Advice for Juniors, Applications

Common Application Kick-Off for Juniors

Campus Bound counselors always try to stay two (or 20) steps ahead of our students and families. So, while most of our clients are still winding down with school work, which should absolutely still be the priority right now, we are focused on what can happen as soon as school is done. And that means getting started on the Common Application.

But First….

And we do mean this, immediately after school is done, please take some time for self-care. This might be a family trip to a (non-crowded) beach, a hike in the mountains, Facetiming with friends, going for a run, or reading a book for enjoyment… anything that will make you feel good. It’s been a really rough start to 2020 and everyone is feeling the pressure. It may seem like you’ve been home doing nothing for the past few months, but you have still been engaged in school work, and adapting to a whole new way of learning. So, when the weight of junior year is off your shoulders, take some time for you!

Common Application 2020

As a refresher, refer to this previous blog post, Common App 101, which has great basic information about what the Common Application is and how to use it. For the most part, the Common App won’t be changing significantly this year (as of now). However, the application would be remiss if it didn’t offer students and counselors an ability to address the way Covid-19 impacted the year. There will be two places to do this:

  1. Optional Copid-19 Essay Question for Students:

Common Application has added a space for students to write about how Covid-19 has impacted them, and the essay is optional. Here is how the question will be phrased, according to the Common Application website:

Community disruptions such as COVID-19 and natural disasters can have deep and long-lasting impacts. If you need it, this space is yours to describe those impacts. Colleges care about the effects on your health and well-being, safety, family circumstances, future plans, and education, including access to reliable technology and quiet study spaces. 

  • Do you wish to share anything on this topic? Y/N
  • Please use this space to describe how these events have impacted you.

The question will be optional and will appear in the Additional Information section of the application.The response length will be limited to 250 words.

The important thing to note here is that this question is optional. Your Campus Bound counselor can help you decide if it would be in your best interest to fill this section out.

2. Counselor Response on School Report Form

School counselors will also have the ability to communicate to colleges how Covid-19 impacted their school, and therefore, their students in significant ways that might impact the college admission process. Here is how it is currently phrased on the Common App website:

Your school may have made adjustments due to community disruptions such as COVID–19 or natural disasters. If you have not already addressed those changes in your uploaded school profile or elsewhere, you can elaborate here. Colleges are especially interested in understanding changes to: 

  • Grading scales and policies
  • Graduation requirements
  • Instructional methods
  • Schedules and course offerings
  • Testing requirements
  • Your academic calendar
  • Other extenuating circumstances

Your students will have a similar space in their application to share how these events have affected them personally.

Then Get Started

Make an Account: It’s not difficult, but it can be a little time-consuming, so why not take it off your plate during the summer so it’s not weighing on your shoulders come fall? Just log on to Commonapp.org and on the homepage, click the blue button: Apply Now. Your account might take 30-45 minutes to set up, since it will ask questions about your name, address, high school, etc. There are some questions you can skip and come back to later; no need to fill out the entire thing in the first sitting, but spell your name correctly and enter the email you want to use during the entire process (preferably a personal email, rather than a school one, if available). The Common Application is more time consuming than difficult, and it’s easier for your Campus Bound counselor to suggest edits after you’ve filled it out, rather than sit beside you while you do it. We know you can!

Start your Essay: Campus Bound counselors feel that, for most students, the summer months are a great time to get a jump start on the fall rush. A really great place to start is with the essay. We find that our students who get their college essay done, or mostly done, over the summer, are significantly less stressed come fall. So that is one big way to get a tackle on the Common App.

Let us know if we can help in any way with the Common Application or essay. You’ve been through a lot, juniors, but you are very soon to be a senior, and those college deadlines will be looming.