The ‘New Look’ Common App (below) and FSUs application went Live yesterday (Aug 1)!

69 new schools (including Tulane, St. John’s and NSU) have joined the 500 or so other colleges that have already migrated to The Common App.  Those familiar can see that the homepage has gotten an overhaul and so too have quite a few of the supplemental essay prompts!  A few are really, really interesting.  There are still five essay prompts to choose from on the Common App (not counting supplements).  Three are brand new or revamped, though and two are hold-overs.  Gone is the ‘write about anything you want’ option.  FSU’s essay is also brand new.

Since Admissions officers quite literally read thousands of applications (and essays), yours had better grab their attention, melt resistance and create enough interest to keep them reading.  That’s a very tall order for something that is likely to get about 8-20 MINUTES of scrutiny…  Given that, we thought we’d provide you with a short list of 5 things that Admissions Officers have told us really count:

1. Your Grades (though not necessarily your GPA or your rank) – many schools will recalculate your ‘core’ GPA; others won’t, but all will look at your transcript to discern…

2. The Rigor of your coursework (in light of what’s offered). Note the very first thing a reader will consider is your school’s profiles, so here’s a little tip on that – you too can see your school’s profile – just request a copy from your guidance counselor.

3. Your Scores, Maybe!  While for most schools this is very important, many schools are de-emphasizing standardized admissions tests in Admissions decisions. GW was the latest school to go test optional.  You can read about what’s behind that decision here.  Nonetheless, it behooves you to see which schools count scores and to what extent.

4.Your Essay(s) – yes, this piece matters!  Not only does it give you a chance to show your unique character (as opposed to merely re-reciting your achievements), it’s also another way to demonstrate your ability to enrich a campus (and your desire to do so).  If they know you, it’s harder to say no to you.

5. Your Recommendations.

6. Contextually relevant extra-curricular, co-curricular and/or service activities.

7.Work experience.

8. Whether you have a talent or some other skill, geographic advantage, or you will fill a general need that in some way enhances the college’s incoming class.

Remember, at most ‘selective’ colleges, 72-92% of the applicants in any particular applicant pool will have the goods to get in, but far fewer will be admitted.  Remember, admit rates hit record lows last year.

On August 11th we’re doing something we’ve never done before!  On a special Live, webinar-based training, we’re going to look behind the scenes at our private practice and show you exactly what we do to help our students stand out from an increasingly crowded pack.  We’ll be holding a live Q&A following the class – and we’ll stay on the call until the last question is answered.  This tele-class is open to the public and free, but we really do want it to be interactive and actionable, so we’ve reserved only 100 lines and IT WILL NOT BE REPLAYED.  So far, 52 folks have enrolled – we have 48 ‘seats’ left.  We’re going to promote the class to our long-time subscribers all next week, so I’d grab a spot now.  You can do so here!  And email us if you have any questions.

Best,

Pete and Jill

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