First-Year Application Checklist
Required Materials for a Complete Application
Start your application
The application fee is:
- $65 for domestic applicants
- $70 for international 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 date of birth. We recognize that some students may be faced with financial constraints in paying the application fee. Waivers may be granted for documented hardships if you submit an application fee waiver form.
If you are eligible for an application fee waiver you will have the opportunity to complete a request for an application fee waiver on the Common Application.
Complete the personal essay and two short answer questions 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.
One academic letter of recommendation is required. Letters of recommendation must be sent by the recommender. There is an option to add a recommender to the CommonApp, which will send a request for them to submit their letter, or you can ask your recommender to email your letter to email@example.com. Your full legal name and date of birth should be included at the top of all recommendation letters.
Transcripts can be official or unofficial and submitted directly to CU Boulder from the issuing institution for admission review. Transcripts can be uploaded to your status page in the "upload materials" section, mailed or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. Official documents will be needed upon enrollment to verify credentials.
Review International Transcript Requirements
Please note: if you have not graduated and do not plan to graduate from high school, you must request an official copy of your certificate of high school equivalency and official GED, TASC or HiSET scores, plus an official transcript of any high school course work completed.
ACT or SAT scores are not required for first-year students, but you may provide self-reported scores if you would like us to take your scores into consideration when reviewing your application.
Review First-Year Student FAQs
Additional Required Materials
Applicants must also complete a College of Music application after their admission application has been submitted, provide a letter of reference and schedule an audition.
Visit the College of Music website for more information.
Questions about applying to CU Boulder?