Senior to-dos for Common App (with suggested completion times)
0. Read this newsletter! And take another skim through your senior packet from June 8! You'll have an easier time focusing after reviewing these. (20 minutes)
1. Make an account at commonapp.org (30-60 minutes, depending on how many questions you're ready to answer.)
2. Submit your "Purple Sheet" request for a counselor recommendation, if you haven't already. A counselor rec is required for all Common App schools, and the "Purple Sheet" request is required for WIHI students to get a counselor rec! (20 minutes)
3. Secure a commitment from ONE WIHI teacher to provide your teacher recommendation letter to Common App.
4. Send your brag sheet and/or resume to Mr. Nemo and your teacher recommender, if you haven't already (Don't spend more than 30 minutes making a brag sheet - we just need the highlights!)
5. Carefully enter the email addresses for your counselor (firstname.lastname@example.org) and teacher recommender into the appropriate sections of your Common App (5 minutes)
6. Apply for free/reduced lunch at WIHI for 2015-16 if your family is in need of help paying for college application fees (see below)
7. Review the Common App Essay Prompts and spend a good chunk of time (2 hours) working on your essays. Some of you may be in the editing and re-writing phase, while some of you may be brainstorming and starting a first draft. Either one is fine for now!
USE YOUR LIST! - Hundreds of colleges partner with Common App. When you set up your account, you see all of these wonderful schools lined up on the site just waiting to get YOUR application! And you'll be asked to make a list of college where you'll be applying. Don't fall into the trap of adding a bunch of schools you haven't visited or researched to your Common App now because "I might apply ... I might get in ... you never know." For now, add only those few schools you are 100 percent certain that you will apply to. This should be a small group of schools that you have visited, researched, discussed with your counselor, etc. You can always add a school later this fall if you become 100 percent of your plan to apply there - trust me, they will be eager to accept your application (and fee!).
Too many seniors cause themselves and their supporters needless stress by straying from their plan and adding a bunch of "great" schools to their Common App now, only to remove those schools and go back to the original plan when crunch time hits in October.
BE ACCURATE - When you are setting up your Common App account, double check that your own email address is entered correctly and keep track of your password. Make sure your counselor's and teacher's email addresses are entered correctly. Misspelling an email address means your recommender will never receive the link to upload their recommendation, and your applications will never be completed :(
FEE WAIVERS - WIHI uses students' free/reduced lunch status to evaluate requests for fee waivers. We encourage ALL eligible WIHI students to seek help paying for college application fees, standardized test registration, enrichment programs and more by completing the free/reduced lunch application. Please review the Fee Waiver questions on your Common App account. If you were approved for free or reduced-price school lunch in 11th grade, please indicate that on your Common App account. I will verify your approval and you will not be asked to pay application fees. If you did not apply for free or reduced-price lunch in 11th grade, but your family needs help paying college application fees, then we strongly encourage you to apply for free or reduced-price lunch for 12th grade. Turn the application in to Mr. Nemo or to the WIHI front desk.
BUDGET YOUR TIME - Before school starts on August 17, block off a couple of two-hour chunks to work on your Common App and applications in general. Hopefully this is a lower-stress time for your and your family, and you can explore the site and application questions without any deadline pressure. On the flip side, don't overdo it right now. You're just getting a sense of the process now, and spending dozens of hours can be overwhelming and frustration. The above to-do list can be easily completed in two two-hour work session.
Thanks for reading - we'll chat more with seniors as a group early in the school year. And we're happy to meet individually with families for college counseling check-ups and application questions. Those individual appointment times will start in early September.