Guide to completing college applications


College applications are the bane of every senior’s existence. They cause hours of pain to complete a seemingly endless process in an attempt to find a place students will call home for the next four years. Whether it be the Common Application or the Coalition Application, the struggle of applying to colleges is real.

The Common Application is the standard application website used by 731 colleges, making it the most used application site. The process begins with basic information about who you are, such as name and date of birth and then eight more pages of standard information. The fun doesn’t stop there. Next you to move on to information about your family, education history, test scores and then the activity section.

The Common Application allows students to input up to 10 different extracurricular activities with a brief description for each activity. Compared to the Coalition’s eight optional activities, these additional two allow students to add a bit more about themselves and what they do. “I think it is better that I have the opportunity to say more about what I do in my free time. It’s just more information that can make me stand out in the process,” senior Adam Silver said.

The next step is the writing section. With only 650 maximum words, an applicant must find a way to creatively tell a life story that encapsulates who they are as a person in a unique and different way. Six hundred fifty words make it hard to describe who you are as a person, with the Coalition, you only get 500 words. Schools frequently have additional essay questions that applicants must respond to by providing additional information about yourself and explaining why you want to attend the specific school. “The application process is tedious and frustrating, but it will be worth it when I get to go to college,” senior Nick Siegel said.

Exclusive to the Coalition, you will find two sections that will haunt you even after completion of applications: the high school coursework sections. Here, an applicant will have to manually input every single class that has ever gone on a high school transcript. This means often starting from seventh grade and then finding and recording the grade for each and every semester, totaling hours of tedious work. Another major downside to this application is that only on the Coalition, every section must be completed in order before being able to advance to the next so you cannot skip this section and move on to further parts of the process. I would strongly recommend limiting your use of the Coalition unless absolutely necessary.

With early action and regular deadlines quickly approaching, ensure that you are making steady progress with your applications and do not save them until the day before. Otherwise you will only be welcoming a world of pain. College applications are the first step towards a new life for students. “Applying to colleges is exciting and I’m just glad that I am getting one step closer to attending college,” senior Emma Henderson said.


Matthew Lind

Back Page Editor