College Application Tips and Tricks


Common App Website

Applying to schools through the Common Application can make your college application process a breeze!

Catie Modica, Staff Reporter

Applying to college can be a stressful time for many students, with worrying about transcripts, deadlines, and the many different types of applications. Many of my peers and friends have been through this process; I have as well, and while it is awful, it gets better as it goes on.

First, select which schools you would like to apply to and then figure out which application they accept. If you use Naviance, the colleges that you search for will say what type of application the school accepts. Common App is usually accepted by most schools, so unless you really want to apply through their website, or the school only allows the application to be submitted through their own admissions website, I would suggest applying through Common App as it is very straightforward and easy to use. Every college that is added to the list is all in one spot.

Senior Alyssa Threadgill’s advice is to “start early, pace yourself, take your time, and make sure you’re aware of the deadlines.” Senior Nikki McNaughton started her applications later than other people, and shares that “applying later is not the worst, but you have to be cautious of early action deadlines if you are interested in that.”

Don’t worry if you did not start applications right away on August 1. Deadlines are usually between November 1 and November 30, so it is okay to start applications later, but it will be a little bit more stressful, and there will not be as much time to spread out the applications. My suggestion is to apply to your first choice school as early as you can and select early action decision as well as apply through their own admissions website. Many people get scared when they think of early action and early decision because they do not know the difference. Early action is non binding, meaning the student will receive a decision from the school earlier than the students who have applied regular decision, but they do not have to commit or make a decision until the normal deadline, which is May 1. Early decision is binding, meaning that when the college makes their decision, if the decision is to accept the student, then the student must attend that college. I would suggest applying as early action for your top school because it just lets the school that you are really interested in their school, but if you decide to do regular decision that is fine too; you will just find out about your application status a little bit later. For the rest of the applications, I suggest using Common App because of how easy it is to use and check on the status of your application, transcript, and recommendations, but if you would rather apply through each school’s admission website, it won’t make a difference in anything except the amount of time it takes.

My biggest suggestion and tip is to have a plan, research all of the information the school requires for the application, and take your time. The process is long and frustrating at first, but once everything is submitted and the colleges receive everything, you will feel relieved and excited to start getting responses!