Monday, October 19, 2015

Exploring the Common Application

Happy Monday everyone!!

In hopes of helping the younger readers or those who have never gone through the college application process, I am discussing some concepts about applying to multiple universities through the Common Application. Here is a step-by-step approach to creating and submitting your college admissions application!
  1. Create an account on to get started. There isn't much you need for this other than your identifying information (name, date of birth, e-mail address, and phone number). 
      • It is really important that you create and use a semi-professional e-mail address when you are applying to colleges, for scholarships, and for financial aid. Something as simple as your first initial and your last name would be fine. This is how CommonApp and most universities are going to be in contact with you about various things, so be sure to check this e-mail address regularly (every few days).
  2. Add the colleges you want to apply to into your queue. You can search for your colleges by name before adding the school to your "My Colleges" list. This is how your application and materials get sent to these institutions. If you don't have a university on the list, then they won't receive your application and thus you won't have the chance to be accepted to that school.
  3. Because each college/university has their own requirements and expectations, it is necessary to compare all of these requirements to make sure you don't miss something. Some universities are exam optional, some require two academic letters of recommendations whereas others require one academic and one personal, and some require a different personal statement. You don't want to miss out on an opportunity simply because you misread or forgot something!
      • When I was completing my graduate school applications, I created an Excel document (if you have a Gmail account, you can use the Google Docs 'Sheets' application) to keep track of when applications were due, who I had as references, the number of words my personal statement had to be, and any other requirements that were unique. This helped keep me so organized so that I didn't forget anything or misinform anyone.
  4. You'll want to organize all of your information in one place so that when you are applying you have it ready to go. You will need the following items, no matter the university: a copy of your high school transcript, a list of extra-curricular activities (in school, volunteer, athletics, arts), test scores and dates (SAT, ACT, or Subject Tests), and parent/guardian information. All colleges require this information, so this will go in your general profile. Be sure to have accurate information because once you've submitted your application, you can't go in and change it.
  5. Now you are ready to officially start your application. This is what you have been working so hard towards ... to go to college and get a degree! This is going to be rather daunting and applying does take some time, but just know that it is worth it. If you have to set aside some time each week to devote to applying, that is perfectly fine! Just make sure you keep your deadlines in mind so that you don't miss any! 
      • During my application process, I spent all of my study halls gathering my information and spent each Saturday completing my applications and organizing everything. I was able to complete everything on time and received my first college decision in the middle of November! 

Applying to a college is a very daunting and sometimes overwhelming task, but once it is over and you feel an immense amount of pride in yourself and in what you have accomplished in your high school years, you will be thankful it is over! You have so many great things to come in the next several months and you will accomplish even more to be proud of! Enjoy this time and make every moment count!

enjoy the chase,

P.S. If you have more questions about the CommonApp, here is a link to their Frequently Asked Questions webpage! Good Luck to all you college chasers!

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