I am trying to complete the following sentence:

" . . . where certification qualifies students to apply [prep.] a wider range of employment and higher learning opportunities."

I have noted the following explanation elsewhere on the Internet:

apply to: This is the idiom to use when you are putting yourself forward as a candidate for something such as a course of study, or a job. You apply to graduate school. You apply to a company for employment. You apply to a bank’s loan department for a loan.

apply for: This is the expression to use if your intention is to obtain something. You apply for scholarship money. You apply for admission. You apply for a job.

Source: https://www.dailywritingtips.com/apply-to-apply-for-and-apply-with

According to this explanation, "to" seems to be more appropriate option, since students are "putting themselves forward as candidates." But "for" seems to be ringing in my ear as the more natural option for whatever reason, and maybe also makes sense after all if we think that students are "intending to obtain" an opportunity to be considered as candidates.

Would appreciate your opinions, especially as to which option sounds more natural.

  • They're applying for 'a wider range of employment and higher learning opportunities' (that's the something they'll obtain). I'm not sure why it isn't 'apply to', but it doesn't sound right. Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 8:06
  • 2
    'Apply for' meaning 'try to obtain a certain job or place on a course, etc': 'She applied for the position of transport manager / various art courses'. /// 'Apply to' means put in your application forms (etc) to a certain establishment / company. 'She applied to Walmart and Daimler-Benz.' / But 'apply to' also means 'be associated with / govern ...': They think the rules don't apply to them'. Commented Jul 1, 2017 at 8:46

2 Answers 2


One applies for a job, not to a job.

One applies to a college for admission (to an entity FOR something)

One applies to a bank for a job. (to an entity FOR something)

One NEVER applies to a job. A job is not an entity

A job is something you would like to obtain, so you apply for it.

Do you apply for benefits or to benefits? You apply for benefits. You want the benefits so you apply for them. You want a job, so you apply FOR it.


My understanding is such as "apply to an organization for a service". To obtain a wider range of employment, I think you need to apply for it.

  • Thanks! I also like the comment by @EdwinAshworth above. It seems to me that "apply for" puts the focus more on the person and on the action of applying ("applying for [the purpose of obtaining]..."), whereas "apply to" puts the focus more on the places to which the application is being submitted. Since I want to focus more on the widening breadth of choices--I'm literally envisioning students visiting more websites / schools--I think my preferred option is "to." If you would update your answer to reflect this additional discussion, I'd be happy to accept this answer.
    – user174118
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 9:06

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