August 1: An Important Day for Seniors

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The Common Application is a platform used by over one million students.

Sasha Legagneur, Editor-in-Chief

“College Applications”- a phrase that sends a chill down a student’s spine. Applying for college is not easy; some even compare this process to taking an advanced level course. This comparison is not to scare applicants, but to encourage them to carefully plan when they are going to complete applications. This is especially true for students who are applying to multiple colleges, and this is where the Common App plays its role.The Common Application is a platform which allows students to apply to multiple colleges in a simpler manner. As opposed to filling out separate applications for each school, students input information related to their demographics, extracurriculars, education, test scores, family, and more, on one platform. Although the Common App is definitely a time saver, students still have difficulty navigating it. For more information on how to use the Common Application, visit commonapp.org/apply, ask students who have used the platform, or watch videos on how to do specific tasks in the application. For now, we are simply going to explore the different components of the Common Application. 

Before we dive any further, it must be noted that not every college accepts the Common Application. It is crucial that students are constantly checking the university’s personal website for updates and information on how to apply. Some schools have their own personal application for students to complete. Furthermore, some schools also accept the Coalition Application, another platform which students can apply on. Nearly 900 schools accept the Common Application, one of the reasons it is so popular among students. Make sure you complete research on your school before applying so you do not waste time or miss a deadline!

For seniors in the class of 2021 , the Common Application opens August 1, 2020. It can be accessed on commonapp.org/apply . The actual Common Application section can be accessed under the tab Common App. This is where students fill out the information that is sent to every college they apply to . Students will find space to discuss their extracurricular activities( up to 10 activities are allowed) , answer questions about their demographics, family background, and education, and upload their personal essay. As a result of the pandemic, there will also be a section where students can discuss how COVID-19 has impacted them.

Under the tab Financial Aid Resources, students can access the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FASFA. Students may also confront questions on whether they wish to pursue financial aid or not. 

The Common Application is where colleges make their applications available to students. Along with the personal information that the Common App requires, each college has their own questions for applicants. In order to access each school’s respective application, students must click on the College Search tab, search colleges, and add them to their list. By clicking on the My Colleges tab or Dashboard, students can fill out the individual application for each college on their list. Students may be asked questions concerning personal information and any supplemental essays the school might require. Students also have the ability to invite teachers to upload their letters of recommendation. 

Many students would say that the most difficult part of the application is the Personal Statement. The purpose of the essay is for students to have the ability to share something about themselves that numbers cannot report. The prompts for 2020-2021 applicants are the same as those for the 2019-2020 applicants; they can be accessed under the Common App tab.

The Common Application provides a simpler, more organized framework for prospective students. This being said, it is the student’s responsibility to keep track of the deadlines and requirements for each school he or she is applying to. To my fellow seniors, brace yourselves- particularly with the current situation we are in, it is going to take hard work and dedication to get these applications done. Start as early as you can and manage your time wisely. When it is all over and you look back at the energy you’ve poured in the last four years, it will all be worth it.