Applying to College

Applying to College

The Common Application

More commonly known as the Common App amongst students, this is your gateway into the world of college. The Common Application is the most widely used application by colleges in the United States. It’s an application that is approximately 15 pages long and consists of many parts, such as a part for students to fill out and submit an essay, teacher recommendations, counselor report forms and many more. Each part of this application is essential for the college to which you are applying. Although the Common App doesn’t apply to all schools (like a friend who is looking at music conservatories has a completely different application process), most schools actually use the Common App.

On Commonapp.org, you can set up an account where you can complete your application online. This makes it so much easier because you don’t have as much paper work to worry about. Although you can do most of the application online, things such as the midyear report, the secondary school report, and your teacher recommendation papers will have to be printed and given to the appropriate person that will be taking care of each paper. Read the rest of this entry »



College Applications Are Due When?!

I have already spent countless hours on my college folder, picking schools, fishing through a sea of college mail, and taking the time to look at each school carefully so I know which schools will be right for me. So once I had my 10 schools picked, I sat back and released a sigh of relief. Now I could take it easy.

Well yesterday I had a meeting with my college adviser and I came to realize how much I had to do! Sure I had my schools picked out (which is more than quite a few of my classmates can say), but with such a high number of schools that I plan on applying to, I came to realize how much more work I would be putting into my applications in order to finish them on time. Thankfully, only 3 of my colleges are Early Action, but my college folder is due to my college adviser by September 23rd! Of course, not all my applications are due at this point, only information my adviser and teachers have to send.

Although I want to finish a big chunk of my college applications early, I want to spend a decent amount of time on each of them, and focus a lot on my top 3 colleges. Another thing I will want to spend a lot of time on is the supplement for each school.

For those of you who are reading this and asking “What in the world is she talking about?” let me explain some. For each college, there is their application. Most schools use what is called the Common Application which can be found online. Along with the Common App, most schools use supplements developed by the schools that give a little personal touch to the regular application. For most, the supplement will be an essay (on top of the essay you submit with the Common App), while some schools may pick something else for you to do. But the main goal of the supplement, as I said before, is so that your boring, bland application will have a little more character, allowing the colleges to see more of you than just the numbers you’ve produced during your high school years.

So it is very important for you to get a headstart on your college applications. Whether you are applying to 2 schools or 12 schools, it’s always a good idea to start early, just in case something comes up that can take time away from the application process. Remember also, to spend a good amount of time on the supplement if a school requires one because the supplement is what will allow for the school to see you come through your application rather than just viewing you as a couple of numbers.



Effective Way to Narrow Down College Choices

As the deadline creeps closer for our college folders to be turned in, I realize just how ahead of many of my classmates I am. When I started my whole college search process, it was an absolute mess. I felt overwhelmed because of just how many schools I had to choose from and all the different factors that could play into my choice.

I myself have decided to apply to 10 colleges. I have read in multiple sources that 8 is a good number of colleges to plan on applying to, while anymore than 10 is a little much. How many colleges a students decides on applying to depends heavily on just how much time the student has to devote to applying to each school. And if you realize you don’t have time to apply to a lot of schools then don’t apply to a large amount of schools. All of my colleges are small liberal arts schools, and while most are in the Midwest, I have a few that are located along the east coast. Looking back though, I have realized that keeping myself organized really helped me narrow my list down.

best collegesOne of the biggest helps was Collegeboard.com. This website, after creating a free online account with them, allows you to search through profiles of colleges online and allows you to build a list of schools that you could see yourself applying to. After making such a list with them, their site then will allow you to compare schools and look at different numbers and facts about each school, which really helped to see most of the numbers I wanted to see. When it came to student opinions on the school though, I relied on my book “The Best 366 Colleges” by Princeton Review. This book not only lets you see the numbers like the websites, but it also gives you insight into the student life, campus activities, and application due dates. The book even gives student quotes and explanations, which is nice getting a student produced response rather than the college feeding you a bunch of information that’s been sugar coated to make the college look even better.

So when you begin your college search, I would suggest going online and snooping around there. Also, I would advise you to either buy a copy of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 366 Colleges” or a book that is similar so that you not only get a view point on the college from the college, but also the view point of a student that attends the school.





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