Surviving the Common App: 7 moves every senior needs to know

seven steps imageIf you are a senior and thinking about applying to college this year, your version of the Common App was just released on August 1st, so it’s time to get started now! Created by a consortium of diverse high school counselors and college admission officers, the Common Application (aka “Common App”) is used by over 500 US colleges and serves as the foundation of US college admissions. For some students, the Common App may seem long and overly complicated at first. But with the right information and approach you can be complete it successfully.

At Story2 we’re here to help you use the Common App to reveal your academic and extracurricular accomplishments, as well as your unique character. The essays are the part of the Common App students struggle with most, but also where the biggest rewards are won. Show admissions officers who you really are–beyond grades and test scores–and you’ll stand out from thousands of similar students in the admissions process.

Here are 7 steps to manage your Common Application process and succeed in the goal of college admissions and college success:

1.    Take time to get to know the Common Application: It’s free to start an account, so sign up as soon as possible.

2.    It pays to get organized: The college admissions and scholarship process includes  many different tasks, frequently due on different dates–including things you need to get from other people. You can get organized now with Story2’s College Essay Planner.

3.    Remember that the forms take time: The Common App includes factual information, including your parents’ education and financial information that may take some time to track down. Get started now, and give yourself plenty of time.

4.    Slow down to make the most of the Achievements section: This is one of the places where the Common Application allows you to reveal more than just facts. Include specific details about each activity to show what you’ve actually done.

5.    Tell your Story in your Personal Essay:  After grades and test scores, essays are the most important part of your application. The essays reveal your unique character, so take the time to reflect on stories only you can tell. The Story2 EssayBuilder teaches you how, step by step.

6.    The Supplements are serious: You want to use each supplement essay–to each college–to share new information. Make sure you answer the specific type of question asked by each college, and research the college so you know what matters to them.

7.    Take on Special Situations directly: Discuss with your guidance counselor how to use the Additional Information essay and the required essay about Discipline to address unique circumstances in your background.

One more tip: You need to organize recommendation letters from 1-3 teachers, and your college counselor writes a report about you too. But they are also great sources of advice during this stressful time. Have questions about college applications–or college? Ask your teachers and college counselors for help.

95% of the students we’ve worked with say that Story2 increased their ability to master college admission essays and their writing confidence. And it’s free for College Week Live students. So, it’s easy and painless to get started.