The Common Application

Click HERE for information about the Common Application that is used for many college applications. This is usually available starting on August 1 for those students who want to get an early start. See what the application looks like, what questions might be asked, etc.

Below are many other articles related to the application process that may be of interest to you.

College Application - Key Words

  • Early Action – An application process allowing students to apply to a preferred college and receive a decision well in advance of the normal, spring response dates.
  • Early Decision – An application process in which a student applies to a first-choice college in early fall and agrees to enter that college if offered admission. Decisions are typically rendered in December. If not accepted, students will be rejected or deferred. Deferred students will be considered again under regular admission. If students are deferred, they are no longer bound to attend the early decision college.
  • Rolling Admissions – A process used by many colleges that will review applications as soon as all credentials are received and will notify students as soon decisions are made. Notification may come as quickly as a few weeks or could take as long as several months.
  • Wait List – A term used to describe a process in which the college initially neither offers nor denies admission, but extends to a candidate the possibility of admission in the future.
  • Candidate’s Reply Date – The date by which students must submit an enrollment deposit to the one college of matriculation.  This is May 1. Students accepted under Early Decision are often required to send in a deposit at an earlier date set by the college.

Tips for writing the college essay

The Essay

While grades, the strength of curriculum and admission test scores are the top factors in the college admission decision, a majority of colleges use the essay to give the student a chance to show admission officers who he or she really is beyond grades and test scores. Students can use the following checklist as a simple guideline to write their essay:

  • List the initial thought that you would like to emphasize about yourself or an experience you’ve been through.
  • Focus on the topics that you feel would best describe your strengths or experience.
  • Write a tentative statement that would reflect what you want to say.
  • Write a list of details that can be used to support your statement.
  • Arrange this list of details into a well-ordered outline.
  • Demonstrate your intellectual curiosity, dedication, and commitment to goals, ability to complete tasks and leadership and self-control.
  • Write a draft of your admission essay.
  • Revise your first draft, paying attention to your introductory and concluding paragraphs, as well to transitions between your paragraphs.
  • Proofread your revised essay at least twice: once for spelling, punctuation, usage, and other mechanical errors and a second time for meaning and overall effectiveness.
  • Have someone else proofread your essay and make suggestions for improvements.
  • Be sure the essay is within the recommended length.
  • Use words and phrases that are common to you and do not overuse adjectives or adverbs.

The College Interview - tips

Not many colleges require interviews these days, but now and then you’ll find one that does. If this is the case, it’s critical to be prepared for this interview. Click HERE for a list of of possible questions and suggested answers to consider.An interview is a chance for the student to meet with someone in the college admissions department and explain why he or she would make a great addition to the campus community. Students can use the following checklist as a guideline for their admissions interview:

  • Practice for your interview. Be prepared to answer obvious questions. Consult your guidance department for these standard questions and review them with your counselor or parent.
  • Practice makes perfect. Arrange your first interviews at the colleges in which you’re least interested in attending.
  • Relax and be yourself.
  • Be alert and to the point. Make the interview easy for the interviewer.
  • Be sure you are neat and presentable.
  • If they do not already have it, provide the interviewer with a copy of your Resume of Achievement.
  • Showcase your abilities and talents.Stay positive.
  • Don’t dwell on a particular question. Show consideration for their time.
  • Don’t make lofty statements about yourself. Be humble.
  • Avoid negatives about yourself or making excuses for any sub-par performance.
  • Be prepared to answer the following questions: Describe your ideal college. Which other colleges are you considering?  Which college is your top choice?
  • Send a thank-you note to each interviewer within 3 days after the interview.

Taking a leadership role in high school

As the college landscape continues to evolve, various factors rise up and down on the list of priorities for college admissions representatives.  The ebb and flow of the “it” factor in the college admission environment is just like the ocean: what was once high on the crest of the wave of priorities can drop low at any point. The most important factor in college admissions is, and most likely always will be, a student’s high school transcript and GPA, but as the college admissions game has come to focus on various other factors, certain characteristics of a student tend to shine more than others.

While stalwarts of the admissions process such as community service or involvement in extracurricular activities will always remain important, the all-encompassing, yet occasionally vague, term of leadership is quite popular right now. Leadership can present itself in numerous ways for a high school student. If you are the captain of a sports team, you are certainly a leader. If you are the president of the student government association, you are without a doubt a leader. But those positions can be few and far between at schools. Only a limited number of students rise up the ranks of school organizations to attain positions of leadership, so what happens to the well-meaning, determined young man or woman who is involved and focused, but doesn’t have one of those traditional leadership roles? The answer is, quite simply, to create your own.

1. Do you wish your school had a club or organization that it currently doesn’t have? You can find a few friends and a faculty advisor and create your own club. Not only does that show incredible initiative, chances are you will be some sort of leader within the club you started.

2. Initiating and implementing a small-scale community service project also demonstrates leadership. If you are passionate about a cause that your local community currently does not support, you can start your own event to support this cause. Whether it be a car wash, bake sale, or toy drive, if you create and implement an event like that, it shows leadership and entrepreneurship well beyond that of an average high school student.

3. Attending a leadership-driven event is also a solid way to show a college that you possesses leadership skills. Various colleges and community organizations across the nation tend to hold leadership conferences and events in the summer for high school students where they engage in workshops and activities designed to illicit teamwork and community-minded solutions to help young leaders find their voice and drive.

How to Write A Resume Without a Lot of Experience

Sometimes when you go to apply to college you’ll be asked to include a resume.  OR are you in high school and want to get a summer job and need a resume?  Have you about ready to graduate from college and are starting the job search?   Where to start with the resume????   Here are some good samples to follow.  As always – PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD, PROOFREAD!


How Colleges Use Kids’ Social Media Feeds in the Application Process

Hey, all you college-bound kids: What’s the easiest thing you can do to impress prospective schools? It’s not your GPA. It’s not the debate team. It’s your Facebook and your TwitterSnapchatYouTubeVine, and any other social media feeds that colleges can see. Yesthey’re looking. Get answers to the most important questions about what colleges want to see.

Should I delete my social media or make it all private?

Making it private is a good idea anyway. On most social media, a private account means your name won’t come up in search results, and it limits your digital footprint (how much stuff about you is available on the web). You don’t have to delete your accounts, colleges expect prospective students to have social media.

Do I have to delete every single party pic of me and my friends?

No. Actually, colleges like to see that you’re a well-rounded person with a healthy social life. The main thing that could hurt you is posts that reflect poor judgment. Get rid of any photos and videos that contain inappropriate behavior such as drinking, sexy stuff, and lots of swearing, hostile speech, rudeness, or negative tweets about a school that you’re applying to.

The college I’m interested in contacted me through Facebook. Doesn’t that mean that they’re cool and won’t care about my “youthful indiscretions”?

Nope. College marketers use social media to reach teens (and maybe to seem cool, too). But be careful: replying to the school through your social media (instead of your email account) allows them to view your account. So make sure it’s a fairly good reflection of who you are before you start the process.

I once got in a public war of words with someone not on my social media but on another online forum. Will that hurt me?

It might. If you posted under the same username that you use on your other public social media, there’s a record of your rants and hostile posts, and it could come up when the school Googles you. You can’t go back in time and revise what you wrote. So make sure that the primary account you want the college to see is clean. And if you feel like sounding off in a public forum, make your posts constructive and cordial.

Will the weird stuff I like on other people’s social media reflect negatively on me?

Probably not unless it’s illegal, extremely antisocial, or disturbing and it makes up the bulk of your feed.

Could the school look poorly on me if I follow provocative figures on social media?

It’s unlikely that they would use this against you unless the majority of people you follow are very extreme and highly controversial. That could show that you’re not open to different points of view, which could be problematic in college. If you’re interested in a topic, seek out a range of opinions. Also, follow people who are influential in the area you’re interested in including the colleges you’re applying to. It will help you learn about the field and hey, if the school notices, it shows you’re serious.

What should I do if I think a school unfairly disqualified me because of my social media?

Because colleges receive so many qualified applications, they’re typically looking at social media to see if it tips the scales in anyone’s favor not to dig up dirt. Maybe another applicants’ social media just made that person seem like a better match for the school. But if you think a skeleton in your Facebook closet came back to haunt you, you can contact admissions and find out.

Do my likes, followers, and other indicators of social media popularity help me or hurt me in the college admissions process?

If you’ve actively pursued a specific passion (music, photography, or even the evolution of the shoe from ancient times to present) and you’ve cultivated an active, engaged audience on social media, that’s a plus. College admissions will see that you have drive and initiative. On the other hand, having a big audience for more typical random teen interests, such as internet memes and cat videos, may not even register (and won’t be held against you).

Should I groom my social media specifically to look good for colleges?

Some colleges do want to see social media that’s more resume-like. You can ask admissions how much it will be considered. For the most part, your social media should reflect who you really are or maybe a slightly spiffier you. Make sure you don’t exaggerate your achievements. Colleges fact-check awards and accolades. You probably won’t be happy at a college that chooses you based on a sanitized, highly curated version of you. But you should demonstrate that you’re aware that someone you want to impress is viewing.

Tips for parents working with their child on selecting a college

One of the most pivotal periods in any parent’s life is their child’s college application process. Whether your child is a high school senior or just starting his or her high school career, it is never too early or late to start planning for college with your child. Parents can help children through this process in the following ways:

  • Talk with your child about plans after high school. Do they see themselves in a traditional college program, art school, or technical school? Do they want to go directly to college or are they interested in exploring other options, like a gap year?
  • Help your child set realistic expectations. Emphasize the importance of finding a school that will provide the right academic and social fit.
  • Encourage visits to different schools and allow your child to form his or her own opinions about the experience.
  • Encourage self-advocacy. Now is the time for your child to practice setting up sessions with teachers for extra help, explain difficulties they may be having in school, and embrace new strategies for success.
  • Stay positive. Your child will take his or her cue from you throughout this exciting time of transition.
  • Consider how your child’s education will be financed. Who will be paying for your child’s education? If your child goes to a more expensive college, will that mean they will need to work during school? Have you factored in travel expenses if your child is considering going to school far from home? Think realistically about the finances as well. You don’t want to have the child graduate with a lot of debt.
  • Keep in mind that in the end, your child is the one going to college and is the one best-qualified to make the final decision on where he or she goes to school.

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