What is the Common Application?
The Common Application has transformed applying to college. Just one application can be sent to multiple colleges. But is it really that simple? The answer is a qualified "yes," once you know how it works. The Common Application is an online college application used by over 500 colleges. You complete the application once and send it to any participating college. You can also modify parts of the application for different colleges.
For more information, click the link here.
For the actual Common App website, click here.
Ask the Experts: Application EssayHow much of an impact can admissions essays actually make? I've read that "most of them are boring and don't really help or hurt the applicant." is this true? - Susi
Essays can be an essential element of an admissions application at selective colleges. Selective colleges are those that have more qualified applicants than they can admit. So, if you are one of a large number of qualified candidates who make it through the initial review process based on your test scores, courses, grades, and so on, the essays can provide the personal window into who you are and what you would add to the college's community. Some institutions even read the essays first, before looking at your other qualifications, to see if the essays reveal important personal qualities or circumstances that could help them interpret your "numbers," activities, recommendation letters, etc.
The folks at Peterson's believe that it is true that most essays serve to confirm what else is in an applicant's file. Some essays are truly atrocious and could hurt your chances. Such essays might be very poorly written, angry, bitter, depressing, etc. Some essays are so well written and interesting that they can very much help your odds. So, pay attention to all those written components of your applications. They can serve you well, and, at a minimum, they should do no harm.