The Foreign Service Journal - December 2013 - page 58

Their updates were well-intended, but
instead of making things simpler and
more streamlined, they have actually
created a process that is even more com-
plicated and frustrating for students,
parents, counselors and colleges.”
As of this writing, the Help Center
on the Common App website and the
CA’s Facebook page give updates on the
status of repair work.
Tips on the New Essay Prompts
Although there are revisions through-
out the Common App, it’s the Writing sec-
tion that showcases the biggest changes—
and gives students the best opportunity to
control the process. Here are some tips on
how to proceed.
First, do not compose your essay on the
application screen itself—there have been
toomany cautionary tales of essays being
garbled or lost. If you’ve composed it in
Word, some experts suggest pasting it into
low-format software such as Notepad (Win-
dows) or TextEdit (Mac) and then pasting it
onto the online application, as word counts
can vary depending on software. Only
paste in your essay when it’s completely
revised and ready to go, of course.
Now, let’s go through the five new
essay prompts, one by one:
Some students have a background
or story that is so central to their identity
that they believe their application would
be incomplete without it. If this sounds like
you, then please share your story
If you grew up in the Foreign Service,
your experiences are likely unusual
compared to those of other applicants.
You can speak in general about growing
up as a “diplomat’s kid,” or you can home
The Help Center on the Common App
Web site and the CA’s Facebook page
give updates on what has been fixed,
and what is still being worked on.
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