The common application was revamped in anticipation of the 2013-2014 college admissions process. Being familiar with the common application with help you start to visualize your application package.
The new version of the common application was released on August 1st, 2013 and can be accessed via this link. There are several components of the common application that you can complete in advance: personal background, parent history school information, etc. It’s definitely smart to finish off those sections of the application before school resumes. It will be one less task to complete when the pressure’s on.
How has the common application changed and how does it impact me?
1. Some changes are making it easier to manage the writing and submission process.
Creators of the common application have added a copy and paste option, rather than just an upload option. Now, students can copy and paste the essay directly into the form, then make any stylistic edits using the embedded editor.
2. New prompts are broadening your options.
Previously, the common application included several essays prompts and a “topic of your choosing”. With the introduction of several new prompts, there is more wiggle room to write about something that really represents who you are.
3. Word count limits are higher than before.
There is now range of 200 – 650 words for your essay’s word count. The 650-word limit is heavily enforced. You will be cut off at that point (i.e. the text box won’t accept more characters). Choose your words wisely for concision and impact.
4. The activities essay is gone!
No more writing about your activities and extracurriculars. The choice to include this type of prompt is left to the college itself. Double check because this can be a very powerful part of your application!
5. Phew! You now have more control over who sees your score reports.
The Common App asks for self-reported scores, and most schools require score reports to be sent directly from the College Board.The good news is that you can now be choosier about posting your scores. For example, you can send certain scores and withhold others, depending on the specific college’s requirements.