FOLLOW THE YELLOW DOT ROAD:
Ten Tips For Filling Out the
2012-2013 Common Application
The Common Application is very user friendly. Just make sure you always submit your application, supplement, and payment to each college on your list. Without all of these your applications will be incomplete.
Sign up for the Common Application (www.commonapp.org). It went go live August 1, 2012.
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.
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.
Remember, when you’ve completed one section or college, a green triangle will appear. Your goal is to have all green triangles by the time you’ve finished your application process.
Left hand column. Learn that the left hand column provides the tabs and links to each core section of application.
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.
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. Students using Naviance, must link with the Common Application. You still need to add your colleges here.
Academics. The Common Application is asking more academic information this year. You can list every college where 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.
Supplements. Click on this tab on the left side of tabs. 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 APPLICATION ESSAYS. Some colleges have no supplements.
Honors and Activities. You can list up to 5 honors and 10 activities. Put them in order of your most important honors, activities and jobs. Make sure to express leadership and initiative in the one line provided. Put your positions (all leadership roles) in the short line to the right of the chart. In the description line, you have 100 characters to express what you have accomplished.
You can move activities up and down this year!!!
Preview the page as the Common Application cuts off answers even though you can type them in without getting cut off. This year the application lets you type in around two lines.
If you have more than the allotted number of activities, you can combine some common activities or put extras under additional information.
Essays. Start working on essays now. You have two mandatory pieces to write: a short activity statement and a long essay. The Common Application limits your short activity statement to 1000 characters (including spaces). Ignore its stated limited of 150 words.
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!!!
If you have changed schools or missed school, you need to upload an explanation. If you have been suspended or expelled or arrested, you need to upload an explanation. Colleges are usually forgiving if kids explain what happened and what they learned. They do not like to learn about situations after they have admitted you. Talk with your counselor, if you have questions about what to state.
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 apply to four colleges for free using your SAT/ACT fee waiver. You can also get four more through NACAC. For other colleges, you can contact and see if they will waive your application fees. Ask your counselor for help or us.