It’s August, which means the Common Application is now online and ready for a new class of students! In this blog, we will outline the new changes to the Common App for the 2018-2019 year, let you know how to “roll over” your account if you had already started one, and share some basic tips for how to make your Common Application stand out during the admission process.
The great news here is that the changes are minimal! That’s a good thing. The Common Application has been around a long time now, and they have worked hard to make it as user-friendly, inclusive and fair as they can. It’s been years of hearing feedback from students, counselors and colleges and the Common Application has been fair about making important changes. So it’s pretty user-friendly and consistent at this point. Minimal changes means that we all know what to expect and can guide students appropriately.
The one area they did improve is the Courses & Grades section. Since some colleges ask students to self-report their grades, the Common Application added this section last year. This year, it’s clearer to users whether or not their colleges require them to fill this section out. No need to do all the work if it’s not necessary, so that’s helpful!
How to “Roll Over”
At Campus Bound, we encourage our students to start the college process in the junior year, and space out the tasks to make the overall process more manageable. One of the things we often do is have students start working on their Common Application at the end of junior year or over the summer. But the Common App “launches” on August 1 for the class of 2019. Have no fear!! You can easily “roll-over” your account. If you had already created an account, when you login after August 1, there will be a series of simple prompts you need to answer and then, voila, all the previous work you did will come back. The only exceptions to this are college-specific questions, your FERPA release, and any other questions that have changed with the new year. For the most part, all your information will be there and the roll-over process is simple.
How to Make your Common App Stand Out
We could write a whole blog on this, and probably should at some point, but to keep things simple for now, we will cover some basics. Most of the Common Application, or at least the Common App tab, includes questions that are straight-forward and easy to answer (ie. name, birthday, family information, etc), but there are three parts there that can help your application stand out. The Activities Section, the Honors and Award within the Education section, and the Writing Section are all areas where you have some creative control. Students need to give careful consideration to how they respond in these sections. Those are the parts where we work with students closely to strengthen their answers. Additionally, within the tab My Colleges students are sometimes able to upload a resume, or answer some college-specific questions that can make your application stand out. Again, these college-specific essays are things Campus Bound counselors work with students at length on.
Now that it’s August, we highly encourage rising seniors to begin working on their Common Application. It’s one thing you can get done over the summer to make senior year, and applying to colleges in the fall, much easier. Contact us if you think Campus Bound can help.