Common App: Can I submit my application before my recommenders submit their forms?

Common App: Can I submit my application before my recommenders submit their forms?

We get this question a lot, and it’s a good one! Here’s what the Common App has to say:

You are allowed to submit your application before your counselor or teachers submit their school forms whether they choose to do so online or on paper. The Common Application system allows recommendations to be submitted even after the application has been submitted.

Before you submit your application, please follow up with your teachers and counselors to ensure they will be able to complete and submit a recommendation prior to the school’s stated application deadline.

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School Specific Essays and the Impact of Word Limits

School Specific Essays and the Impact of Word Limits

As with the personal statement, there is no set “formula” for writing an effective supplemental essay—and sometimes the best essays are the ones that thoughtfully and creatively break the rules! That said, here is a general overview of how we approach both long and short supps:

  • Action: Open with a gripping hook, e.g. a vivid introductory anecdote, provocative statement, or weird fact. (Long, 1-8 sentences; Short, 1-3 sentences)
  • Backstory: Give the backstory behind your opening; explain how it connects to your life and your interests. (Long, 1-5 sentences; Short, 1-2 sentences)
  • Action Continues/Progress: This is the heart of the essay, and the place where you tell your story as it relates to the prompt. (For both Long and Short essays: This section should constitute the majority of sentences and paragraphs in your essay.)
  • Reflection and Conclusion: Conclude by connecting back to the opening hook and/or by looking to the future. (Long, 2-4 sentences; Short, 1-2 sentences)

As you can see, our approach is the same for both long and short essays. However, long essays allow for an extended introduction with a longer scene or story, additional paragraphs that allow for more depth and detail in the body of the essay, and a comprehensive conclusion. Short essays will have highly condensed introductions and conclusions, as well as fewer body paragraphs and less detail. This is why we strongly advocate writing long essays first: it’s easier to go back and trim detail than it is to add detail to a short essay.

Pro Tip –> “Less is more” doesn’t apply to college admissions essays: all of your essays should be as close to the word limit as possible. If you don’t max out the word count, it can look like you haven’t put in max effort. Being 5-10 words shy of the limit is fine, but only writing 200 words for a 250-word essay can look lazy.

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Calling All Creatives! Completing an Artistic Portfolio & Statement of Purpose This Summer

Calling All Creatives! Completing an Artistic Portfolio & Statement of Purpose This Summer

Justin has spots on his roster for students in grades 9-12 who need help with portfolio positioning and development.

Meet Justin: Justin is a practicing New York-based painter who graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a BA in Art and minors in Asian Humanities and Art History. Studying a wide variety of artistic mediums and histories, Justin has a comprehensive understanding of creative fields. He aims to help students better express themselves both creatively and critically and believes writing to be a fundamental backbone in expression – from one’s own artistic practice to the art of writing a college application essay. After college, Justin worked as a primary foreign consultant for a leading education consulting company, providing professional writing and portfolio guidance. Justin’s students have been granted admission to prestigious universities such as Yale, Columbia, Rhode Island School of Design, University of Southern California, and more.

For students in grades 9-11:

Justin’s work with students who are not yet applying to college begins with a review of the student’s interests and background in the arts and continues through personalized assignments. Included are routine progress check-ups, constructive critiques, and the provision of relevant historical materials. To develop a high-quality portfolio of approximately 10-15 artworks, students will embark on a course of 15 one-hour-long meetings focused on technical proficiency, experimentation with a variety of mediums and practices, and a continued focus or theme. 

For students in grade 12 (rising seniors):

Highly individualized program based on where the student is in the process. Work is on an hourly basis. 

For a more detailed outline of the course or information regarding how we help students draft their artist statement of purpose, please email us or call 609-618-3584. 

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Four Mini Guides to Navigating Your College Search from UPenn!

Four Mini Guides to Navigating Your College Search from UPenn!

Penn Admissions has shared four great informative guides to help students with their college application process—and they are NOT Penn specific (although the samples they provide are)! 

Narrowing Down Your List

Fill out a worksheet for each school on your list while visiting school websites, exploring virtual tours, and attending information sessions. Compare worksheets and see which schools match your must-haves. Download Guide 1

Curriculum & Majors

This second guide will help you narrow down which colleges will be the best fit for you based on academics offered. Use this worksheet to learn more about a school’s curriculum, majors, and learning opportunities. Download Guide 2

Tracking Application Requirements & Deadlines

There’s a lot to keep track of when you’re applying to multiple colleges. Use this worksheet to stay organized and take some of the stress out of the application process. Download Guide 3

Highlighting Your Extracurriculars & Activities

This worksheet will prepare you for the activities section of your college applications. Think of this guide as a way to brainstorm what you’ve been involved in through high school, what your commitment looked like, and how things may have changed in the past year. Download Guide 4

Bonus: Watch this video for even more tips on activities!

Thanks, Penn! Pair this advice with The Complete College Essay Handbook and get ready to apply! 

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Preparing for Interviews? Prep With Us Online!

Preparing for Interviews? Prep With Us Online!

College admissions interviews are a way to demonstrate interest, learn more about the school, and help the school learn more about you.

Colleges are now offering interviews online via various platforms. We are offering interview prep sessions via Zoom and Google Meet this summer and fall. Here’s a sampling of schools offering online interviews:

Babson
Bowdoin
Claremont McKenna
Dickinson
Grinnell
Hamilton
Haverford
Holy Cross
Lafayette
Providence College
Rochester
Skidmore
William & Mary

Some schools with informal online offerings:

Pomona (Zoom session with an AdCom to ask questions)
Richmond (Zoom session with an AdCom to ask questions)

Practice with a parent or friend, or practice with us! Never go to an interview unprepared! Learning how to interview if a skill for life, not just for the college process. Email us if you are interested in learning how to ace your online interview.

Below, you will find some common interview questions.

High School Experience

  1. Tell me a little bit about your high school experience and the courses you are taking currently
  2. Which class has been your least favorite? Why?
  3. Tell me about your favorite class(s) you have taken. Why was it your favorite?
  4. Which classes have been the most difficult (or most challenging)?
  5. What subjects do you plan on studying at [school]?
  6. How have you pursued this interest in school, and outside of school?
  7. What is your dream job?

Extracurricular Activities

  1. What extracurricular activities are you involved in?
  2. When you’re not in class, studying, or doing homework, what do you do with your time (organized activities or things for fun)?
  3. How did you get involved/started with ____ activity?
  4. Which activity is the most meaningful to you, and which one is the most fun?
  5. What extracurricular activities do you hope to continue in college?
  6. If you could only continue taking part in one EC, which one would it be and why?

College Expectations

  1. What type of environment are you looking for in a college/university?
  2. What matters most to you in a college setting?

School Specific

  1. How did you become interested in [school]?
  2. What do you find appealing about [school]?
  3. Why do you think you [school] might be the right fit for you?
  4. Do you know any students at [school]? Have you reached out to them to learn more about [school]?
  5. If you had an opportunity to tell the Admissions Committee anything about yourself, what would it be? What would you want the Admissions Committee to know about you that may not come across on your application?
  6. What have you learned about [school] that seems unusual or surprising?

Miscellaneous

  1. How have you spent your high school summers?
  2. How would your best friend describe you?
  3. How would your teachers describe you?
  4. If you had a year to do anything you want, what would it be and why?
  5. What are you currently reading?
  6. Is there anything we haven’t talked about that you wanted to discuss?

 

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TUTORIAL: COMPLETING THE TESTING SECTION OF THE COMMON APPLICATION

https://vimeo.com/211414847

 

Video number four just posted on filling out the Testing section of the Common Application. If you have specific questions as you watch it/fill out your Common App, feel free to shoot me an email or reach out via the link at the end of the video.

I also suggest joining our new Facebook group, Conquer the Common Application!!! We hope this group becomes a place where students, parents, and counselors can ask questions, share advice, and ultimately, get filling out the Common App right. Not everyone’s Testing section will look the same because not everyone takes the same tests or reports test scores at all, but it can be nice to see a sample. If you join the group, you can also access a PDF of a completed Testing section.

Please share this post with students or that helps students fill out the Common Application. Enjoy!

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Tutorial: Completing the Education Section of the Common Application

This is the third video by Brittany Maschal Consulting in a series of tutorials on the Common Application. In it, I walk watchers through filling out the Education section of the Common Application. If you have specific questions as you watch it/fill out your Common App, feel free to shoot me an email or reach out via the link at the end of the video.

I also suggest joining our new Facebook group, Conquer the Common Application!!! We hope this group becomes a place where students, parents, and counselors can ask questions, share advice, and ultimately, get filling out the Common App right. Not everyone’s Education section will look the same, but it can be nice to see a sample. If you join the group, you can also access a PDF of a fully completed Education section.

Please share this post with students or that helps students fill out the Common Application. Enjoy!

 

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Tutorial: Completing the Family Section of the Common Application

https://vimeo.com/210193589

 

This is the second video by Brittany Maschal Consulting in a series of tutorials on the Common Application! In it, I walk watchers through filling out the Family section of the Common Application. If you have specific questions, feel free to shoot me an email or reach out via the link at the end of the video. I also suggest joining our new Facebook group, Conquer the Common Application. We hope this group becomes a place where students, parents, and counselors can ask questions, share advice, and ultimately, get filling out the Common App right. Not everyone’s Family section will look the same, but it can be nice to see a sample. If you join the group, you can also access a PDF of a fully completed Family section.

Please share this post with students or that helps students fill out the Common Application. Enjoy!

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