Common App Countdown-8 Things to Know

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“A journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step” ~Lao Tzu

The Common Application opens in two weeks, on August 1st. If you area rising senior or the parent of a rising senior, here are a few thoughts on how to proceed:

  1. You can fill the actual application part now and it will roll over on August 1st. So if you are a senior, get started. Just opening your account and filling out the basic information will feel good. You will be able to say you started your Common App!
  2. The Common App will close down for a few days at the end of July, typically around the 28th. You will not be able to access your account until August 1st. If you are a parent of a senior and you insist that your student start working on their application at the end of July and they tell you that they cannot log in, they are not lying. All the more reason to start now!
  3. There is a tedious amount of information to input. I recommend that you do this in 30-45 minute increments. You will need information from each parent about their jobs and educational background. You also must put in an extensive amount of information from your own academic profile. This can feel like a lot of busy work but there is no choice but to keep going until you are done.
  4. There is space for ten activities. If you have more than ten, you can see if any of them might fit in the Honors and Awards section. The other option is to lump certain activities together, like volunteer work. If you follow these steps and still have more accomplishments to share, see #7.
  5. You must take the time to write your activities in a meaningful, descriptive way that shows what you have done in the most detail. This is an opportunity to put your best foot forward. The “College Essay Guy”,  Ethan Sawyer, author of the book College Essay Essentials has an excellent guide for letting your activities shine here.
  6. The 2021 offers a 250 word optional supplement to address any impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on your life. This is an excellent opportunity to share any significant experiences you have had since March and write the main essay about a different topic.
  7. The best kept secret on the Common App is the additional information essay. What is this? It is a section of the application where you can share anything else pertinent to your profile that you want, in 650 words or less. So if you have an activity that does not fit in any of the other areas, you can share this information in this section.
  8. The link to the Common App is here. Good Luck!

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