Welcome back! For those of you who have already started the process of completing your Common App, I hope you’re not encountering a lot of difficulties. Just think, in a few months, your own college application will be finished and in the hands of dedicated admissions officials who will be hard at work, crafting the Class of 2019! But for now, let’s get back to the nut products and bolts of completing your own Common App.
Typical App: Testing Page
Tests Taken : We all received so many questions from students concerning this section of the application last year. College students who were planning on utilizing Score Choice were reluctant to complete this section as they were worried it might “look bad” if this was left it blank. Additional students wanted to report just TAKE ACTION scores (and not SAT scores), but were concerned colleges might accuse them of not honestly answering the question. If you read the instructions carefully, you’ll note that the Common App instructs students to “indicate every tests you wish to report. ” Which means that students who want to self-report some test scores (and omit others) are ethically allowed to do so. While leaving the entire “Tests Taken” section blank is a perfectly acceptable option (and one particular I often encourage my students to do), rest assured that you can pick and choose to self-report whichever tests scores are the best for you. If you’ve taken the SATs twice, for example , and you wish to report the Critical Reading rating from the May test, and the Mathematics and Writing scores from the June test, this is easy to do. Simply keep in mind that if you’ve taken the SAT four times, you do technically need to disclose that when the Common App asks, “Number of times you have already used the SAT. ”
Common App: Activities Page
There is certainly room to list 10 extracurricular activities on this page of the app, and we recommend that you try and total this section as fully as possible. When you don’t need to list all ten activities to stand out, including just a few can give the impression that you weren’t very involved in high school (and, simply by extension, you may not be very associated with college). One quick tip: make sure to list the name of the activity/club/organization you’re involved in on the “Position/Leadership description” series. As an admissions officer, I remember viewing students type in “Vice President, ” but I’d have no idea what club they were VP of!
Common App: Writing Page
Personal Essay : The tech gurus over at the Common App heard our pleas! All of last year’s formatting issues seem to be gone. College students can now indent their paragraphs (using the spacebar, not the tabs key) and format text with italics, bold font, and underlines at will. The word count feature seems to be working properly, too, so there’s no need to hyperventilate about disappearing textual content!
For suggestions on choosing the best essay topic for your Common App, take a look at our post on the College Coach weblog.
Congrats! You’re within the final stretch. All that remains are usually school-specific supplements. Sounds manageable, right? Stay tuned to learn about a little secret we discovered regarding supplemental works. You’re not going to want to miss this particular!
For all those of our Common App 2014-15 guidelines, be sure to check out the rest of the posts on this series:
Elyse Krantz is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions professionals . Prior to becoming a member of College Coach, Elyse worked within admissions at Barnard College plus Bennington College.