Tips for your Students that are completing the Common App

Hechinger Report recently published some good tips for families to use when their children are filling out the Common App. There are all tips that should be useful to you that you can share with your students:

  1. Start early. Beginning this year, your students can create their application in their junior year and roll it over to their senior year. This gives them time to get familiar with the application and to begin their schools list. They can also create a practice application if they just want to explore.
  2. They can contact the Common Application organization directly at They can send an email or live chat Monday-Friday, 3-9 p.m. This is also a great resource for Counselors who might have questions they aren’t able to answer.
  3. Be aware of deadlines. Download the mobile app to help with reminders. Your students should give themselves ample time cushion to submit their application in case they hit technical snags. Don’t submit the application five minutes before midnight on the deadline day!
  4. Less is more. Admissions counselors will be reading thousands of applications. Students should be brief, honest and clear in their answers to questions. Don’t send extra recommendations or materials unless they add something specific to their application.
  5. Don’t try to impress in the essay; be authentic. Don’t just repeat information listed in their transcript; tell the college something special about them that may not be obvious from the rest of the application. Write in their own voice, but have someone else — a teacher or counselor — edit and proofread before submitting.

The main application consists of six main sections — Profile, Family, Education, Testing, Activities, Writing. This year, each section has a video tutorial that gives an overview of questions and possible trouble spots. Required questions are marked with a red asterisk. A green check mark appears when a section is complete.

The article published by the Hechinger Report has additional information on each section with a quick overview of each: Profile, Family, Education, Testing, Activities, Writing and Supplements. Here is a link to it: