Updated: Dec 14, 2021
The Common App officially opens on August 1, which means students are just days away from being able to start filling out their college applications in preparation for early decision and early action deadlines in the fall (typically on or around November 1). While the college application process can feel daunting, it’s smart to get ahead of it so when your senior year starts, you can focus on school and extracurriculars, knowing the bulk of your college application is ready to go.
Here are some things you can do to get ready for the Common App to open August 1:
1. Identify what makes you most unique. In our work with students, we do that by creating key messages, which are themes or statements about their unique qualities and accomplishments, and how those will be an asset to their dream college. Use our free worksheet to identify your key messages.
2. Just log in. Once the Common App opens, set a timer for 15 minutes and create an account. Fill out the easy details about yourself that don’t require much thinking. That simple action is easy to do but serves an important purpose – it means you’ve started your college application. It no longer has to be something you’re putting off or that’s weighing on your mind, and it will be easier to come back to it later to tackle the harder stuff.
3. Apply your key messages to essay prompts. You’ll need to respond to one of the Common App’s essay prompts, which are available now to view. Think about which prompt allows you to showcase one or more of your key messages, since you’ve already determined the best information to highlight about yourself by creating those key messages in the first place. Then, start putting “pen to paper” to apply those key messages to the essay prompt, adding more details as needed. Here again, you don’t have to do it all in one sitting – set a timer for 15 or 30 minutes and just get started.
By getting a jump start on the Common App before your senior year starts, you’ll feel in control and more confident about the entire college application process. Need some help to get started or make sure your key messages are just right? MN College Essay Coach is here to help with 1:1 coaching or our online, self-paced course. Click here to schedule a free intro call.