Cosmetology and esthetics programs are offered at community colleges, career colleges and at specialty schools. What you need to apply to these programs therefore depends on the type of education you are pursuing.
In general, though, beauty school programs in cosmetology and esthetics require a high school diploma or GED and that you submit photo ID showing proof of age. Additional admission requirements may include submitting a health form and personal essay, participating in an interview and attesting that you are not dependent on or addicted to any controlled chemical substance. Many beauty schools are not as interested in your grades as they are in your personal qualities, your motivation and your professionalism. So the standard post-secondary application element of submission of transcripts is often not necessary, while less traditional requirements may stipulate that you visit a class before submitting your application for enrollment.
The application process typically involves filling in an online application form on the school's website and sending a non-refundable application fee of around $20-75, depending on the institution. At some career colleges, an aptitude test or questionnaire may also be requested. These are most often small schools that are welcoming to prospective students, and you will find that if you contact the school, a representative will be happy to give you a tour and answer questions.
Some career college beauty schools offer continuous enrollment with programs starting every month or week; others operate on a more traditional semester system with a fall and/ or winter intake. Therefore, there may not be a cut-off date for admission, and instead applications are processed as they come in. But be sure to check carefully: community college cosmetology and esthetics programs in particular may have specific deadlines after which applications are no longer considered, and all schools with internal scholarships or grants may encourage early application in order to qualify for these awards and financial assistance.
Because private career colleges are just that--private--they are run like a business and should be approached as though you are buying a product. This means: find out about tuition costs, equipment/ facilities, and refund policy in case you decide not to complete the program. Particular to beauty schools is the question of whether students are responsible for purchasing their own tools, supplies and/or uniform, so make sure you snoop out any "hidden" costs! A school visit either on their official 'open house' days or just informally on your own can be a great way to gather information.
All students considering applying to a beauty school should check out the specific institution's website, or contact the admissions office, for all the details on application and admission. But don't just take their word for how great they are: remember that comparison shopping is always a good strategy. After all, the beauty school you choose is an investment in your future.
NOTE: Financial aid may be available for those who qualify. Job placement is not guaranteed.