Today, we are going to discuss the Common App, which opens for the new college admissions cycle on August 1st. We will discuss what you need to know and how you can best prepare in order to ensure that you fill out all of your applications in a timely and effective manner. Let’s get started!
What is the Common App?
The Common App is an online college application that has agreements with the majority of US colleges/universities. This means that by just creating an account on the Common App, you can apply to most institutions without creating new applications for each one. This makes the application process much more efficient and straightforward.
Go to CommonApp.org to make an account. But be careful, the application for the 2022-2023 cycle does not open until August 1st, so any information you input before then may be lost. Nonetheless, you can create an account now to simply familiarize yourself with the application. Your account will automatically be rolled over to the new application cycle on August 1st.
How do I prepare for the Common App?
Students often wonder if they can do anything before the Common App is released in order to prepare ahead of time. The answer is yes! There are three key things you can do to get ahead this summer.
1. Write your personal statement – The personal statement is your “main essay” that will be sent to all of the colleges you end up applying to. The prompts for this are released before the Common App opens, so you can get a head start on writing. If you need some help getting started with your essay, you can read our blog post about writing your personal statement, or contact us for one-on-one help. Keep in mind that last year’s essay prompts are the same as this year’s.
2. Start writing supplemental essays – Each institution you apply to will likely have 1-3 supplemental essays that they require you to write that are specific to that institution. Schools release their supplemental essays on different timelines, so you will have to check on each college’s website to see what this year’s essay prompts are – often times they will post them on their websites before the common app opens, so you can get a head start. That being said, it is very important you explicitly confirm that the essay topics you are looking at are, in fact, the ones that will be used for 2022-2023. Do not assume that last year’s prompts will remain unchanged unless the college specifically says this. You don’t want to waste your time writing a supplemental essay just to find out a few weeks later that they changed this year’s prompt – don’t try to predict the future!
3. Create your resume – On the Common App, there will be an activities/awards section where you can list the different activities you were involved in, explain your time commitment, and give a brief description of each one. By building a resume ahead of time, you can easily have all of your activities, time commitments, and descriptions centered in one place which will greatly facilitate the process of filling out this important section on the Common App. Moreover, you can attach your resume to your application, which may be important if you have more than ten activities (the maximum allowed on the activities section of the Common App). Be sure to list activities and awards in order of importance.
Once it comes time to fill out your applications, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information you are faced with. That’s normal. But it is important that you prepare and stay organized in order to minimize this. In addition to getting ahead on the things that were mentioned earlier, be sure that you have your college list (the list of schools you will most likely be applying to) ready as soon as possible. Visit each of the school’s websites to look for information on their applications – what are all the requirements? Is there anything special that needs to be attended to? What about an earlier-than-usual deadline? These things sometimes come up, and it is important that you are aware of them all. College and Universities will not review an application that is late or incomplete. Be sure to stay organized and on top of all the information that will be required of you in order to avoid a devastating mistake.
At American College Counselors, we work one-on-one with students and their families to guide them through the college admissions process. If you need help on your applications, essays, resumes, or anything else related to the admissions process, please contact us to set up a free initial consultation where we can get to know each other a bit better and explain exactly what we do. Send us an email at [email protected] or call/text us at +1(954)-593-6230.