Mastering the Common App
Over 800 colleges use the Common Application, so it is a website you will likely become very familiar with during your senior year of high school. When you make your account, you might get the impression that your applications will be taken care of with a quick click. However, there is far more to the common app than just a Standing out amidst a sea of other applicants to your top schools can, understandably, seem like a daunting task, but there are a number of methods available to you that can make you a more appealing candidate.
First of all, one of the things you will have to do for your application is the activity list. While you may initially want to list out as many things as possible, the best way to go about this section is to select the activities where you truly thrived and explain your role in them. If you were in the marching band, don’t just list the instrument you played and how long you were there – explain how you contributed to the band. Maybe you brought snacks for the members of your section, maybe you led music rehearsals. You need to show that you are someone who doesn’t just participate but truly brings something special to the table.
Another way to create a more lasting impression in your application is through the additional information section. This part of the application allows you to provide some context for the admissions officer reading it by explaining extenuating circumstances and the choices you made over the course of your secondary education. It also will help highlight factors that may not have fit in your application.
The ultimate purpose of the Common App is to streamline the application process; It exists so that you can submit several applications in a short amount of time. While it is important to stand out to your top choices, you also need to make sure you are casting a wide net in order to find a place that is right for you, whether it be financially, academically, or culturally. I hope you are able to send out an application that truly shows who you are to as many schools as possible. Good luck.
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