College Admissions Application Tips

by College Advisor of New York on July 31, 2019

Welcome to August!  As of today (August 1, 2019), the Common Application is open for students applying to start school in fall 2020.  The Common Application is an important tool offered by more than 800 colleges across the country.  However, please note that not every school accepts this application.  There are some schools that  use The Coalition Application or have their own school specific application that must be completed.

As students work to complete the Common Application, there are several places where students seem to stumble.  We compiled a list of ten tips to help as students start exploring their own application this month.  Take a look!

1 – Login/E-mail Address 

Make sure to choose an e-mail address that is appropriate (first initial, last name, etc.) and can receive e-mails from the Common Application and college admission offices.  Some high school e-mail addresses will not accept e-mails from outside sources.  Double check!  In addition, if your school uses the Naviance software, you need to make sure you enter the proper email address in the Common App.

2 – Family

In the citizenship section, be sure to list your social security number if you are planning to apply for federal student aid.  Your social security number is used to match your application with your financial documents.  If you are NOT applying for aid, you can leave this blank.

3 – Education/Colleges/Universities

This is tricky because many students HAVE taken college classes through their high school.  However, those classes WILL be listed on the high school transcript.  ONLY list a college in this section if the student has taken a course outside of their normal high school curriculum, such as through a summer program.

4 – Education/Grades

Make sure that these numbers match the high school transcript for GPA and rank!

5 – Education/Honors

These spaces should be used to list ACADEMIC honors only.  Recognitions such as National Honor Society, Student of the Month, Honor Roll, etc. go in this area.

6 – Testing

This can be a little tricky and should be approached carefully with your college coach.  Only above average test scores should be listed in this section (including SAT, ACT, SAT 2 or AP exam scores).  However, ALL scores MUST  be sent directly from the testing company to the college admissions office. For SATs and Subject Tests: www.collegeboard.org and ACTs: www.actstudent.org. If you have any questions about what scores to send, PLEASE ask before doing so.

7 – Activities

A place for the student to shine!  List all of the activities from grades 9 – 12 including part-time jobs and family commitments (if applicable).  Be sure to provide a reasonable estimate for hours spent and participation dates.  The order of these activities is important as the first three spaces should be used for activities where the student spends the most time.  In some cases, these three spots may be the only ones carefully reviewed by the admissions office (see your college coach for more details).

8 – Writing/Personal Essay

Be sure that this is spaced/formatted correctly after it is copied/pasted from the original source.  Save then double check!

9 – Writing/Additional Information

Not all students need to complete this section.  However, if there is something that dramatically impacted the high school transcript, it can be explained here.  Try to be brief, give the facts and explain what was done to improve/correct the situation.  Your college coach can also help with this!

10 – Courses/Grades

This area is only required by certain schools.  After the colleges are added to the application, it will be clear if this section should be completed.  If you have questions about this section, please ask your admissions coach!             

At The College Advisor of New York, our students have access to our Application Clinic, which takes place at our office during the month of August.  During these workshops, our expert staff members walk through the application step by step as our students work on their own application at the same time.  Later, after the student  completes the application, it is carefully reviewed and revised by their admissions coach.

If your student is looking for application assistance, we can help!  Our coaches are glad to help new clients work through just the application and essay sections of their application as they approach senior year.  Give us a call at 518-512-3021 or Click Here to schedule an appointment!

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