- Approach the College of Winterhold. Talk to Faralda at the entrance bridge.
- She will ask what you seek in the college, however your answer is irrelevant to the outcome.
- You will need to prove your ability by casting a spell. When you start the quest, one of five spells will be chosen randomly. The needed spell can be purchased for 30 gold from her (Faralda), or you can get the spell from any merchant around Skyrim. Alternatively, if your Speech skill is high enough, you can use the persuade option and she will permit you entrance to the College without having to prove yourself.
- Proceed to the courtyard, speak to Mirabelle Ervine, and take the tour.
- Enter the Hall of the Elements and listen to Tolfdir’s lecture.
First, go to the bridge leading to the College of Winterhold, and speak to Faralda. She will ask you about your intentions and what you expect to find on entering the college. Whichever option you choose, she will continue by saying that you must take a small test to show you have some degree of skill with magic. When you agree, she will randomly select one spell from any one of the five schools of magic for you to cast. This may be:
- Casting a Firebolt at the eye-shaped seal next to her.
- Summoning a Flame Atronach on the seal.
- Casting Fear at the seal.
- Casting Healing Hands on her.
- Casting Magelight at the seal.
If you do not have the spell she asks of you, she will offer to teach it to you for 30 gold. This is an easy and cheap way to learn any one of the above spells, if you do not already possess them.
After getting the spell, cast it as directed by Faralda: either on her (Healing Hands) or on the mage eye next to her (the others). Alternatively, if you are here for the main quest Elder Knowledge, you can tell her you are dragonborn, and she will ask to see a shout, this will get you in without needing to cast a spell. Upon doing either of these, Faralda will allow you across the bridge and direct you to Mirabelle Ervine.
After you speak to Mirabelle Ervine, she will want to give you a tour of the facilities. Before that, however, she will give you two items to wear (although wearing is not mandatory for membership): a Novice Hood (+30 to magic points) and a Novice Robes of Destruction (-12% to Destruction Spell Magicka Cost, Magicka regenerates 50% faster).
As the player follows her around, she will point and explain the few areas and what their purpose is.
She will lead you to your new quarters, which is an Apprentice room held in a circular chamber with 5 rooms total. One for each of the apprentices, and one for Tolfdir. Your room is the first on the right, which includes a bed, a drawer, some starting items such as a few soul gems.
Upon completing the tour, she will ask you to join the lecture hall and listen to Tolfdir. Tolfdir will start talking to you and your 3 other peers. Their anxiousness is palpable. Your peers will badger the professor to teach them the practical magical knowledge, eventually asking you for what you think. Even if your dialog choice is “I think safety is important and should be learned first”, he will still cave in and ask you to perform a protection Ward spell. If you do not have this spell, he will give it to you freely. You will be asked to cast the spell and fend off his attack with it.
After you successfully defend yourself from one of his fire balls, the quest is finished, and the next quest will automatically begin.