I’ll never forget the first time I went to commonapp.org to begin filling it out. Actually, I probably will forget, because it was only a little over a year ago and it is already beginning to get kind of hazy. But none the less, at this moment in time, I remember it, and will hereby document my experience for all.
Everybody in grades before me had always said that the best advice they could possibly give was to “fill out the commonapp over the summer, DO NOT wait to fill it out like I did.” I must have heard this same piece of advice two dozen times. So, mid-August rolled around, I got on my laptop, created my commonapp account, and started filling stuff out. It seemed easy enough, all I had to do was fill out my name, birthday, and a whole bunch of other stuff. Five minutes later I was pretty sure that I’d completed most of the commonapp form and would be ready to apply in no time. Or, at least, that’s what it seemed like.
Then came the essay section. I read through it, looked at the prompts, opened up Word and began typing. I wrote a solid 5 sentences, said to myself, “this is a good start. Break time.” And with that, I went to make myself some Easy Mac.
Fast forward to early October. My essay looks…exactly the same. As does the rest of the commonapp. Fortunately, my school offered what is known as “Commonapp Bootcamp”, a series of nights dedicated to filling out the commonapp with the help of the college counselors. A group of 20 or so seniors gathered in the computer lab and went through the commonapp, being guided in each step to ensure perfection. Great, so the technical stuff was done–my extracurricular activities were filled in, all my personal, school, and family info was there. But there was one more step. The essay.
I can count the number of times I edited my essay on one centipede. It seemed like every time I edited it, someone new came in to look at it and offered their opinion. I was given opinions on my essay ranging from “there is no way you should even consider submitting this” to “this is golden, I’d accept you in a second”. Well, doesn’t that just put me in a pickle. What will the schools I’m applying to think of it? Will they side with the idea that its horrible or amazing? Well, I was planning on applying to 13 schools, so assuming 50% of people love the essay and the other 50% hate it, I should get into 6.5 schools (6 admits and a wait list, perhaps?). I was fine with those odds. I was submitting the essay.
After having my awesome English teacher and adviser look over it one last time, I was ready to submit. My parents both scrutinized it, contemplating every detail of every sentence. Finally, at around 11:20 on the day before the due date, I clicked submit. The arguments over grammar, content, what can be said and what cannot be said, was finally over. Everything was in the hands of the Johns Hopkins University Office of Admissions.
And lo and behold, it worked. Apparently, Hopkins thought my essay was pretty good. Which I was especially thankful for, because I really hadn’t done much by way of supplements (page 217 of my 300 page autobiography is still unwritten), so that was a huge cramming load off my back.
Don’t think the process is as easy as I made it sound. My procrastination only added a TON of unneeded arguments and stress to the whole picture. Looking back on it, I wish I had actually completed something over the summer besides the consumption of a bowl of delicious Easy Mac. In addition, I now realize that I LUCKED OUT LIKE NO OTHER. If I did have to go and type up all those supplements, I would have had 15 days to do it. Bye bye winter break and hello sitting in front of a keyboard.
So, thus, my advice is to do the commonapp over the summer. No, but like actually do it. Come October, you’ll be thankful you did. And do the supplements, too. Those are important.
Hope this helps,
Juicy by Notorious B.I.G.