NEWS: USC is now on The Common Application for 2011-2012. Follow these tips and buy my ALL COLLEGE ESSAYS application on the IPhone, ITouch, and IPad as it will list all the common application supplemental essays and requirements for each college.

Tip 1:

Sign up for the Common Application (www.commonapp.org). It went live July 31, 2011.

Account Set Up.

- Use an email address you check often.

- Set up an easy user name and password. Your user name and password are okay.

- Text yourself and save in a million places your user name and password.

- If you school uses Naviance, you need to sign the Common Application waiver on Naviance to allow you to submit teacher recommendations via Naviance.

Tip 2:

Overall Application. You can keep changing info until the minute you submit the application. So don’t worry. You can go back and make changes. Any requirement with a YELLOW DOT in front of it is MANDATORY to fill in. If you plan to apply for financial aid, you need to add your SSN. If you don’t have one, enter all 0s.

Tip 3:

Left hand column. Learn that the left hand column provides the links to each core section of application.

Tip 4:

Future Plans. Each college asks for different info so don’t freak out. You can have different majors and plans for each college on your list. Each college selects the questions for you to answer from a specified list of questions.

Tip 5:

My Colleges. Click on it. Add all your college choices. You will see core information about each college. Application. Supplemental. Payments. School Forms. School Details. Enter your teacher and counselor recommendation information here.

Tip 6:

Academics. The Common Application is asking more academic information this year. You can list every college that you’ve taken courses since 9th grade. It also asks for GPA and test scores. If there is not a yellow dot in front of an item, you do not have to put it in. Do not put in low GPAs. Let them see that later with your transcripts. If you are waiting for test scores, do not enter any test scores here.

Tip 7:

Supplements. Click on this tab on left. You will see information about supplements for each college on your list. Start a master list of the supplemental short and long essays. Color code overlapping prompts. My Iphone/IPad application provides each supplemental essay you will need to write: ALL COLLEGE ESSAYS.

Tip 8:

Honors and Activities. You can list up to 5 honors and 10 activities. You can move the order of your 10 activites around but focus on the most significant and most recent. Focus on leadership and initiative. Put them in order of your most important honors, activities and jobs. Put your positions (all leadership roles) in the short line to the right of the chart. Preview the page as the Common Application cuts off answers even though you can type them in without getting cut off. If you have more than the allotted number of activities, you can combine some common activities or put extras under additional information. You must identify each honor as S (School), S/R (State/Regional), N (National), or I (International).

Tip 9:

Essays. Start working on essays now. The Common Application limits your short activity statement to 1000 characters (includingwith  spaces) even though it says 750 characters max. We measure it so go with the 1000 character max . The Common App now says you have 250-500 words to write your essay. But since you upload it, there is no actual limit. But try to keep it to one page single spaced. Unless you have written an award winning essay, readers don’t want to read much more. Grab their attention through amazing stories that are short and sweet. Use essays more than once for different applications.

Use my Into, Through, and Beyond approach for both long and short (activity) essays. Grab readers attention!!!

Tip 10:

School Forms and Payments. School forms are the forms for your counselor and teachers to complete. Most schools require that freshman (non-transfer) applicants complete these forms online and control the number of teacher letters so select your best teacher as teacher one. Beg some technology reluctant teachers to allow you to use their email addresses. Payments. You pay for each college separately. With fee waivers, you can contact the colleges directly or get fee waivers from NACAC. Ask your counselor for help or us.

2 Responses to “Ten Tips For Completing the 2011-2012 Common Application”

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