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What you should Know About the Common App 2014-15 | Part 1 | College Coach Blog

Posted by admin on in College Advice |

describe the image If you’re a rising high school mature, chances are you’ll be using the Common Application to apply to college this year.   An amazing 800, 000 students submitted 3. 45 million applications through the Common App last year, and even more students will probably take the plunge this year. Those of us in the profession know all too well about the major technical snafus the Common App experienced with the discharge of version CA4 in 2013. Paragraph breaks in the main essay weren’t displaying properly, there were serious lag times when trying to print preview the application form, and students were at a loss with regard to how to navigate the self-reported assessment page.

That was the bad news. Now here’s the great news. The 2014-15 Common Application launched on August 1, and so much – everything seems to be going smoothly ! I signed up myself and was able to complete the application form (minus essay writing process) within about an hour. While some of our criticisms of last year’s Common App are still a problem, enough changes to the online application have been made to improve the overall encounter. Read our application tips below with regard to completing the 2014-15 Common Program, and don’t hesitate to post a question below as you work your way through the most popular App!


Common App: Profile Page

The profile section of the application includes basic biographical information, such as your name, deal with, preferred method of contact (home phone or cell phone), etc . So long as you complete every question that shows up next to a red star, it of the application should be quick and easy to finish.


Common App: Family members Page

Household : Whether you live with both parents, one parent, a step-parent, or another legal guardian, the Common App has you covered! On the “Household” tab, you are able to personalize your responses to accurately depict your specific living situation.

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Parent 1 : On the “Parent” dividers, don’t fret if you can’t find an exact match for your parents’ jobs. Simply select the “Other” option, and type in the appropriate title (e. g. “Librarian” or “Financial Analyst. ”) Stay-at-home moms can be listed under the “Homemaker” option.

Sibling : For those of you with siblings, pay careful attention to the “educational level” question.

  • “Some grade/primary school” refers to a sibling who is currently attending elementary or center school.
  • “Completed grade/primary school” is for siblings who completed elementary or middle school, yet (for whatever reason) never enrolled in high school.
  • “Some high/secondary school” describes siblings who are currently high school students.
  • “Graduated from high/secondary school” refers to a cousin who graduated from high school but did not attend college .
  • “Some college/university” is for siblings who are currently participating in a 2- or 4-year college.
  • “Graduated from college/university” describes siblings who earned their own 2- or 4-year college degree.

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Common App: Education Page

Other School: While most students attend only a single high school, be sure that you complete the “Other School” and “Education Interruption” sections if you changed universities at any time during 9-12 grades. Simply by checking the “did or will change supplementary schools” box, you will be required to complete a short essay on the “Writing” web page towards the end of the application to describe this so-called “interruption in your training. ” As an admissions officer, I could see a lot of students leave this essay blank (or simply type in “n/a”), but college officials are truly interested in learning why you switched universities during your high school career. Sometimes a change in schools provides a context for a student’s dip in grades or another anomaly on a student’s transcript.

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Community-Based Organizations : If you participate in a CBO that provides support in order to college-bound students, such as College Horizons, Gear Up, KIPP, or Preparation for Prep, you should complete it. Otherwise, mark “0” and move on to the next question!

College & Universities : College students enrolled in AP courses may be enticed to complete the “College & Universities” tab, but this section is only with regard to students who completed a college course (usually online or on the college campus). Most students will select “0” for this question, and that’s okay!

Levels : Note that there is just a single required question on this tab… “graduating course size. ” Unless you are 100 % clear about your high school rank or cumulative GPA, we suggest that you leave the rest of this section blank. Colleges will be able to learn about your rank (if your high school reports it) and overall GPA on the official School Report.

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Honors : This is how you can list honors or awards such as National Honor Society, Nationwide Merit Scholars, college book club awards, etc . Note that there is room to include five honors/awards. If you need additional space, consider including your remaining achievements over the “Additional Information” section of the “Writing” page.

Stay tuned for the second part of our Common App tips series. Coming up next: strategies for completing the activities page and the creating page, which contains the all-important personal statement.



Elyse Krantz is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions experts . Prior to joining College Coach, Elyse worked in admissions at Barnard College and Bennington College.

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