This is an excellent workshop allowing rising seniors to get their essays completed early in the application process. This will make the college application process go much more smoothly. It is best to do much of the application work during the summer before senior year. Click here for more information: College Essay Workshop
The Common Application (commonapp.org) is live! This allows students applying to college to fill out one application for multiple schools. The majority of colleges that use the Common Application are private schools, although a number of public colleges and universities have signed on in recent years.
August is a great time to get a lot of application work done. Once school starts, you will have homework and extracurricular activities on your schedule as well. Applications take more time than you expect and colleges can tell if you threw yours together at the last minute. I like to say that applying to college is like adding an AP or advanced course to your senior year schedule.
Take the time now to fill out demographic information (your name address, etc), and start writing some essay drafts. Many students think they can just think about an essay and it will magically come together. I have found that sitting down and writing out many of your ideas will result in essays that are more cohesive.
Also, it takes time to remember all of your activities and to describe them meaningfully in the small amount of text space provided on the application.
If you are applying to state colleges and universities, make sure you are filling out applications for the year 2015-16. Some universities do not have their application available until September. If it is not clear, please call and ask them. It's no fun to fill out the application twice.
If your family earns a lower income or if you are on the free or reduced price lunch program, talk to your school counselor about fee waivers. Fee waivers allow you to apply to colleges without paying the application fees now. Some colleges defer the fees and take them out of your financial aid award when you arrive on campus. Most counselors will be back in the office at the end of August, but will be swamped the first few weeks enrolling new students and working on schedules. Be patient!
Good luck! Enjoy August!
The New York Times is looking for college essays written about money. If they publish yours, they will pay you their regular free-lance rate.
Here's the link: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/20/your-money/applying-for-college-writing-about-money.html?_r=0
Here's the article describing the essays they picked to publish last year:
Here is a great link that begins to show you how EXTREMELY important your supplemental essays are on the common application. Research your colleges well. What unique or rare characteristics do your colleges have that make you want to attend? Are there specific classes or combinations of classes you want to take? Is there a professor with whom you want to do research? Is the school structured in a way that matches your style? These essays are arguable the most critical part of your application. They will not admit you because you think the school has a great reputation or because it is located in a sunny climate. Read more in this Patrick O"Connor essay.
The new Common Application launched today. Apparently, they are experiencing some technical problems. Give them a few days to fix the glitches and keep working on your essays. You can also work on researching your colleges. I recommend keeping a page of notes on each college, including the URL for all the pages where you found information. Sometimes it's hard to re-find information on a website when you go back to it. Don't worry! Everything will work out beautifully. Do what you can do.
Clackamas Community College is offering a free creative writing workshop on Saturday, June 1, 2013. Register soon. This is a great opportunity to improve your writing skills. Trust me: everyone needs to learn new writing techniques. This is a low-stress event (no grade), but attending indicates to colleges that you are interested in taking the initiative to grow and learn. You can use your new information for improving your college application essays, not to mention improving your work i
The Common Application is the most used application in applying to private colleges (and now a few public universities). Please do not use the fast applications that some colleges will send you. If they have offered the fast app to you as a free option, they also have to let you submit the Common Application (CA) without any cost to you. Ask the college admissions representative at that particular college how you can do that or write to me and I will give you the information. The fast apps shortchange your application and could affect your admission qualifications or the amount of scholarships you may be offered. The CA goes live on August 1 each year for the upcoming application season, but you can begin working on your essays before then. The new prompts are outlined below. Remember, applying to college is like adding another AP or IB course to your schedule. Get as much done in the summer as possible! Don't forget to check each college's website for early scholarship application deadlines. If you do not apply by these deadlines, you will not be offered any scholarships. Not all schools have early deadlines, but you don't want to miss those that do. Here are the new essay questions. You should write around 500 words, but no more than 650 words and no fewer than 250 will be accepted.
Here's the official link to this page on the common application website.
Kathy Garrett has been a school counselor for over 30 years, and a college counselor for well over a decade.