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Applying to TLU
Your ultimate college checklist: A guide on how to get into college
Whether you're applying to TLU or you're applying to college in general, this guide will help you with all the tips and tricks you need to get into the college of your choice.
Preparing for college starts when you’re still in high school. Not only are you preparing academically by taking all your required courses, you’re joining clubs, participating in extra-curriculars, honing your skills in specific areas and figuring out what you should major in at the college or university of your choice.
Here’s the suggested high school curriculum for incoming TLU students so you can make sure you’re on the right path.
- 4 years of English
- 4 years of mathematics
- 3.5 years of social science
- 4 years of science
- 2 years of foreign language or American Sign Language
Dual Credit and Advanced Placement Classes
If you’re interested in earning college credit while you’re still in high school, check with your high school counselor for dual credit and advanced placement course options at your high school. These types of courses will better prepare you for the academic rigor of college coursework.
TLU Summer Offerings
Get the college experience while you’re still in high school, complete with overnight residence and classes with college professors.
TLU’s Summer Scholars Academy is a two-week residential or commuter summer academy for high school students. You’ll enroll in two college-level courses and earn two credit hours while experiencing life as a TLU student through coursework and projects from TLU professors.
TLU’s Summer Music Academy is a one-week residential or commuter summer camp for middle school and high school band students. You’ll choose from a variety of electives ranging from drum major to jazz improvisation to music theory, participate in evening social activities and learn from TLU School of Music faculty.
If you’re interested in the athletic college experience, you can choose from a variety of summer sports camps, check out the facilities and meet the coaches.
High school is the perfect time to visit colleges. Many universities offer individual and group tours, but TLU will let you attend a class and visit with a professor from the major you’re thinking about studying. Some special visit days are geared towards specific majors, activities or events on campus.
Schedule your college campus visit
Visit days are scheduled in the fall and spring to give students multiple opportunities to learn more about the admissions & financial aid process, tour the campus, hear from TLU professors and current students, and check out TLU's academic majors and programs. If you can't make it out for any of our visit days, you can still schedule an individual visit when you're available.
The TLU Office of Admissions is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and tours are offered Monday through Friday at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. To schedule a visit call us at 830-372-8050 or 800-771-8521, or complete the online request form at tlu.edu/visit.
Want to know what’s happening on campus during your visit? Check out the events calendar at www.tlu.edu/events and “like” our Facebook page for the latest and greatest.
Standardized tests like the SAT and ACT are great ways for colleges and universities to measure your aptitude and knowledge in different areas. Most colleges accept scores from either test, but you may do better on one test over the other.We suggest taking the SAT and ACT at least once. It’s a good idea to retest whichever exam you felt most comfortable.
You’ll take the Practice SAT (PSAT) either the fall of your sophomore or junior year of high school. This test can qualify you for National Merit Scholarships. A good rule of thumb is if your PSAT test score doesn’t match up with your grades, you might be better suited for the ACT.
SAT or ACT?
Not sure which test is right for you? Check out this article from NPR about which standardized test you should take.
When to take the test
Most students take an ACT/SAT starting the spring of their junior year. Take the test early so you have time to study and retake again if you feel you need to. Most universities have minimum test score requirements for admission, but they may not be published. You can usually find the average test scores on sites like Princeton Review that will give you an idea of the score you want. You’ll want to check the deadline for submitting test scores with the individual colleges you’re applying to since they vary.
TLU accepts both SAT and ACT scores. TLU also “super scores” meaning if you test multiple times, the highest of your individual subscores will be averaged together giving you the highest composite score possible.
TLU offers SAT Prep classes for those wanting to brush up on their math, verbal and test-taking skills prior the big test. Classes are scheduled for the three weeks right before SAT test dates in the fall and spring so you won’t forget what you’ve learned. You’ll meet twice each week for two hours and a total of six classes.
Applying to college can be daunting with so many individual applications, standardized tests, recommendation letters and personal essays. Most universities allow you to submit a common application, such as the Common Application or Apply Texas Application, or the university’s own application. If you’re applying to several colleges, it may be worth your time to submit the Common Application or the Apply Texas Application. Make sure your personal essay is customized for the college to which you are applying.
How to apply
TLU accepts applications submitted through Apply Texas and the TLU web application. While there is no application deadline for incoming freshmen or transfer students (TLU operates on rolling admissions basis, accepting applications year-round), you can waive the $40 application fee by applying by February 1 for the fall semester or October 15 for the spring semester. The deadline for international students is May 1 for the fall semester and October 1 for the spring semester.
Applying via Assured Admission
For incoming freshmen applicants only.
Assured Admission means you are guaranteed acceptance into TLU if you meet the following criteria. You’ll be happy to know that while public universities in Texas must admit all students in the top 10%, leaving little room for students just as worthy of admission, TLU assures admission to the top 15%, pending a respectable GPA. It is possible to get into a great Texas college without being in the top 10%.
- Option 1: Students who have an academic core grade point average (CGPA) of at least a 3.50 (on a 4.0 scale) and rank in the top 15% of their high school graduating class.
- Option 2: Students who have earned a composite ACT score of at least 24 (1090 SAT combined score on the math and critical reading sections) and an academic CGPA of at least a 3.00 (on a 4.0 scale).
If applying via assured admission, you are not required to provide a recommendation letter or a writing sample, but you will need to provide an official high school transcript and official SAT/ACT test scores. Test scores are required for academic scholarship consideration.
- Application for admission and financial aid
- Nonrefundable application fee of U.S. $40
Application fee is automatically waived when a completed application is submitted before February 1 for the following fall semester, or by October 15 for the following spring semester. Application fees after these dates may be waived with a fee waiver from The College Board, ACT or the high school. Official transcript sent directly from your high school with current class ranking and cumulative GPA.*
- Non-accredited high school or homeschool students should provide a diploma with date of graduation.
- Students submitting a GED in place of the high school transcript will need to have earned a composite score of 50 or higher.
- Transfer students must provide transcripts from all institutions where they took classes in addition to the high school transcript. High school transcript is required for transfer students if you have less than 24 transferable hours, or if you graduated from high school within the past five years.
Official SAT/ACT test scores.*
- Scores are required for consideration for financial aid and merit scholarships.
- Transfer applicants are not required to submit scores if they have more than 15 transferable hours.
- Recommendation letter from a high school counselor, or a teacher who has observed you in an academic setting.Recommendation letters from coaches are not acceptable for admission.*
- If applying via assured admission, you are not required to provide a recommendation letter or a writing sample.
- Transfer addendum form (sent after application is received, for transfer students only).
For international student admissions, go to www.tlu.edu/admissions/international.
MAcy Direct Admission
If you are interested in earning a Master of Accountancy degree at TLU after already completing your bachelor’s, you must submit the following for your application.
- A completed application form.
- Official transcripts from all universities attended reflecting an acceptable GPA.
- Satisfactory GMAT scores taken with the last five years.
- Current resume.
- Two letters of reference.
Many colleges and universities provide ways for you to earn college credit while still in high school. Dual credit classes are often offered in conjunction with a local university to give you a jump start on college credits. Advanced placement courses in high school can earn you college credit by taking the AP subject exam and getting a minimum score required by the university to waive class hours. Check with your high school counselor for dual credit and advanced placement course options at your high school. You can also test out of college classes through exams like the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) tests, DANTES (Defense Activity for Nontraditional Education Support) and the Excelsior College examinations. TLU accepts all of these credits.
If you want to have the TLU college experience, earn college credit while you’re still in high school, and live on campus for two weeks, you should check out TLU’s Summer Scholars Academy.
Transferring credits from other institutions
If you want to transfer to TLU from another institution, whether it’s from a two-year or four-year college, you’ll want to check out what credits and classes are accepted.
- Fewer than 15 semester hours of university-level work will be evaluated under the requirements for first-year student admission.
- Generally accepted: university-level work with a 2.25 GPA.
- For more information about transferring college credit, check out the transfer guidelines and transfer equivalency guide on our Transfer Application Guide.
THE ACCEPTANCE LETTER
You’ve seen commercials of students receiving a letter or email from their college of choice letting them know they’ve been admitted. While waiting for your acceptance letter may be nerve racking and stressful with your future so uncertain and in the hands of an admissions counselor, the excitement and jubilation to follow are totally worth the wait. Many colleges and universities will provide you with a decision deadline, so you’ll know when acceptance letters will be sent. Since TLU works on a rolling admission basis, allowing you to apply year-round, there is no specific date, but rather a general timeline of when you can expect your acceptance letter.
Notification of Admission
- TLU will notify you of the status of your application file within two weeks of receipt of the application and corresponding documents.
- If you do not receive a notification, either your file is complete and being evaluated for admission, you are missing supporting documents (transcript, recommendation letter, etc.), or the application was never received.
- If you do not meet minimum admissions standards, TLU will contact you to send additional credentials for review by the Admissions Committee
- TLU will send an acceptance packet or personal letter regarding the admission decision.
THE FINANCIAL AID
Most college students need some form of financial aid to help pay for their education. There are several options, including scholarships, grants, and loans; some are provided by the university you’re attending and others from private entities or the government.
No matter where you go, you’ll probably need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be considered for financial aid. Colleges use the FAFSA to determine how much need-based aid you qualify for.
TLU offers scholarships, grants and loans, along with a work-study program that provides 98.5% of students with financial aid.
Filing the FAFSA
- File the FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov.
- To have your FAFSA information sent directly to TLU, enter Federal School Code 003641.
- You will need your tax return as well as your parents' tax information to complete the FAFSA.
- FAFSA for fall admission will be available January 1 of your senior year.
- To ensure maximum eligibility for financial aid, the priority deadline is April 1.
Apply for Scholarships
Apply to audition for performance scholarships
- Music and Dramatic Media scholarships are available for both majors and non-majors
- Additional audition and interview dates are available on the School of Music and Dramatic Media webpages and usually fall in late March and/or late April.
For a complete list of scholarships, as well as grants and loans available at TLU, visit tlu.edu/scholarships.
VA Benefits and GI Bills are examples of military benefits you may be entitled to if you or a family member has served or currently serves in the U.S. military. Most colleges have a VA Certifying Official who can help you sort through the paperwork for your military benefits.
Located less than 30 minutes away from Military City, U.S.A., TLU is in tune with the needs of its military students, whether they are veterans, in the reserves or dependents of service members. Many TLU faculty and staff members are also veterans or come from military families, so they understand the pressures of military life. Our VA Certifying Official is particularly sensitive to our veterans and military students, ensuring that their experience at TLU is a positive one.
TLU is a Yellow Ribbon College and Service members Opportunity College with an ROTC program. For more information about veteran and military services at TLU, visit tlu.edu/military.
Every university’s post-acceptance and enrollment process is different, but they all want to collect certain information needed to finalize your acceptance and get you scheduled for classes. Most of this will happen over the summer while you’re planning on how to decorate your dorm room, saying goodbye to high school friends, and plotting out all the courses and activities you’ll be enjoying at college.
Check your acceptance packet for login information to the MyTLU portal. (This is where you will find the latest information about your individual progress.)
Visit Campus (again)
- Sign up for Bulldog Bound (late April)
Bulldog Bound is a special day for admitted students. You will attend a class, go on a campus-wide scavenger hunt and learn about first-year campus life. Parents are also encouraged to attend to learn about services and programs available to the newest group of Bulldogs.
Submit necessary documents
- Submit your nonrefundable $300 enrollment deposit indicating your intention to enroll at TLU.
- International students submit a $1,000 deposit.
- Preferred deposit deadline is May 1; must submit in order to reserve housing and sign up for advising and registration (Bulldog Basics)
- This will secure your financial aid awards and reserve your spot in Bulldog Basics
- Submit written confirmation of vaccination against bacterial meningitis.
- File the FAFSA, as noted above. This is very important to receive financial aid. Priority Deadline is April 1.
- Respond to any requests for additional information such as verification worksheets and IRS transcripts before August 1.
- Complete a Texas Core Residency Questionnaire if you are a Texas resident. This form is available on the MyTLU portal.
- Submit your final transcript with graduation date and final class rank
- If we have not received an official high school transcript with documentation of graduation date by August 1 for the fall semester or January 9 for the spring semester, your acceptance may be rescinded.
- Complete the comprehensive health form available after receipt of deposit.
- Intercollegiate athletes and cheerleaders will receive a separate physical form from the Athletics Department.
- Complete the housing application and housing contract available after receipt of deposit and meningitis vaccine
- Housing assignments will be made in the summer for fall applicants and after January 1 for spring applicants.
Advising & Registration
You’ll be assigned a faculty advisor who will help guide you through creating your degree plan and scheduling your classes each semester to make sure you are on track to graduate with all the required credits. You’ll want to familiarize yourself with the general education requirements—called Compass at TLU—as well as the requirements for any major or minor you intend to pursue.
- Advising and registration for the fall and summer sessions will occur approximately one month before the end of the spring semester. Advising and registration for the spring will occur in the middle of the fall semester.
- Sign up for Bulldog Basics (June, July and August dates)
- Bulldog Basics (early advising and registration) is a mandatory event for all first-time TLU students intending to enroll at Texas Lutheran University.
- Before an RSVP can be submitted, students must pay the $200 enrollment deposit and provide proof of meningitis vaccination.
- Students enrolling for the spring semester will attend Bulldog Basics in January.
- Resources before your advising date:
Matriculation, Orientation and Convocation
Colleges and universities pride themselves on the pomp and circumstance of ceremony and tradition. In the days before classes officially begin, you’ll be ushered into college life through matriculation, orientation and convocation.
The Matriculation ceremony is when you get to officially sign in as a TLU student. This is usually one of the first events of Bulldog Orientation weekend.
Bulldog Orientation takes place the weekend prior to the start of classes and is meant to help you transition into life at TLU. You’ll move in to your dorm and attend preparation sessions to introduce you to your academic responsibilities and social opportunities while attending TLU. Parents and family are also invited to attend special sessions meant just for them after helping you move in to your dorm room.
Convocation is when all students, faculty and staff gather together for the official beginning of the academic year. There will be recognitions, remarks and words of wisdom that will inspire you as you embark on the most exciting four years of your life.