When applying for colleges, the Common Application1 a major asset to you. The Common Application is a free application that allows you to apply to multiple partnering colleges/universities without having to reenter information the same information to the schools individually. With access to over 500 schools with one application, you are then permitted the ability to focus on communicating your strengths.
Although the Common Application generally functions as a kind of “master application,” it allows students to upload supplemental documents (supplemental questions, letters of recommendation, writing samples, etc.) for each institution in which you can convey your interest to that school specifically. It is important to ensure these documents are not generic responses and give the impression of genuine aspiration to attend that particular school. Be sure to include the school name within your responses (NOTE: make certain you upload the essay with the correct school name).
See the “Personal Statement” section of the Student Resources page for critical personal statement tips. Feel free to also visit the following here for Princeton Review tips on dissecting the five Common Application prompts that are available. Plan ahead so you will have enough time to ensure you are confident in your answers and it has been thoroughly proofread. Your personal statement will play an essential role in distinguishing your application from the rest of the pool.
In addition to the personal statement, many colleges/universities require you to upload supplemental essays. Supplemental essays vary between institutions and are required in order to assess your genuine interest in that particular institution. Be sure to effectively communicate how good of a fit you will be within that institution. Incorporate research… capitalize on your strengths… adhere to the aforementioned personal statement tips. Although not all colleges/universities require supplemental essays, be sure to not overlook this section because they are crucial to the consideration of your application.
1 The Common Application, https://www.commonapp.org/ (2013).