Getting Ready for USA Applications

SMUS-University-Counselling

Grade 11 – Most applications to USA colleges and universities will be completed using the Common Application (https://www.commonapp.org/Login). This is where you create your account, but you cannot do this until later in the summer (it’s usually after August 1). We “join/match” the Common App that you fill out to our Naviance system and Naviance takes over management of the school portion of your Common App application. Naviance also manages many other non-Common App schools, but not all. Some schools still have their own systems that are not integrated into the Common App or Naviance. We handle those one at a time on an as-needed basis. There are even some schools that still use paper applications! [Note that U. Washington and the University of California system do not solicit materials from schools. You enter all the pertinent information online, in your application account. The UC application deadline is November 30. You can find the important application details here: http://admission.universityofcalifornia.edu/international/applying-for-admission/index.html. University of Washington here: https://admit.washington.edu/Admission/Freshmen .]

However, even before you create your account, there is a lot you can do. You will see some links on the home page that are important. The Help Centre is a wealth of information re the Common App. “Application Resources” at the top of the page also has lots in it that you should look at. Note that you will be referred to as a ‘rising senior’ on this site. This means you are entering grade 12.

You should come to school in September with your Common App account already created. You should have read as much as possible about application procedures, financial aid, and, of course, your intended schools and their degree programs. You don’t have to have all your schools chosen, but if you intend to apply using the Early Decision or Early Action models, you should have a pretty good idea of which school is your #1 choice. Note that November 1 is a common ED deadline. We usually send these applications a few days ahead of Nov. 1.

You should also start school in September with a couple of examples of personal statements for the USA Common App system already done. Note that it is up to you to do the leg-work and essay-writing for your applications. Your academic advisor will give you any amount of advice, but s/he will not make choices for you or help you write your essays. Suggestions re editing and making minor adjustments are about all that your academic advisor will do for you regarding your essays. Essays must be 100% the product of your own thinking and your own writing. If you will use the services of an agency, tutor, or outside consultant, they must not be involved in the actual writing of your essays. [If you’re wondering about the essay prompts for next year, you can see them here: http://blog.commonapp.org/2015/03/31/2015-2016-essay-prompts/

When you create your account in early August, you will see that there are lots of hints, tips, and a training video available to you. Take advantage of all of these things. Watch any instructional video right to the end.

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Jake Humphries is Career Day Co-ordinator and an ELL teacher at St. Michaels University School.

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