Students all over the country have more time than ever to work on their college applications, mainly because most programs in June have been canceled!
Below are suggestions to help you and your student launch the application process.
The Common Application - is referred to as the Common App, and is used to help prospective college students apply to multiple institutions at once. With over 800 members, the Common App is a great place to start the application process. If you have not created your account yet, do so today! COUNSELOR TIP: Create your account using an email that you regularly check!
Writing Tab -The Common App released their writing prompts in early January of 2020. Students choose one prompt to write about in their college application, known as their Personal Statement. The essay prompts for the 2020-2021 Common Application can be found here. If students have not had an opportunity to begin this process, June is a great month to start. COUNSELOR TIP: Write your topic on something that you would be happy to read about in years to come and remember that this statement goes to all the colleges which require a personal statement!
Recommendation Letters - Most universities require at least one recommendation letter, and some suggest up to three! Students will have a recommendation letter from their guidance counselor, as well. These are submitted through the Common App electronically unless your high school instructs you to do something different!
COUNSELOR TIP: Williams Educational suggests that students ask teachers from their junior or senior years who have taught core classes for recommendations. Students want teachers who can write about their classroom strengths. The best letters of recommendation include anecdotes and illustrations of student work quality and classroom ethics. Once students ask teachers for a recommendation, and the teacher agrees, it is helpful for them to send their activity list or resume to the recommender. This allows the recommender(s) to see your accomplishments, interests, and activities throughout your high school career. It is crucial to know that students should not request the letter to be written at this time. Students are only asking if the teacher would consider writing a recommendation in the fall! Students will need to complete the FERPA on the Common App in August of their senior year.
COUNSELOR TIP: FEPRA governs the privacy of student records, which could include your college application. This law gives you, the student, the right to review confidential letters of recommendation provided as part of that Application after you enroll.
As an Independent Educational Counselor, I recommend that "Waiving your right lets colleges know that you do not intend to read your recommendations, which helps reassure colleges (and the recommender) that the letters are candid and truthful."
The Common App Tab - has a section called "Common App," where students need to complete information regarding Profile, Family, Education, Testing, Activities, Writing, Courses and Grades. All Common App schools receive this section. These sections can be completed before the rollover on August 1st. COUNSELOR TIP: Students should complete as much as possible before August 1st because supplemental college essays will be released between August and September. (This means more work!) These supplements are college essays requested explicitly by the individual institution. Updated Writing Supplements can be found after August 1st at this link.
If you manage your time wisely, the Common Application is quite simple! See how much you can complete in June!