It’s complicated...but it’s not

As August 1st approaches and my deadlines loom, it’s easy for students and parents to go into the high alert phase. Common App opens for you, class of 2022. It’s time to add your colleges to the application and create/complete other applications for colleges not on the Common App, such as ApplyTexas and JMU. If you completed the Common App part of the Common App, much of this can be copy/pasted. The Common App essay should be in good shape, or nearly complete. Supplemental essays must be written now that we can see the colleges’ prompts. So many details and so much work!


But is it really? After adding colleges to the Common Application, you must answer their questions. Some of these ask if you have been employed at the college, have a relative who was employed there, which extracurricular activities you might choose, and if you have been arrested. Most official forms are far more complicated and nuanced.


So what requires more focused attention?


Supplemental Essays:

Most ask why you want to attend a college and/or choose a particular program. We have an easy formula to follow for creating a unique response for each school. Others are about extracurriculars and other common topics. A few are long, most are not.


Have a parent/student conversation about the following...have your answers now, before August 1st.


Choosing a major/college within the college to apply to: It’s the moment of truth, but be honest: if you’re undecided, say so. Remember that you will likely work for a business whether you major in business or not--that business major/college is tailored for students who know they have a strong aptitude/interest in a specific aspect of economics. Review Academic Offerings on the website before choosing.


Financial Aid:

Don’t check that you will be applying for “need-based financial aid” if you know you don’t qualify for it, especially if you are applying to colleges that are tough admits. Not sure? It takes 10 minutes: just go to the College’s EFC (Expected Family Contribution) or NPC (Net Price Calculator) and enter your financial information.


The way to less college stress is simply handling and completing tasks, one at a time, on schedule. There are plenty, but they are generally not complicated. How to make it happen: keep emotions out of the process after August 1st.