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Senior Success; Common App Guide

By: Kaylee Vitale

Where To Go:

The time has come for seniors to start filling out college applications! It can be scary and overwhelming, especially with no guidance. As we start the year, a lot of seniors may be wondering where to fill out applications - Common App is the place to go! Using your personal email and password, you can sign up for common app, and start the college application process. Note that some colleges that you may be looking to apply to may not be available through Common App - if this is the case, you can simply look up that particular college, and apply through their website.

Linking your Common App to Naviance:

Don’t know how to link your Common App to your Naviance Account? Here is a step by step!:

  1. Login to your Naviance Account, and find the “my favorites” section.

  2. Within the “My Favorites” section click on “Colleges I’m Applying To”

  3. Once you click on “Colleges I’m Applying To” you should see a pink banner at the top of your screen indicating you have not matched your Common App account yet - click on “Match Accounts”

  4. A new tab will open taking you to a Common App Login page, saying “Connect Your Common App” - fill in your email and password you use for Common App. Click sign in and check off the “I agree” checkbox to authorize the connection between both accounts.

  5. After checking off the “I agree” checkbox, you will be redirected to Naviance and the banner at the top of your screen should now be green! All of your colleges and deadlines should now be in Naviance!

Concerning the FAFSA:

Filling out your FAFSA is easily one of the most overwhelming steps of college applications. While the FAFSA is usually released in October, this year it will be released in December. There will be many changes in this year's FAFSA form and though it may be confusing, there are always resources available to help! A reliable source for assistance in filling out the FAFSA is Khan Academy. There is a collection of videos explaining how to go about filling it out, and explains what you need to do so. Just look up “Khan Academy FAFSA Walkthrough” and you’re set! Remember you are not the only one going through this! Your peers may be just as confused, as filling out the FAFSA form can be challenging, especially with a new version of the application being released.

Essay Troubles?:

Having trouble writing your Common App Essay? Here are some tips and tricks that may make it easier:

  1. Have a Hook: Opening up your essay with a line that will grab the attention of an admissions counselor is key! Try and come up with something metaphoric that relates to your topic, or a quote that's intriguing.

  2. Be Authentic: Think of what's unique to you. What was a time or situation that you feel was an individual experience that only you have gone through, and how did you grow from it? Also think about how you may be able to tie this in with what you want to major in, as that may be a driving point of your essay.

  3. Show Don’t Tell: College essays tend to be a difficult part of college applications, and some students may be so caught up in the fear of not getting it “right” that they just tell their story. Make a connection and be in tune with yourself! It is okay to have multiple drafts of your essay and make mistakes. Be vulnerable and emotional with your writing, and try to encapsulate your feelings and thoughts within your essay.

  4. Have Others Read Your Essay: Proofreading is a must when writing your essay, but you may not catch every mistake! Have a peer or a teacher read your essay and give you critiques, and remember that nobody is perfect. Making mistakes is an inevitable part of the writing process, and having someone to consult with will make it easier.

Good luck to all the seniors applying for college this year! Remember that your success is not measured by the colleges you do or don’t get into!

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