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By Elizabeth LaScala

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About this blog: I post articles to offer timely and substantive college admission guidance on important topics and issues. Originally from New York, I have a B.S. from Hunter College in NYC and advanced professional degrees from the University of...  (More)

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Jump Start The College Application

Uploaded: Jul 15, 2013
The Common Application is used by 488 member colleges to streamline the college application process. These colleges represent 46 US states and the District of Columbia, making it the most commonly used college application in the country. The Common Application's major advantage is it saves students time by auto filling basic information such as listing extracurricular activities and high school coursework each time you begin a new college application. Use of the Common Application is free to students, but students must pay each college's separate application fee.

The 2013-14 Common Application is set to launch on August 1st, 2013. The application and the member colleges' admission requirements will be released on line. A student who wants a head start in the summer can fill in all of the data on The Common Application as soon as it goes on line, as well as select and write the main essay. The application prompts (questions) were revised this for this cycle and students must select and write an essay based on one of the following five options:

1. Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

2. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?

3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

4. Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there and why is it meaningful to you?

5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

The word limit for the essay is 650 words and the limit will be strictly enforced.

Although The Common Application streamlines the process of applying to colleges in many ways, it is important to keep in mind that most colleges require supplemental information. These supplements are institution-specific and take the form of short answer questions and/or one or more additional essays. Supplements are typically not optional and your application is considered incomplete without them.

Elizabeth LaScala Ph.D. guides college, transfer and graduate school applicants through the complex world of admissions. She develops best match college lists, offers personalized interview and essay coaching, and tools and strategies to help students tackle each step of the admissions process with confidence and success. Elizabeth helps students from all backgrounds to maximize merit and financial aid awards. Visit www.doingcollege.com; Call (925) 891-4491 or email at elizabeth@doingcollege.com

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