Helping Navigate the Common App: Insights and Strategies

How to navigate the common app: for parents and students

College applications can be a stressful and challenging time for both students and parents. However, there's a tool designed to simplify this process - the Common Application, or Common App. This online platform is like a golden ticket, allowing your child to apply to multiple colleges with just one application. Sonia Cacique, an expert in this area, shares her insights and strategies in this podcast episode.

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Sonia emphasizes the importance of early preparation and authenticity. She advises parents to guide their children through each section of the Common App, ensuring their unique personality and achievements shine through. From personal information to academic history, extracurricular activities to essay prompts - each section plays a crucial role in telling the student's story.

One section that particularly allows the student's voice to come alive is the Essay section. It's here that students can truly differentiate themselves from others. Sonia suggests that this section shouldn't be solely about impressing colleges but about expressing who the students are. It's an opportunity to tell their story beyond test scores and grades.

Parents are encouraged to help their children brainstorm unique experiences and not be afraid to revise the Essay. This process, Sonia explains, is a journey of self-discovery. Tailoring each response to demonstrate their interests in the school and its values is another critical strategy. Researching the school thoroughly and highlighting how the child's goals align with the college's programs can significantly enhance the application.

The Common App journey varies depending on the grade level of the student. For 9th and 10th graders, Sonia advises parents to focus on building a strong foundation. Encourage your child to explore interests, maintain good grades, and cultivate meaningful extracurricular activities. These early experiences will shape their college application story.

For 11th graders, this is a pivotal year. Academic performance, standardized tests, and extracurricular involvement become crucial. Start researching colleges, visiting campuses, and preparing for standardized tests. And finally, for parents of 12th graders, it's crunch time. Help your child manage deadlines, finalize the college list, and refine their application materials.

Throughout this process, Sonia reminds parents to lead by example and enjoy the journey. She emphasizes that this journey is about growth, self-discovery, and finding the right fit. After all, the ultimate goal is to find the college that aligns best with your child's dreams and aspirations

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