Attention High School Seniors and parents! If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to get started on your college applications.  Specifically, it’s time to start your Common Application as the 2015-16 admissions portal opened August 1!

If you’re late getting started with college admissions planning, don’t worry because whether you’re just starting to get organized or you’ve been working with a college admissions consultant throughout high school, either way you will be evaluating your college admissions offers in just a few months.  It may both surprise and comfort you to know that this time next summer, you’ll be packing as you get ready to head off to join the class of 2020!

Let’s get you up-to-speed on some important steps in the college admissions and common application process.

How do I begin the college application process?

You are indeed one step ahead having already recognized this is indeed a “process”.  The college application process starts now with several important steps which include the submission of your completed common application!

Do all colleges use the Common Application?

A very large percentage of undergraduate institutions will require you to submit your application thru the common application portal.  This actually saves you a substantial amount of time in the application process.   Some private institutions and some state college systems do not use the common application or may provide you with the choice of which portal to submit your application.

What are the steps to submitting my Common Application Application?

Step # 1:  Create an Account
Your username is your email address.  While you may love your dog, be a hockey fanatic or envision yourself as the next pop star, please create a clean professional email address that is nothing other than your first and last name.  If your name is already taken, add an under score, or another character until you can secure the email within a reliable service provider such as g-mail.

Step # 2  Select Colleges:
Using the College Search tab, Select and Add Colleges to your school list within the Common Application Portal.

If you haven’t yet finalized your list of match, safety and reach schools, consider scheduling a thorough educational analysis in which together we will discover your passion and identify your strengths and interests to customize the list of undergraduate degree programs where you’ll thrive both academically and socially.

You’re invited to review our earlier blog providing insider tips on researching majors and colleges.

It’s truly important to focus first on discovering the best fit for your intended major area of study rather than selecting institutions simply based on name recognition.

As a former university professor, I have extensive knowledge of university curricula and can discuss some interesting and unusual majors you probably never even considered as well as exploring traditional degree programs.

Step 3:  Familiarize yourself with the distinct application requirements for each college on your list:

Many schools (most certainly more competitive colleges) will require unique supplemental materials. Within the common application and also detailed on the admissions website of each college, you’ll find an applications checklist..

Read the application checklist and pay careful attention to deadlines for receipt of all admissions materials.  My clients receive guided college application assistance and review, including proprietary customized application deadline management. Ongoing and regular reports to both parents and students ensure there are no missed deadlines!

What are the components of the Common Application?

The initial component includes basic biographical information.  You’ll need to have a copy of your high school transcript to list your senior year courses, dates and scores from any standardized tests you’ve taken or will be taking, and information about your parents including their educational background, occupation and employers.


Two of the most important ways in which you’ll distinguish yourself on your college application from your equally qualified peers are your extracurricular activities (including honors and awards earned) and the content of your essay(s).

Please read Part II of my blog series on College Applications and Your Common Application focused exclusively with tips for the best presentation of your  extracurricular activities and your core and supplemental common application essay(s).

I look forward to guiding you and together we can confirm your list of colleges and brainstorm topics for your core and supplemental essays.  You’ll receive expert advice and caring support in my review of multiple drafts of your essay until you have a polished essay to better position you for admissions success.

Whether you’re ready to finish your essays and application before Labor Day or just beginning to research colleges and majors, or perhaps you want to create a customized learning plan to address study habits and time management, I invite you to contact me to schedule your complimentary consultation and learn more about the  Educational and College Admissions Consultation services available for rising seniors and all high school students.

Experience the Difference!  Schedule your complimentary session today to receive valuable pre-college academic advising to make your transition to college seamless.