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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

Juniors: start preparing for the common app


Seems scary right? Now add a couple more…

Starting the college application process is incredibly difficult for students and parents who have no previous experience which causes a large amount of guides to be produced. The most important part for applying to colleges is staying organized on due dates, school portals and the common app. The common app is the most common way of applying to college, but not the easiest to make use of. 

“I wish there was some easy way of explaining the common app because I do not know how that functions at all” stated Liam Slater, junior. A basic overview of the common application is structured around the five tabs in the common app home screen.

The common app will initially leave a student at this page, at which point students should seek out their college of choice and click the “add a college” button to begin. After adding a college, it will appear on the list as a bookmark which opens up to the requirements for applications. These requirements are typically broken into three categories, Questions, Recommenders and FERPA and Review and Submit Common App. Questions will be the bulk of the work, personal information, which can be done by oneself, family, which individuals may need to receive help from a guardian and then supplemental information. 

Recommenders and FERPA include three simple steps that are constant throughout all the colleges, after properly finishing it for one college, it will be available for all. Gonzaga students just need to link their common app to Naviance, a college application database under the help of their counselor and then sign off on a singular box authorizing the release of your records and waive your right to read your recommendations. 

Review and Submit Common App is incredibly straightforward, simply hit submit, review the pdf and then send it off to your college of choice. All of these will be due at different times depending on the college and the amount of supplemental work, so a spreadsheet is a great idea. The second portion, Recommenders and FERPA only need to be completed once. The third portion is no new information, just a review and the first requires work.

“I wish I started my common app earlier. I started only a few weeks before it was due.” stated Peter Wild, senior. 

To not feel rushed like Wild, it is wise to start early and split it up into different segments to complete over a few weeks. 

The second half of the common app is broad information that will serve as a backbone for your application. This is found in a separate tab labeled common app. 

This segment encompasses your college essay, extracurriculars, family, and personal information to be filled out, as well. It takes roughly an hour and a half to complete with assistance from a guardian so planning this out and getting it done sooner rather than later. In addition, students would benefit from going thorough and filling out as much as they can before surrendering it to their parents for supplemental attention.

For some, this seems incredibly difficult to take in, but just remember juniors have many people to help you out.

“Gonzaga makes it really easy, just pay attention to your email,” said Patrick Gallagher, director of college counseling.  


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