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Get Started Guide

You're in the right place. Let's get started!

Need more help with any of these steps? Check our New Student Guide for detailed instructions.

Step 1: Apply For Admission,
Financial Aid, Scholarships,
Benefits & Additional Services

Apply for Admission

This application is for all student types, including Recent High School Grads, Adult Learners and Transfer Students.

Admissions Dates & Deadlines

Apply to Columbus State

Special Instructions for:

Check Your Progress

While you’re waiting for your application to be processed, check your email for communications about next steps, further required documentation and other important information.

Aid, Benefits & Assistance

Apply for Financial Aid

Financial Aid includes a number of grant and loan programs to help you pay for college. The first step to receiving financial aid is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Complete the FAFSA at and indicate Columbus State as your choice for college to ensure that your financial aid information is processed and that you receive your funds before fees are due.  Be sure to check your Columbus State email for all Financial Aid related communication.

For more info, visit Columbus State's Financial Aid page or  If you'd like help filing your FAFSA, sign up to attend a FAFSA Workshop, or visit Student Central on the Columbus Campus in Madison Hall.

Apply for Scholarships

Once you complete the FAFSA, you may qualify for different types of aid, including grants, loans, and some scholarships. However, many scholarships have their own application process.

Visit Columbus State's Scholarship Page for details. (Deadlines change, so keep checking back!)

Other Services

Apply for Veterans Benefits

Register with Disability Services

Once you have been accepted to Columbus State, proceed to Step 2


Step 2: Submit Test Scores/Transcripts or Take Placement Tests

Once you have received your acceptance communication, placement is your next step. Placement will ensure you start college at the right level.

If you have college-ready ACT or SAT scores, or previous college credit, request that scores/official transcripts be sent to Columbus State.

Submit Official Transcripts

If you do not have qualifying ACT or SAT scores, proceed to placement testing. 

Columbus State Placement Testing site

Due to coronavirus concerns, we are moving placement testing online.

Math placement testing (ALEKS) will be administered online through CougarWeb. Take the math placement test online by accessing CougarWeb with your Columbus State username and password. Select “ALEKS” under the “Placement Testing” link, and complete the math placement test. Math Placement Info

Temporarily, reading and writing placement will be determined in alternative forms rather than through our traditional placement tests. Any of the following may be used to indicate appropriate placement:

  • Recent ACT/SAT scores
  • GED test scores
  • Recent Advanced Placement English exam scores
  • COMPASS test scores
  • Accuplacer reading and WritePlacer writing scores
  • College English courses you have already completed
  • Recent high school transcripts
If one of these alternative options does not apply to you, the best plan is to register for College Writing (ENGL 0199) / College Composition Workshop (ENGL 1101), where you’ll learn in a small-group, teacher-directed environment that will set you up for success through the rest of your college journey. You may also want to consider taking Advanced Reading (DEV 0145) to learn more about college-level reading skills. A first-term advisor will contact you after you complete our online New Student Workshop
Proficiency testing and College Credit Plus testing are suspended. English as a Second Language students, we’re creating a new process for your placement test, so continue to check our ESL placement testing webpage for updates.
For general coronavirus updates, see Coronavirus Updates & FAQs

Step 3: Register for Class & Pay Tuition & Fees

Once you have submitted your ACT and/or SAT scores, completed placement testing and/or sent your official transcripts, you will be Ready to Register. Registering for classes brings many different options depending on how you identify.

(Be sure to check your student email because you may have received a personalized invitation to the New Student Workshop or Orientation.)

Find the category which best describes you:

New Columbus State Student and Recent High School Graduate?

(Graduated from high school in the past two years)

You Will Register For Classes at a New Student Orientation

Students who are planning to enroll for Spring 2021 should participate in a New Student Workshop. At Orientation, our advisors and staff will work with you to:

  • Tour Campus
  • Help You Register For Your First Semester of Classes
  • Discuss Financial Aid Information
  • Learn About Campus Resources, Getting Involved and Much More

New Columbus State Student and Graduated From High School More Than 2 Years Ago?

You Will Register For Classes at a New Student Workshop

Click here to reserve your spot for an upcoming New Student Workshop

In the workshop, an advisor will work with you to:

  • Help You Register For Your First Semester of Classes
  • Discover Information About Financial Aid
  • Learn About Campus Resources, Getting Involved and Much More

Returning Columbus State Student?

(Previously accepted or attended classes at Columbus State before)

You Will Register For Classes Through CougarWeb

  • To find your classes, browse courses using the Course Schedule.
  • Register for classes using CougarWeb.
  • More information about registering for classes.
  • Need advising regarding your Degree or Program of Study or a refresher on registering for classes? View Academic Advising walk-in hours or you can make an appointment with Advising by calling 614-287-5353 or 614-287-2668.

Pay Your Fees Once You're Registered!

  • Log into CougarWeb and click "Manage My Account" to pay your fees.
  • Learn more about Tuition Payment Options including Extended Payment Plans and Deferrals