Although the Common Application for college applications will not officially be available until August 1, commonapp.org has made a preview available so that on-the-ball upcoming seniors can get a head start on planning their application content. The Common App Preview, complete with highlighted new or noteworthy information, is available now.
There are several changes to the Common Application form since last year, including the addition of 48 new colleges and universities. College consultant Nancy Griesemer has already written about them quite eloquently, so I will not detail all the changes. I invite you to read her article, The Common Application Shares Changes for Next Year.
Implications for the College Admissions Essay
My particular interest is the essay portion of the application, and so it is pertinent to me that although the Common Application essay topic choices have not changed, the suggested length of the essay has. Students are now requested to write 250-500 words on their chosen topic.
Two hundred fifty to five hundred words? That’s one short essay! You may think initially, “Great! Less to write!” But in actuality, it is harder to write a short essay than a long one. I have pointed this phenomenon out and provided a few essay-shortening tips in a prior blog article, Cutting Your Writing Down to Size. I encourage you to read it!
Phrases to Eliminate from your College Application Essay
If you are gearing up to write a 250-500 word college application essay, make sure to get clear about your priorities. Don’t make the mistake of spending precious words or phrases like the following:
“As I sat down to write this essay…” or
“I will always remember the time when…” or
“I was fortunate to have the opportunity to…”
Look… you simply don’t have space to burn with such extraneous material. Eliminate it, and focus, focus, focus.
To help in the process of planning and writing your essay, read my series on specific essay topics, which you will receive as part of your subscription if you sign up for my College Admissions topic list. You can sign up HERE.
Note: Another change to be aware of is that the short answer questions will be limited by characters (1000) instead of words (150). Again, crafting pointed, clear answers is paramount.
If you want highly personalized assistance with your college application essays, contact The Essay Expert for your FREE 15-minute consultation and to work with one of our Ivy League educated consultants. We will make sure you have the best possible chance of getting in to the college of your choice.