The Foreign Service Journal - December 2013 - page 53

THE FOREIGN SERVICE JOURNAL
|
DECEMBER 2013
53
T
he Common Application, or “Common App” (
,
was designed 35 years ago by a group of 15 colleges as a way to stream-
line the American college application process. Since then, it has grown
steadily in popularity each year, and more than 520 member institutions
now utilize the application. A tool like the Common App makes sense:
applications to colleges have increased exponentially in the past decade;
today most high school seniors apply to seven or more schools.
The new Common App includes the following sections, each of which can be filled out
online and saved until the application is complete:
Essay
(250-650 words in answer to
one of five questions, or “prompts”)
Explanations
(a way to explain
disciplinary actions, criminal activity or
interruption of education)
Additional Information
(optional,
where you can provide information not
covered in the rest of the application)
College Page One
(general informa-
tion needed by the colleges you are apply-
THE REVISED
COMMON APP
Here is a timely guide that will help you make the most of the
Revised Common Application and its new essay prompts.
BY FRANCESCA KE L LY
Francesca Kelly, a Foreign Service spouse, is a writer and college essay application tutor. She
writes frequently on education issues, and is a former editor of
AFSA News.
ing to. There will be one of these pages for
each of your colleges.)
College Page Two
(an additional
writing supplement if required by your
selected colleges)
Although the Common App has been
offered online since 1996, until this year it
was also available in paper form for those
who eschewed the online process. But the
current (2013–2014) application season
marks the start of a paperless, completely
Web-based process.
With this change have come a number
of other changes to the application. Of
these, the most important are in the
newWriting section, including revised
prompts and a more generous length.
That’s the good news. Unfortunately,
the new Common App is also full of
glitches—some merely inconvenient, oth-
ers serious enough that dozens of schools
have pushed back their application dead-
lines. More about those later.
EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT
Profile
(contacts, demographics,
geography)
Family
(household, parent/guardian,
siblings)
Education
(current school, history,
academics)
Testing
(results of college entrance
and other exams)
Activities
(10 slots maximum, a new
limitation)
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