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Crowley: College admissions season is here. Get ready.
August 1. The date that sends most rising high school seniors flocking to their computers, not to check Twitter or Facebook, but to check out the much anticipated Common App.
Consider its release the pop of the starting gun. All the practice and planning is over; the race to college has begun.
Known as the Common Application, the standardized form used by almost 500 of the nation’s selective colleges. This universality makes it easier for students to apply to many different colleges without having to fill out individual and repetitive applications.
But to keep you on your toes, the Common App changes every so often. The latest one requires students to answer one essay question instead of two. Responses have to be between 250 to 650 words, with the word limit being more strictly enforced in comparison to past years.
And perhaps the biggest difference in this year’s Common App is that the most popular essay option, “topic of your choice,” is no longer an option at all.
Colleges like the Common App because the ease of applying means more students do. The schools tout those numbers, so it’s good for them, but in some ways bad for the students. There’s more competition, too.
So the race is turns into a marathon. Strategy, motivation and stamina are key.
Signing up for clubs and rigorous high school classes is one strategy. Motivation is needed to do well on standardized tests. And completing the Common App as well as the supplemental essays that some colleges demand want fearly action applicants to submit in the fall is when stamina comes in handy.
High school students planning on attending college will have to complete it. Start now, so you can be ahead of the pack when it really matters. November 1.
Patrick Crowley is a Newsday Opinion intern and a high school student on Long Island.