Applying Requirements : A Guide To Trade School

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    While finding information about trade schools can be relatively complicated, the applications are often very straightforward compared to college applications. Below are some general guidelines for completing and submitting your application. 

    What it Will Consist Of

    • The first portion of the application is usually just entering the portal and making a profile/login. 
    • The content of the application will vary widely, but at least a few of the following elements can be expected:
      • Basic information (name, address, contact)
      • Previous education
      • Previous employment
      • Extracurricular involvement
      • Brief written response to gauge interest and communication skills (I.E. “What interests you about our program?”)
      • Placement test (basic math and reading skills, if you have a high school diploma or GED, it should be easy)
      • A recommendation letter or two (less common than colleges, sometimes just names and contacts instead of letters)
      • Agreement to have a drug test/physical and have admission be contingent on passing
      • Payment of an application fee, usually $50-$100
    • After that, depending on the school, you might have to go to their facility to take the placement test if it’s not online.
    • You’ll likely have to have a drug test and physical and deliver it to them or have it faxed over.
    • You’re free to apply to as many schools/programs as you want, be sure to arrange it so you can send your physical and any other paperwork to each school at the same time so you don’t end up having to do it multiple times.
    • After your application, they’ll get back to you with a decision. At that time, you can go ahead and enroll or change your plans/apply to more schools.

    Financial Aid

    • Financial aid works the same way it does for college, so check out our college financial aid and FAFSA pages for detailed information.
    • In short, you’ll fill out FAFSA and list the trade schools you’re applying to like you would for colleges at the end of it.
    • There will be specific grants and scholarships available for the trades with much less competition than college scholarships.
    • There are some union sponsored programs and apprenticeship programs where you’ll end up paying nothing for your education. Keep an eye out for them in your area and strongly consider them.

    Sean Fowler


    Aerospace Engineering at UMD, intending to specialize in aeronautics with a focus on aerospace structures and design.

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