Preparing for College

Begin Your College Search

IU Columbus is here to help you stay on track for college. By starting early, you'll be well-equipped to tackle those college applications during your final year of high school. No matter what high school grade you're in, we have steps you can take now to make a smooth transition to college.

The first thing you should do is find out who your "go-to" contact is at IU Columbus. We have admission counselors who can answer your questions about applying, degrees & majors, affordability, and more. 

Find your admissions counselor and connect with them all through high school!

Make High School Count

High school is a busy time, and while it may seem like it lasts forever, it doesn't! It's easy to lose sight of the many steps involved with the college search process, so to help you we have an easy to follow list of key steps you should take each year in high school.

Make the most of freshman year and build a solid foundation for future years.

  • Choose college prep curriculum
  • Works towards the Academic Honors diploma (if Indiana resident)
  • Participate in extracurricular activities

With freshman year done, you can start to ease more into the college search process.

  • Take the PSAT and/or PLAN
  • Explore and visit colleges
  • Regularly meet with your school counselor
  • Keep getting good grades

Junior year may not be as busy as senior year, so take advantage of that extra time!
  • Visit colleges, like IU Columbus 
  • Take standardized tests
  • Identify ways to pay for college
  • Complete request info forms for colleges
  • Take challenging courses
  • Keep up good grades

If you're interested in starting college early, check out our Early College Program

It's time to push full-steam ahead in the college search process. Let's go!

  • Visit colleges (if you haven't)
  • Take standardized tests (if you haven't)
  • Apply to colleges
  • Apply for scholarships
  • Apply for financial aid
  • Decide on a college

Use our freshman apply page to help you successfully apply to IU Columbus!

Uh, What Did You Say?

Throughout the college search process you may hear words you haven't heard before. To prepare you for that time we have some common terms and their meanings listed below as they relate to IU Columbus. 

  • Academic advisor: a professional staff member who advises newly admitted and current students their four-year academic degree plan including; course registration and professional goals.
  • Accrediation: a process of validation in which colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning are evaluated.
  • Admissions counselor: a professional staff member who counsels prospective students through the college search process including; application requirements, majors offered, and affordability.
  • Admission-based scholarships: an automatic scholarship awarded to incoming freshman upon high school graduation. Students must meet certain criteria and be admitted by February 1. 
  • Associate's degree: an undergraduate degree program that typically lasts two academic years. IU Columbus does not offer associate programs.
  • Bachelor's degree: an undergraduate degree program that typically lasts four academic years. IU Columbus offers several bachelor programs.
  • Bursar: a service within the Student Financial Services office that mainly handles tuition payments for students.
  • Cost of attendance: the total dollar amount it will cost to attend.
  • Credit hour: a unit of measure of college credits which are typically based on the number of hours you spend in the classroom.
  • Certificate: an undergraduate or graduate program that typically lasts one academic year.
  • Doctorate: the highest level of degree for academics. IU Columbus does not offer doctoral programs.
  • Elective: an optional course chosen by a student that counts toward a degree program.

  • FAFSA: a form that is completed by students and their families each year to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid. The FAFSA is available online beginning October 1. IU Columbus’ school code is E01033.
  • Financial aid: a general term for financial support given to a student by a college or the state or federal government. Federal financial aid is available in three categories: grants, loans, and work-study.
  • First-generation student: a student who is the first in family of origin (mother/father/legal guardian) to attend college.
  • Full-time student: a student who enrolls in a minimum of 12 credit hours.
  • Grade point average (GPA): the culmination/average of all grades received.
  • Graduate student: a student who has earned a bachelor’s degree and is pursuing additional education in a specific field.
  • Grant: a form of financial aid from a non-profit organization (such as the government) that you do not have to repay.
  • Dean's list: a recognition give per academic semester to students who achieve a high academic performance
  • Indiana 21st century scholars: a scholarship specifically for students who are residents of Indiana and who meet specific criteria that provides students up to four years of undergraduate tuition at any participating public college or university in Indiana.

  • Loan: a form of financial aid that you must repay.
  • Major: your primary area of study. Your college major is the field you plan to get a job in after you graduate (for example: business, linguistics, anthropology, psychology).
  • Master's degree:a graduate degree program that typically lasts two academic years. Students are usually eligible to apply for a master’s degree program after they have earned a bachelor’s degree.
  • Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP): a multistate tuition reciprocity program for residents of Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio (starting fall 2018), and Wisconsin. Through MSEP, public institutions agree to charge students no more than 150 percent of the in-state resident tuition rate for specific programs; private institutions offer a 10 percent reduction on their tuition rates.
  • Minor: your secondary area of study. Fewer classes are required for a college minor than for a major.
  • Orientation: program for new students that often is required by colleges prior to the start of the academic year. Using a variety of methods and activities, orientation introduces students to the school and prepares them for the upcoming semester.

  • Part-time student: a student enrolled in less than 12 credit hours in a semester.
  • Placement exam: academic tests used to asses which level of a course a student should take in a given subject. New IU Columbus students are typically required to take a placement exam in math.
  • Private university: a university that is privately-funded. Tuition for a private college or university (before scholarships and grants) is the same for all students.
  • Pre-requisite: a class that must be taken before you can take a different class. (For example, Astronomy 100 may be a prerequisite for Astronomy 200.)
  • Professor: an instructor responsible for leading a class in a specialized field in a college or university.
  • Public university: a university that is funded by the government. Public colleges and universities are less expensive for residents of the state where they are located.
  • Registrar: the office responsible for supervising registration processes and handling student records at a college or university.
  • Residency: a determination of where a student is from for fee-payment purposes (in state or out of state).
  • Scholarship: a financial award given to a student by a school or another entity that does not need to be paid back. Students often are required to meet and maintain specific criteria to be awarded and keep a scholarship.
  • Semester: the length of time that you take a college class.
  • Syllabus: a description of a course which also lists the dates of major exams, assignments and projects.
  • Tuition: the sum of money charged for teaching or instruction by a school, college, or university.

  • Undergraduate student: a student who is taking courses between levels 100-400. Usually these are students pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
  • University College (UCOL): a team on campus dedicated to ensuring your college career gets off to a good start by providing you with a thorough introduction to campus and solid academic advising about how to achieve your career goals.
  • University ID (UID): a random, unique, 10-digit number assigned to each student that IU uses to identify you in records.
  • Withdraw: the act of dropping classes.
  • Work-study: work-study jobs are part-time jobs available on campus. If you have a work-study job, the U.S. government pays part of your wages.