August 23, 2018 9:47 am Common Application 2018-2019 Launched!
By Admissions Expert, Dr. Paul Lowe
The Common Application 2018-2019 was launched about three weeks ago and we are now receiving calls from very anxious and stressed parents because their children (rising seniors) just started the preliminary portions of the Common Application.
The Common App is more than just about the main essay! Every section is devised so that the admissions officers get to know (or find ways to reject) a student. Statistically, it takes top colleges approximately 8 minutes to review an entire application!
We spend countless hours reviewing our clients’ entire Common Application to help them successfully navigate and avoid the unnecessary and devastating landmines that cause rejections!
Biographical Section (Profile, Family, Educational & Testing): The admissions committees or your regional admissions officers assess who you are. It’s important to answer the questions honestly and with precision!
Personal Statement: We ensure that our clients’ Common App’s 650-word main essay accurately and meaningfully reflects the information that they want to convey to the majority of colleges to which they are applying.
College-Specific Questions: Academic interest, program(s) applying to. Some colleges may also ask additional questions about your family, state of residence, activities, and general interests. Admissions officers/committees use this as a way further understand a student’s past and their academic goals and objectives and how they are all interrelated and interconnected.
Short Answers: Then there are the school-specific (short answer essays)! Although short, these little essays (50-250 words) play a meaningful role in your application. They provide a small window into your passions and personality, and because of this, they are important “decision-breakers”, especially with selective colleges that use the holistic admissions approach. We spend just as much time brainstorming and helping our clients to revise these, seemingly simple essays, as we do with their personal statements because we know how admissions committees use them to determine acceptance or rejections. Types of supplemental short essays include but are not limited to:
- The ‘why us’ essay
- Tell us more about an extracurricular
- Design a class/a major
- Tell us about your major
- Diversity-in-community essay
- Specialty small essays (list, words or one sentence or a phrase)
Activities Section: Whereas the personal statement will show college admissions committees who your child is, the Common Application Activities section will allow colleges to understand what your child has done and is doing outside of the classroom, offering one of the best opportunities to stand out among other applicants. The activities section has a limit of ten extracurricular activities. The restrictions mean you will need to be selective in reporting your activities, limiting you to the most important ones or those that are most meaningful to you. In our experience, students can make costly mistakes in this section!
Without college essays and extracurricular activities lists, colleges would be limited to grades, class rank, and ACT and SAT scores to make their admissions decisions. Given that so many students with strong numbers apply to colleges each year, it’s important for your child to use the Activities section to develop an application theme, that is, their “WOW FACTOR” and specialties. We leave no stone unturned in this section!
Courses & Grades (Self-Reporting Transcripts). In this section, you have an opportunity to self-report your grades. In reviewing our clients’ answers, we find errors. It’s important to review this section. A discrepancy with what you report and your transcript raises a red flag! A flags translates into a rejection letter.
The Common Application is not just an application. It’s a puzzle filled with landmines that if not reviewed, interpreted and completed correctly will result in students being rejected from schools. When assisting our clients with the completion of their Common Applications, we take into consideration their student admissions profile and character as well as the specific admissions policies and missions of their target schools that we gather from our research by visiting schools and professional relationships. Our wealth of insider-knowledge helps our clients to WIN (not lose) in the competitive college admissions game!
“Admissions is a competitive sport! Why gamble with uncertainty?” – Dr. Paul Lowe
Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Greenwich Admissions Advisors. Tel. (203) 542-7288, and founder of Ivy League Admissions Advisors a part of the Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group network.
Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for families and students who are interested in applying to top private schools, Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs. Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been wait-listed and rejected. Dr. Lowe and his Greenwich Admissions Advisors team provide house-calls for families with extremely busy schedules who can’t come to their office.