- Set aside an ample amount of time for this application! You should never plan on doing the common app in one sitting. You need to take time to correctly input all of your information. To be on the safe side, you should also have someone else read it over. Work on this application in sections, hit 'save' and go back another day to complete. Proofread on a different day. It is never a good idea to press 'send' at 3am, after working on it for hours, with a Redbull and M&M's in hand because undoubtedly you will have a mistake somewhere on the app and once it is sent, it becomes an arduous task to correct a mishap.
- Make sure the name you use on the application is the same name and exact spelling that is on your legal documents, such as your Social Security Card and eventual diploma (because this will match your transcript). Also, be sure your school has all your updated personal info (address, date of birth, etc.) because it ensures that your common application will link to the school portion of the application (letters of rec, transcript, and school profile) easily and successfully.
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- To date the common app has five essay prompts. Read them ahead of time (perhaps as a junior) and begin to formulate the best essay in your head. Over the course of junior year and the summer of heading into senior year, perfect your essay. Keep in mind the current word count (650 word cap). The 2019-2020 essay prompts can be found here: https://www.commonapp.org/blog/2019-2020-common-app-essay-prompts
- When you are transferring your work onto the Common App (such as your essay) be sure that whatever information you copy and paste fits into its designated area. If you do this too quickly and carelessly, you may not even realize that all of your information hasn't successfully transferred onto the common app, leaving your application less than desirable to the admissions officers. However, you would never know it and would probably just hit 'send' anyway. Colleges will not look at this application fondly.
- Sometimes after you press 'send' and breathe that sigh of relief, you actually aren't done. After completing the common app, reach out to the various colleges to which you have applied and ask if there is a supplemental application that you still need to complete. Many colleges that use common app have a supplemental portion that needs to be done in order for your application to be considered complete. You will never be reviewed by the admissions counselor if a supplemental is needed at this time.
Take your time with app. Do NOT rush through it and always proofread the entire app before submitting.