Mastering the Common App one word at a time

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For students who plan on applying for competitive colleges in the near future, the most daunting part is slowly approaching: the Common App. But what are the most important things to think about when completing it?

“The first thing is you need to think of it as a narrative story. You want to put the reader into whatever situation you’re describing because the admissions officer doesn’t know you, and you’re trying to introduce yourself to this person,” AP Literature and Composition teacher Monique Fisher said.

The point of the essay is to show your true colors, not who you are on the outside, and it shouldn’t be a laundry list of accomplishments either. Delve into what makes you unique. Make sure everything you’re saying builds upon who you are as a person. 

“Make sure it’s something that has a lot of personal importance, something that you think you could write about endlessly,” Krishna Dasari (12) said. “Remember that it’s not about boasting but rather giving them insight into your personality and story.”

A good way to know what makes you unique is to ask yourself what your community will miss most about you after you leave to show your true impact. 

Make your writing sound like a conversation between you and the admissions council, but make sure it is still academic.

“Write naturally but maturely. They want to hear your voice, but they don’t want you to sound like you’re texting a friend,” Fisher said. “It needs to be someone who sounds scholarly but then again human as well.” 

And the most important thing to do before submitting your essay is to have another pair of eyes read and comment on your essay (other than your parents). Have a trustworthy friend and teacher read it to make sure your intentions are getting across clearly.