Common Application

Dr. StrangeCollege Has Help for Common App Woes...

Dr. StrangeCollege, aka Jane Kulow (one of our favorite guest bloggers), has some straightforward, actionable advice on her blog today for students who are applying early and experiencing struggles with the Common Application -- "Got Common App problems? Here's what we're trying." Her three-point plan includes advice from Virginia counselor Nancy Griesemer, who has been on top of the Common App complications from the beginning, as well as a link to our real-time digital supplement on how the application form works, including the August changes to the Common Application. (Available as a free download here, too.) It also includes our most well-loved advice: Check the website of each college to which you are applying. Many schools are pushing back early deadlines or offering alternatives such as the Universal College Application or paper submissions.

Common Application Update: Relax... Help is on the way!

At NACAC's 69th National Conference in Toronto last week, representatives for the Common Application -- in two sessions to meet overflow demand -- answered many of the concerns that have arisen since the new platform debuted in August. Most of the information shared will soon be available on the Help Center where, as of October 1, there will be staffing 24/7.  The biggest issue, according to counselor Jan Williams who was our eyes and ears there, seemed to be that students have to click on "submit" before they can see "print preview" -- causing "all kinds of confusion and angst."  College Admission staff said they intend to address the problem.  Scott Anderson of the Common Application has told us that as more and more people interact with the application, they will be making adjustments and refining the interface.

Seniors: Get your Applications!

We're back! With our weekly reminders for seniors. Each week, we'll be providing information, checklist items and advice on applying to college -- testing, essays, deadlines, college visits, letters of recommendation and more.

First up? Seniors, get your applications.

Visit the websites of every college to which you will apply and find out what application form they support -- the college's own unique form, the Common Application, Universal College Application, or some other electronic application provider.

Download or obtain any university's unique forms (public universities often have their own forms) and if you are applying to schools that use the Common Application or another electronic provider, go ahead and register and create an account.

No need to complete the applications at this point. Just familiarize yourself with the forms and requirements, including deadlines and any supplemental material that you may need to submit. This way you will understand what is ahead of you and can begin to pull together the information required, as well as start budgeting your time accordingly.

Friday Links for your Delight and Elevation


Awesome People Reading, a Tumblr, featuring Marilyn Monroe, Martin Luther King, Loki, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Woody Woodpecker... among others.

From DePaul University's Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management via the Facebook page of College Admissions Counselors: Time for the annual reminder of why we do what we do. John Ciardi's 1950–ish address to freshmen at Rutgers: Another School Year: Why? So many wonderful thoughts in this piece we couldn't pick one to excerpt. Read it in its entirety.

Valerie Velhagen of Albuquerque's Eldorado High School is Counselor of the Month

Valerie Velhagen thought she would be a professor or a lawyer like her father. But some time off before graduate school -- working in her father's law office and studying for the LSAT -- lead her to take a different path. Albuquerque, New Mexico, is a long way from Brooklyn, New York, where Velhagen was born and raised. But after graduating from Massachusetts' Brandeis University with a BA in English and Pennsylvania's Duquesne University with a Masters in a program centered on existential/phenomenological psychology, Velhagen, now the College and Career Readiness Counselor at Albuquerque's Eldorado High School, made her way from New York's largest borough to the city on the banks of the Rio Grande.

And we're back...

It's so long to summer and back to school for us! This month we'll be bringing you insight from Director of Admission Rick Clark of the Georgia Institute of Technology, advice from high school counselor Valerie Velhagen on what juniors and seniors should be doing right now, and the next installment of The Transition from High School to College from educational counselor Jane McClure. And coming up we'll have more restaurant recommendations for your college visits -- and drop-offs -- in the Gourmet Guide, a new round up of experts every month answering "The Question of the Moment" -- from "When Should I Start Testing?" to "Why is College So Expensive?" -- and -- Coming Soon! -- podcasts with deans of admission from around the country.

And later this month, we'll have a completely revised chapter on the new Common Application available as a pdf right here on the site! Great guidance for students and counselors on completing the latest version of the electronic application.


School's Out for Summer

Now that school is out for summer, College Admission is going on vacation, too. But just as rising seniors will be working from time to time on their college application process, we'll also be hanging around and posting a bit. So please check in from time to time here and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.

We'll be back strong in August with advice from more deans -- Georgia Tech and Davidson start us off -- and more high school college counselors -- from New Mexico and Indiana -- as well as a Q&A with a top college recruiter for football, information for students interested in applying to the military academies, and the complete guide to the new Common Application, CA4.

In the meantime, enjoy the lazy days of summer... I know we will.