Scholars – November 2014 – The Common Application

College Admissions Guide For H.S. Seniors In November

Fall is the busiest time for most high school seniors.  Here is a checklist of items to keep in mind as you prepare for the last couple of months of the year:

Application Deadlines – Normally, November is the month when many colleges will allow early admissions.  What is important for high school seniors to know is that the application deadline dates for each school will vary.  Now is the time to review the dates for each of the colleges you are interested in attending.  There is a difference between the date received and the post marked date.  Be mindful about getting your admission applications submitted before the deadline dates.

Entrance Exam Requirements

– Are there colleges on your list that require you to submit SAT or ACT scores?  If so, be sure to enroll to take those exams as soon as possible.

Letters Of Recommendation

– Be sure to give yourself, as well as those who you intend to ask, ample time for recommendation letters.


– Some schools may require you to write an essay about yourself or your interests.  Be sure to provide your assigned HIFE Coach adequate time to review your essays for content and grammatical errors.

Financing Your Education

– How will you pay for your college education?  It is critical to discuss with your parents  the cost to attend the schools you have selected in order to develop a plan for this big expense.  Find out the estimated tuition, room and board, books and fees for each school.  Outline these costs side by side to easily compare which school is most affordable.

Message From The Dean – Bob Fulcomer

Many parents assume that Community College or Junior College is only for those who can’t get into a “real school”. This is undoubtedly one of the most costly mistakes a parent can make. Statistics show that students who start in a Community College do better than the traditional students once they transfer to a traditional school.

There are a number of possible benefits to mention:

Attending a Community College is a great way to potentially save thousands of dollars.  In addition, a student can attend a Community College while still in high school; and, in most cases, the high school will pay for the class as it also counts towards high school credits.

Next, some students actually graduate from Community College with an associate degree before they graduate high school.  These are just a couple of advantages and opportunities that Community Colleges have to offer that most parents and students don’t overlook.

Tips For The Common Application

The Common Application is an undergraduate college admission application that applicants may use to apply to any of 517 member colleges and universities.  It provides a holistic admissions approach to reduce the redundancy and workload for students in the college admissions process.

You’re ready to get started with your Common App, but there’s one small problem: you don’t know how to get started. Don’t worry. Your HIFE Coach is here to help. You can start the process today or when you are ready, later this fall.

These 4 steps will get you on your way…

Create an accoun— Your username will be your email address, so make sure you use one that you check … on a regular basis. You’ll also be asked to set up a password. Write it down in a place where you will be able to find it when you need it.

Add some colleges to your list— After you log in, click on the College Search tab to add schools to your My Colleges list. If you have specific schools in mind, you can search by name. You can also search for schools based on additional criteria such as location, deadline, or distance from your home.

Know what each college will require of you — The information you share through the Common App will tell colleges a lot about you, but colleges will also have additional questions that are unique to them. You can get to each school’s “Questions” from your Dashboard, where you’ll find them listed under Application and Writing Supplement. (Not all schools will have a separate Writing Supplement.) You can also search for deadlines, teacher evaluation requirements, and other information on the searchable, sortable Requirements Grid.

Gather what you need —  The Common App is divided into different sections. As you move through them, you’ll find it will be helpful to have a few items close at hand:

  • a copy of your high school transcript,
  • your senior year courses,
  • a list of your activities both in and out of school,
  • dates and scores from any college entrance tests you’ve taken or plan to take,
  • and some details about your parents such as their educational background, occupations, and employers.

And now you’re ready to begin.  Print a copy of the Common App Basics  guide, and keep it handy as you move through the process. (If you misplace it, you can always download it from the Applicant Help Center.)

Talk to your counselor and parents (and maybe a college admission officer) before you sign the FERPA Release Authorization. You have the right to access your letters of recommendation after  you enroll in college, assuming the college saves those forms. In the “Recommenders and FERPA” section of the application, you’ll be asked if you wish to waive that right. You’re free to respond as you choose, but you need to know that the choice you make could have significant implications regarding how colleges view your application.  Once you complete the FERPA Release Authorization, you can’t change your answers, so make sure you talk to someone — a counselor or parent – who can help you understand your choice before you make it.

Check your application for accuracy before submitting— When it comes time to submit your applications–and for many of you that will be merely months away–make sure everything on it looks correct. Yes, that means proofreading, but it also means checking that your responses appear exactly as they should. If something looks amiss, our HIFE Coach can help you fix the problem before you send the application.

Source:  The Common Application

Writing Requirements For The Common Application

In the 2014-15 Common App, member colleges and universities can ask for writing samples on either the Member Questions page or the Writing Supplement. This is a change from last year’s Common App. Some applicants and counselors are finding it tricky to identify all of the writing samples that a college might require, especially those that are triggered based on responses to other questions. The First- Year Writing Requirements Overview posted within the Applicant Help Center will help you identify whether a college requires writing of any kind. It lists all of the colleges and universities that have short answer and/or essay questions as part of their First -Year application and where those questions appear.

In general, there are three kinds of questions that you may encounter:  required, conditional, and optional.

  • Required questions are….well…required.  This means you must provide a response to the question prior to the submission of the application.
  • Conditional questions are those that are triggered by the responses to other questions. Some people refer to these as ‘stealth’ or ‘hidden’ questions. Colleges are really not trying to hide them from you – they are just conditional based on previous responses. So, for example, if you indicate that you are applying to a particular college within the university, or to a specific major or program, the college may require a short answer or essay about your interest in that program.  If you are not applying to that program,  it is not necessary for you to see or respond to that¨Optional questions are not required. You may decide whether or not you want to provide a response to the question.In addition to the questions within the Common App, many colleges also post their essay questions (required, conditional, and optional) on their websites, so don’t forget to review that as well to make sure you have everything.  One final suggestion – the college application process can be overwhelming. Take your time with your application and make sure you give yourself enough time to write thoughtful and well- planned essays regardless of the required length.  This is your chance to speak to the admissions committees – take advantage of that opportunity.Source:  The Common Application

    A Proper Guide To Your Future Career

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