilities as a student. If you choose to submit additional letters of recommendation, we suggest sending no more than two. Make sure you choose people who know you well and can talk about your strengths and how you will contribute to the CU Boulder community.

What is considered an official transcript?

Official transcripts are mailed or sent electronically directly to us by the issuing institution or by the student if the transcript is still in its original sealed envelope. Unofficial transcripts cannot be used to complete your file. All credentials written in languages other than English must be accompanied by a literal certified English translation.

How do I submit my transcripts?

Official transcripts can be sent to CU Boulder from your school by mail or electronically to transcripts@colorado.edu. Mailed transcripts postmarked by October 1 will meet the spring application deadline; postmarked by November 15 will meet the freshman, non-binding, early action fall and summer deadline; postmarked by January 15 will meet the freshman fall and summer application deadline; postmarked by March 1 will meet the transfer fall early notification deadline and transfer summer application deadline; postmarked by June 15 will meet the transfer fall regular decision application deadline.

How can I pay the application fee?

Freshman applicants: Payable online at the time you submit your Common Application. We recognize that some students may be faced with financial constraints in paying the application fee. Waivers can be granted for documented hardships if you submit an application fee waiver form.

Transfer applicants: Payable online at the time you submit your application or by check or money order (made payable to the University of Colorado) after you submit your application. If submitting a check or money order, include your full legal name and birth date. We recognize that some students may be faced with financial constraints in paying the application fee. Waivers can be granted for documented hardships if you submit an application fee waiver form.

After Submitting the Application

How will I know when my application is complete?

You can check your application status through the 'Apply' tab in your MyCUBoulder account.

I submitted my application but my portal does not recognize that I am now an applicant.

Please give us at least three to four business days to update your portal so that it reflects your application.

I submitted my application but I have to make a change.

If you need to change your major or term, DO NOT submit a new application. For these, and other changes, contact the Office of Admissions at apply@colorado.edu.

I sent in my required documents, how do I know if you’ve received them?

Freshman applicants: You can check your application status as well as what we have and have not received, through the 'Apply' tab in your MyCUBoulder account. If you submit a required credential electronically, please give us at least two weeks to receive, process and update your checklist. If you submit a required credential by mail, please give us at least four weeks to receive, process and update your checklist.

Transfer applicants: We begin processing transfer applications for the spring term on October 1 and for summer and fall terms on March 1. After these dates, please give us six to eight weeks to receive, process and begin to evaluate your application and required credentials. If you have questions about what we have and have not received after this amount of time has passed, please contact our office at 303-492-6301 or at apply@colorado.edu.

I just applied but all my required credentials on my checklist are showing as missing, even though I have submitted some or all of them.

In order for us to populate your checklist, we need at least four business days after you submit your application to review our systems and properly connect your documents with your application. If it has been more than four business days since you have applied, more than two weeks since you submitted a required credential electronically or more than four weeks since you submitted a required credential by mail, please contact our office at 303-492-6301 or at apply@colorado.edu.

When I check my status, I have more than one checklist.

If you submitted more than one application, you will see one checklist for each application. However, you can only have one application on our system per term. We will delete your most recently submitted application within a week of the submission date. While there are two applications in our system, one or more of your checklists may not be accurate. Once you have only one application in our system, you will only see one checklist. If you need to change your major, or have questions, please contact the Office of Admissions at 303-492-6301 or at apply@colorado.edu.

I have recently submitted an item that is missing on my checklist. When will my checklist be updated?

If you submit a required credential electronically, please give us at least two weeks to receive, process and update your checklist. If you submit a required credential by mail, please give us at least four weeks to receive, process and update your checklist.

My test scores are not showing as complete.

We accept official test scores through the testing agency or we can receive them from the official high school transcript. If your test scores are received as part of the high school transcript, they will not be reflected on your checklist until your application is processed internally. Please allow at least six weeks for this internal process to be completed.

The University of Colorado Boulder requires at least one ACT or SAT to complete a freshman application and for transfer applicants with fewer than 24 credit hours. We do not prefer one test over the other. If you have submitted either the ACT or SAT, your status will be updated.

I sent in my résumé and multiple letters of recommendation and they are not on my checklist.

The checklist only displays the credentials required to complete your application so only one of your letters of recommendation will show completed. Supplemental information such as résumés and additional letters of recommendation are packaged in your file once all other required documents are received. This complete package is what the Admissions committee receives to review and make an admission decision.

Why do I not see my high school transcript(s) listed on my checklist?

If you did not list a high school on your application you will not see a high school on your checklist. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have requested that your transcript be sent to us, please give us four to six weeks to process and begin to evaluate your application and required credentials. If you have questions about what has been received after that amount of time has passed, please contact our office at 303-492-6301 or apply@colorado.edu.

If you attended a high school in another country, we are currently unable to show the high school transcript for internationally located high schools in your checklist. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you have requested that your transcript be sent to us, please give us four to six weeks to process and begin to evaluate your application and required credentials. If you have questions about what has been received after that amount of time has passed, please contact our office at 303-492-6301 or at apply@colorado.edu

I completed college work while in high school. Will I need to submit a transcript? When will I know what credits transfer?

We do not require first-time freshmen to submit a college transcript in order for us to make an admission decision. If you are admitted and confirm your intent to enroll, you must submit your official, final college transcript by July 1. Once you are admitted and confirm your intent to enroll, your transcript will be evaluated for transfer credit within four weeks of your transcript being received.

My transcript was complete and now it isn’t.

Once we process your required credentials, it may be determined that your transcript is either incomplete (not all grade levels are on the transcript) or it is not official. Please request that an official transcript be sent from your school. We can only accept transcripts as official if they are received directly from your school or issuing institution. If you submit a required credential electronically, please give us at least two weeks to receive, process and update your checklist. If you submit a required credential by mail, please give us at least four weeks to receive, process and update your checklist.

My checklist is complete. How soon will I have my decision?

Freshman applicants:

  • Fall and Summer: If you applied and all of your required materials were received in our office by November 15, you will receive notification by February 1. If you applied and all of your required materials were received in our office after November 15, you will receive notification by April 1.
  • Spring: We begin processing applications for the spring term on October 1. After this date, please give us six to eight weeks to receive, process and begin to evaluate your application and required credentials.

Transfer applicants: We begin processing applications for the spring term on October 1 and for summer and fall terms on March 1. After these dates, please give us six to eight weeks to receive, process and begin to evaluate your application and required credentials.

Please note: we process applications in the order in which they are completed and received by our office. They are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. We release decisions daily and encourage you to check your MyCUBoulder account.

My checklist was complete but now I have new items on my checklist that are incomplete.

Once we process your application and required credentials, we may find that additional credentials are needed in order to consider you for admission. Please submit these credentials as soon as possible so we may review your application and provide you with an admission decision. If you submit a required credential electronically, please give us at least two weeks to receive, process and update your checklist. If you submit a required credential by mail, please give us at least four weeks to receive, process and update your checklist.

CU Boulder requested that I send my first semester senior year grades, how do I know if you have received them? And, when will I receive my admission decision?

You will see the first semester senior year grades item completed on your checklist once we have received and processed your first semester senior year grades. We can only accept transcripts as official if they are received directly from your high school or issuing institution. If you submit a required credential electronically, please give us at least two weeks to receive, process and update your checklist. If you submit a required credential by mail, please give us at least four weeks to receive, process and update your checklist. You will receive your admission decision no later than April 1.

I am applying as a transfer student and CU Boulder requested that I send my midterm grades, how do I know if you have received them? And, when will I receive my admission decision?

You will see the midterm grades item completed on your checklist once we have received and processed your midterm grades. If you submit a required credential electronically, please give us at least two weeks to receive, process and update your checklist. If you submit a required credential by mail, please give us at least four weeks to receive, process and update your checklist. You will receive your admission decision two to four weeks after this item completes on your checklist.

I am applying as a freshman, if I did not get a decision by February 1, what does that mean?

It means that your decision letter is still in the mail or that your application was not completed by November 15. We mail official decisions via the U.S. Postal Service under a first-class rate and delivery time varies. Your admission decision is also posted online. Applicants can check their status in their MyCUBoulder account.

I am applying as a freshman. If I did not get a decision by April 1, what does that mean?

It means that your decision letter is still in the mail or that your application was not completed by January 15. We mail official decisions via the U.S. Postal Service under a first-class rate and delivery time varies. Your admission decision is also posted online. Applicants can check their status in their MyCUBoulder account.

When will I get a decision if I did not apply by the freshman early action deadline?

While we encourage students to apply early, if you are unable to complete your application by the non-binding, early action deadline of November 15, you should apply by the January 15 freshman application deadline. All students who complete their application by the January 15 freshman application deadline will receive an admission decision on or before April 1.

When will freshman early action decisions be released?

We will begin releasing admission decisions for students who meet the freshman, non-binding, early action deadline beginning November 15. All students who complete their admission file by November 15 will receive a decision by February 1. Please note that we process applications in the order in which they are completed and received by our office. They are processed on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is an application reviewed differently if it was received as part of early action?

No. All applications are reviewed using the same admission criteria. Applicants who apply by the November 15 non-binding, early action deadline are not only guaranteed an early decision, but are also given the opportunity to strengthen their application if the Office of Admissions requests additional information. Visit our admissions criteria page for more information regarding how applications are reviewed.

When is the earliest that I can be admitted to CU Boulder?

Freshman applicants:

  • Fall and Summer: CU Boulder will begin releasing admission decisions to freshman applicants who met the non-binding, early action deadline on November 15. All students who complete their admission file by November 15 will receive a decision by February 1. Please note that we process applications in the order in which they are completed and received by our office. They are processed first-come first-served. The earlier you apply and complete your application, the more likely you are to receive a decision around November 15. Students who apply by the January 15 freshman application deadline will receive an admission decision on or before April 1.
  • Spring: Decisions for spring term will be released on a rolling basis beginning in October.

Transfer applicants: Decisions for spring term will be released on a rolling basis beginning in October and decisions for fall and summer will be released on a rolling basis beginning in March.

How do I contact Disability Services?

If you are student with a disability and would like to request services from Disability Services, submit documentation of your disability and request an intake and a Disability Specialist. Disability Services is located in the Center for Community, Suite 200, or by calling 303-492-8671. For more information, visit disabilityservices.colorado.edu.

How do I apply for scholarships and financial aid?

The CU Boulder Scholarship Application becomes available on October 1. Once you have submitted your admission application you are eligible to apply for CU Boulder scholarships. You do not have be admitted to begin your scholarship application.  

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (including school code 001370) will be available for submission starting on October 1. We encourage you to submit your FAFSA as soon as possible. You do not need to be admitted to CU Boulder to apply for financial aid.

How do I report my Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) credit?

Official Advancement Placement (AP) scores must be sent to the admissions office directly from the College Board. CU Boulder's CEEB/ETS code is 004841.

International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations, whether leading to a full IB diploma or to an IB certificate, often qualify students for advanced standing at CU Boulder. In general, credit is granted for approved IB examinations at the higher level with a score of four or better. Students admitted to the University of Colorado Boulder, who have graduated from high school having successfully completed an IB Diploma program shall be granted 24 semester hours of college credit. This credit will be considered applicable toward degree requirements ONLY if approved by the college or school. Depending on the student’s degree program, some of the 24 credits may not be applicable towards degree requirements. No CU Boulder tuition will be charged for these credits and the 24 credits will only be granted if the student receives a score of four or better on an examination administered as part of the IB Diploma program. If the student scores less than four on each IB subject test, the credit hours granted shall be reduced accordingly. Official scores must be sent to the admissions office directly from the IB organization.

Please note: Scores should be sent once all tests are completed and scores are reported--usually at the end of the senior year and not in between your junior and senior year.

Visit www.colorado.edu/admissions/selection/credit for more information.

Understanding the Admission Decision

I've been admitted to CU Boulder, how do I confirm my enrollment?

You can confirm your intent to enroll through the 'Confirm' tab in your MyCUBoulder account.

I’ve been admitted but cannot access my checklist to see if you have received my most recent transcript.

Once you have been admitted you will no longer see a checklist in your MyCUBoulder account because you’ve done everything required of you up to this point for admission. Upon confirming your intent to enroll, you will need to submit your official, final high school transcript as well as official transcripts for any college work completed.

When will I know what AP, IB or college course work has been transferred to CU Boulder?

If you are admitted and confirm your intent to enroll, your AP, IB or previous college course work will be evaluated to determine what credits will transfer to CU Boulder and how this will be applied to your degree. This process can take several weeks after you have confirmed your intent to enroll. All students who are awarded transfer credit will receive notification when their transfer credit report is ready to be viewed.

I’ve been postponed, what does this mean?

Students who have had their decision postponed should try to strengthen their academic record with additional test scores and mid-year grades. Students who are postponed will receive a final admission decision by April 1.