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Bradshaw: Common Application process gets started soon

Gerald Bradshaw

Gerald Bradshaw

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Updated: August 27, 2013 6:23AM



We are two-thirds of the way through summer and high school seniors need to be alerted to the fact that the Common Application process for admission to college next fall (2014-2015) opens on Aug. 1.

Four hundred and eighty-eight colleges and universities use the Common Application, as well as schools in France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

You need to decide whether to apply for early admissions (EA) or regular admissions. EA has November deadlines and regular admission is in January. I suggest students start preparing the groundwork for completing their applications now.

First of all, check the websites of the colleges and universities that interest you to determine what application they use. For example, Purdue University uses the Common Application for incoming freshmen, but use their own application for transfer students. Indiana University does not participate in the Common Application process.

The Common Application has several pages to complete, in addition to Supplemental Applications that participant colleges require. To help speed things up fill out the basic information before school starts this fall.

This will allow you time to start writing your essays. This is the most important part of the college application process and it requires that your essays not only be written well but be interesting to read. Describe the world you come from — perhaps using your family, community or school as examples — then say how your world has shaped your dreams and aspirations.

The Common Application has two required essays with the option of a third that all colleges will receive. The Supplemental Applications will require more essays depending how many you apply to. Expect to write 30 to 60 essays if you apply to 10 to 12 colleges.

When school starts you should contact teachers who are familiar with your academic and extracurricular work and ask them for personal recommendations. You will need to have transcripts listing all of all of the courses you have taken.

You will also need to have your ACT and SAT scores as well as any Advanced Placement, and/or International Baccalaureate exam scores.

As soon as you submit your Common Application, you will receive an email confirming it has been filed successfully. The earlier that you start the process the easier it will be to get through the fall semester of your senior year without the stress of meeting application and essay deadlines.



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