Crisp Consulting + Coaching is introducing Fast App. Fast App is a weekly post providing short and affective strategies for the college admission application. These strategies will help you achieve your admission goals.
The Common Application is becoming the norm in the college application process. Beginning in 1975 with a small number of schools, the Common Application’s intent was to streamline the application process and allow for greater access to higher education. The Common App is now used by over 450 schools including the United State’s most selective colleges and universities.
Sadly this access has made admission more difficult. When schools adopt the Common App, the number of applicants rise by approximately 30%. With a rise of applicants comes a fall in acceptance rates. This year The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and The University of Southern California are adopting the Common App. With the 2010-2011 acceptance rates around 25%, expect acceptance to these institutions to be more difficult. Although the schools use the Common App, your application should be memorable. Here are two strategies to make your Common App anything but common:
Uncommon words. Throughout your application use strong verbs. This is critical in short answers and in cataloguing extra-curricular activities. “Founded,” “created,” and “invented” are powerful words. Showing strong word choices such as “inaugurated,” “established,” and “launched” will make your application noticeable. Be careful. A stellar vocabulary does not mean abusing a thesaurus.
Uncommon activity. With 125 words (750 characters), the short answer is a challenge. Utilize this as an opportunity to highlight one unique activity or hobby in which you engage. Many students will write about honor societies and high school social clubs. Be unique and write succinctly and passionately about your ten-year old collection of science fiction books or your plan to hike the major mountains in your region. Setting yourself apart will get you noticed.
Crafting a very uncommon Common App will make a positive impression with an admission committee and can give you an advantage in an admission climate that is growing more competitive.
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Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.