If you are considering deferring to a different entry term, please read through our Things to Know About Deferring webpage.

Preparing for the Application

Which application should I use?

First-Year applicants: Apply using the Common Application.

You are a first-year applicant if you are currently in high school, or you have graduated from high school but have not attempted any college courses since after graduating from high school or earning a GED.

Transfer applicants: Apply using the CU Boulder Transfer Application and see the Transfer Application FAQs.

You are a transfer student if you have graduated from high school (or completed a GED) and earned a grade or W in at least one college course from a recognized institution since earning your high school diploma or equivalent.

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
  • 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
  • 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 
  • Most recent employers, hours worked per week and dates of employment (first-year applicants only)
  • Parents’ occupation, place of employment and level of education

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
  • Most recent employers, hours worked per week and dates of employment (first-year applicants only)
  • Parents’ occupation, place of employment and level of education
Should I apply by the early action deadline?

The benefit of applying by the non-binding early action deadline is to give first-year applicants a guaranteed notification date. If you have chosen CU Boulder as one of your top schools and apply by the early action deadline, you will receive a notification of admission, postponement or denial by February 1. A completed application includes the Common App, high school transcripts, essays and letter of recommendation. Early action only pertains to summer and fall applicants, spring applicants have one deadline - October 1.

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 first-year 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 only pertains to summer and fall applicants, spring applicants have one deadline - October 1.

What are the essay questions?

First-Year applicants: Complete personal essay and writing supplement listed below.

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

  • 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.
  • The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
  • Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  • Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
  • Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more?
  • Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design.

Short Answer Questions: (These short answers must be different written responses than what you provided for the Common Application essay)

  • Required question #1 (250 word limit) - At the University of Colorado Boulder, no two Buffs are alike. We value difference and support equity and inclusion of all students and their many intersecting identities. Pick one of your unique identities and describe its significance.
  • Required question #2 (250 word limit) – Please share a bit more about your academic interests. What do you hope to study at CU Boulder? What has inspired your interests in this area? Or if you are undecided, what area(s) of study are you considering? Think about your prior/current coursework, extracurricular activities, work/volunteer experiences, future goals, or anything else that has shaped your interests.

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.
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 or unofficial 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 or uploaded to your application or status page. Transfer students should refer to the Transfer FAQ page.

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 or unofficial 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.

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 to talk with you about CU Boulder or answer any questions. 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 Service 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.

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 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?

All materials must be received by our office by the deadline in order to be considered for that deadline.

What is considered a complete application?

A completed application consists of:

  • Common Application
  • $50 application fee, $70 for international students or approved fee waiver
  • Official or unofficial high school transcripts*
  • Common Application essay and two short answer responses. 
  • One letter of recommendation

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

Am I required to submit ACT or SAT scores?

No, you are not required to submit test scores. If you would like to have them considered, you should indicate this on your Common Application. To submit scores, you can self-report in the application, upload an unofficial score report to your application status page, or submit an official score report to CU Boulder.

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.

CU Boulder's SAT code is 4841 and the ACT code is 0532.

 

How many letters of recommendation should I send?

For first-year 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 can 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 - we also accept unofficial transcripts uploaded to your status page or emailed to transcripts@colorado.edu. Mailed transcripts received by October 1 will meet the spring application deadline; received by November 15 will meet the first-year, non-binding, early action fall and summer deadline; received by January 15 will meet the first-year fall and summer application deadline. 

How can I pay the application fee?

First-year 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. Request an applicaton fee waiver at the time of submitting your Common Application.

I have been affected by a significant natural disaster or other extenuating circumstance, and will not be able to meet the Early Action Deadline. Can I have an exception granted?

We extend our support to any student who may have been affected by significant natural disasters or other disruptions. We understand that such disruptions may make it challenging to submit applications, transcripts, and letters of recommendation in time for CU Boulder’s application deadlines. Please contact your admissions counselor explaining your situation, and they will work with you to find a solution.

After Submitting the Application

How will I know when my application is complete?

Upon submitting your application you will receive an email with instructions on how to access your application status page. Your application status page will provide important information regarding the status of your application, such as if we are missing anything or if a decision has been made. If you applied through the Common Application, please allow 1-2 business days for your application to get into our system and to receive your application status page activation email.

Can I change my major after I submit my application?

No. Once you submit your Common Application, you will not be able to request a major change until after your application is complete and a decision is released. Note that your selected academic program has no impact on your admission to the University. We will consider you for admission to CU Boulder regardless of the major you apply to, or whether you decide to change it later on.

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

You may be able to make some updates to your application in your status page. If you are unable to or have more specific questions, please reach out to your admission counselor admissions@colorado.edu.

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

First-year applicants: You can check your application status as well as what we have and have not received, through your application status page. 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.

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 admissions@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 document through the document upload feature on your application status page, please allow 15-20 minutes for your checklist to update. 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 if you have chosen to submit test scores but they still show as missing, you can upload an unofficial score report in your status page.

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

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 admissions@colorado.edu

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.
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 first-year students 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 two weeks of your transcript being received.

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

First-year 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, but by January 15, you will receive notification by April 1.
  • Spring: We begin processing applications for the spring term on a rolling basis after the October 1 deadline. After this date, please give us six to eight weeks to receive, process and begin to evaluate your application and required credentials.

 

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.

I am applying as a first-year student, if I did not get a decision by February 1, what does that mean?

It may mean that your application was not complete by November 15, or that we are still missing required material(s) from you before we can process your decision. Please check your application status page and contact the admissions office at admissions@colorado.edu if you have additional questions.

Your admission decision is also posted online. Applicants can check their status on their application status page.

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

It may mean that your application was not complete by November 15, or that we are still missing required material(s) from you before we can process your decision. Please check your application status page and contact the admissions office at admissions@colorado.edu if you have additional questions.

Your admission decision is also posted online. Applicants can check their status on their application status page.

When will first-year early action decisions be released?

Early action applicants will learn of their decision no later than February 1.

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 selection process page for more information regarding how applications are reviewed.

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 or emailing dsinfo@colorado.edu. For more information, visit disabilityservices.colorado.edu.

How do I apply for scholarships and financial aid?

The CU Boulder Scholarship Application becomes available on November 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?

Congratulations on your admission to CU Boulder! Please log in to your application status page to confirm your intent to enroll. The confirmation deadline for the fall term is May 1. Students admitted to the summer term should confirm their intent to enroll  as soon as they are ready as summer registration for incoming students often opens in April.

Why was I admitted to Exploratory Studies when that wasn't what I applied to?

Students in Exploratory Studies have demonstrated significant academic achievement and potential. While not directly admissible to the competitive degree program of application, students possess the skills necessary to succeed at CU. Exploratory Studies recognizes there are several pathways to disciplines such as business, engineering or design. Our advisors help students identify the pathway that best matches their goals whether that be their original program of application or the discovery of a different option.

If I am admitted to the Program in Exploratory Studies, would my degree be in Exploratory Studies?

Students in Exploratory Studies will graduate from one of the seven colleges, schools or programs on the Boulder campus. University Exploration & Advising Center (UEAC) advisors work with first year Exploratory Studies students to develop academic pathways for more than 70 majors and to discover complementary co-curricular experiences that align with their interests.

When would I transition out of the Program in Exploratory Studies?

Many students transfer to one of the degree-granting academic colleges and schools on campus after their first year or opt to continue with Exploratory Studies through their third semester.

What is the criteria to be considered for an automatically awarded scholarship?

All applicants who have a 3.85 weighted high school GPA or better and have completed their admissions application by January 15 are considered for a scholarship. Not all students who were eligible for scholarship consideration will receive one.

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.