The Common Application has been live now for about a month and students are already frantically submitting applications to their top choice schools. The NY Times recently ran an article about Cree Bautista, who was the very first student to submit an application through the Common Application website. Bautista started to fill out the forms at 12:01AM and hit submit at about 3:30AM. He was determined to be the first to apply to his first choice school, NYU.
While it is important to submit your application by the posted deadlines, it is not necessary to do so months in advance. It is more important to take the time to make sure you application is well thought out than “first”.
On the flip side, you also don’t want to leave it to the last minute. When I was an admissions officer, I had a student write on his supplemental essay that it was 11:58PM the day before the application deadline and that he did not have time to complete his essay. Needless to say, he was not admitted.
Here are some tips to ensure that your applications are going to stand out for the right reasons:
- Familiarize yourself with the Common Application site. Watch their demonstration videos on how application and school official forms work. Print out the forms and fill out some of the personal information by hand before you attempt to do it electronically.
- Look at the application requirements for the schools that you are interested in applying to. You don’t have to make your final decisions now, but just be aware of what each school is requiring.
- Create a timeline with the deadlines for each school you are applying to and what is required for each application. Set goals for when you want to complete each application. Break up what is required into small tasks so it does not seem so overwhelming.
- Begin working on your personal statement. Also look at the supplemental essays.
- Ask for letters of recommendation from your teachers.
- Put together your resume or list of activities outside of the classroom.
Spending a few minutes to get organized can cut down on the anxiety that students often feel with this process.
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