Common app college essays 2013

Common Application officials assure us that they are hard at work trying to fix a host of glitches and errors, especially those revolving around college specific supplements. Our first five tips are listed below; stay tuned for the remaining five later this week. Have a question about strategies around the new Common Application? Post it below, and one of our College Coach admissions experts will answer it!

Earlier this fall, when the Common Application asked students to list all standardized test scores, we recommended that students leave the self-reporting testing section of the application blank.

19 College Application Tips (To Help You Stand Out)

Now that the Common Application has adjusted their language, we feel it is in the best interest of students to complete this page. When applying to colleges that accept Score Choice , students can list their best score results. Participated in…led…managed…contributed to. On the new Common Application, applicants no longer have the benefit of seeing all of their activities on the same page, making it difficult to know if your descriptions sound a bit monotonous.

Our suggestion?

Learn About the Maximum Word Count for Your Personal Statement

Draft your activity details in a Word document, and then cut and paste them into the Common Application. Gone are days of uploading your personal statement to the body of the Common Application.


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Now students are simply required to cut and paste their essay into a text box. There are two very important features you should know about this text box. The first is that it will not allow you to enter more than words or fewer than words.

Common Application Facts

This word limit is new for the Common Application. So, too, is the block formatting of paragraphs. New paragraphs will no longer appear indented. Rather, they show up as isolated blocks of text, with one empty line between each paragraph. If you are having difficulty formatting your essay, and are experiencing odd word counts or no paragraph breaks when viewing the print preview of your application, try cutting and pasting your essay from MS Word or your word processor of choice into Notepad for Windows users or TextEdit for Mac users.

Notepad and TextEdit will strip your essay of all formatting and make most formatting issues disappear. And you have to jump through three hoops to get there. First, you need to complete every required field of the Common Application itself. Second, any school-specific questions or essays need to be completed.

My Life in Words: How I Tackled the Common App Essay | CollegeVine Zen

As you plan your essay, you definitely want to keep the length requirement in mind. Many applicants attempt to do too much with their essays and then struggle to edit them down to words. Realize the purpose of the personal statement is not to tell your life story or to give an exhaustive overview of all of your accomplishments.

Let your list of extracurricular activities, academic record, letters of recommendation, and supplemental essays and materials show your range of accomplishments.

The personal statement is not the place for long lists or catalogs of achievement. To write an engaging and effective word or shorter essay, you need to have a sharp focus. Narrate a single event, or illuminate a single passion or talent.

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Getting Personal: Writing College Essays for the Common Application

Whichever essay prompt you choose, make sure you zero in on a specific example that you narrate in an engaging and thoughtful way. Allow enough space for self reflection so that whatever your topic is you spend at least some time talking about its significance to you. With the primary Common Application essay, you will need to come in at words or fewer.

However, you will find that most supplemental essays on the Common Application have different length guidelines, and colleges that don't use the Common Application will have differing length requirements. No matter what the circumstances, make sure you follow the guidelines.

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If an essay should be words, don't write Finally, keep in mind that what you say and how you say it is far more important than whether you have words or words. Be sure to attend to your essay's style , and in most cases you're going to want to avoid these ten bad essay topics. If you've said all you have to say in words, don't try to pad your essay to make it longer.

Regardless of length, and even if yours is a transfer essay , the best writing will tell a compelling story, provide insight to your character and interests, and are written with crisp and engaging prose. Share Flipboard Email.