Ultimate guide to the Common Application

Recorded Tuesday, August 3 at 11:00 PM

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About this livestream


The Common app is one of the most accurately named tenets of the admissions process - over 900 schools use it every year.

You have a pretty good chance of encountering this online portal sometime during your admissions process, so you’ll want to go in with a good idea of what to expect.

Join Yesh as he performs a live demonstration of the Common app so that you can learn the ins and outs of each component as well as how to optimize your submissions for each.

The app opened on August 1st so feel free to follow along and ask questions as you watch!

Your host

Undergrad College: Boston University '20

Major: Medical Science

Graduate College: Boston University School of Medicine

Work Experience: I've been working at CollegeVine for 3 years mentoring students through BS/MD and undergraduate admissions. I am currently a medical student and have done research at Boston Medical Center, Dana-Farber, and the Brigham and Women's Hospital.

Audience questions

These are questions from the audience that we had time to answer during the live session. If you have any other questions, you can request an answer from Yesh and other CollegeVine experts in an upcoming livestream or on the Q&A Forum anytime.
10:52@kaffie:Will this be recorded?
11:24@saruhhh:If I'm indigenous Mexican, what do I put under race? I'm not Native American by US standards, but I am technically native..
17:31@elena:What about dual credit classes?
17:42@Wecanhearandseeyou:Do they look at all this?
18:52@kajo12:Do music classes at a university count in this context?
19:14@Wecanhearandseeyou:Is the UC app similar?
19:42@foreign_nerd:can i put my cousin under sibling if he is living with us and is considered a dependent ?
20:05@Aliosha:What about credit for a for-credit summer camp at a university?
20:27@lctara:So community college classes that are not high school classes eg sociology, anthropology would be inc.in this section
21:46@purplepeach_:If you are a dual citizen with the US and another country, does that affect your admission chances at all (for context, I live in the United States) Should I just say I am a US citizen because I know for many schools being an international hurts
28:27@Jory8171:Do we include our senior year courses even if we haven’t taken them yet?
28:49@kajo12:Would music competition awards be included in the honors section or is it strictly academic?
29:09@JC11:If you have received the same award for 2 different years (ex. best English student) would I write that down in 2 honors sections or just 1?
31:37@augustt:Could you repeat how you could write out the honor societies in the honors section?
32:49@lctara:How many characters for the honors descriptions?
33:58@Wecanhearandseeyou:What gpa do we use? 9-12?
34:18@mich5250:If you're doing the IB, would you choose a 7 as the GPA scale you're reporting?
36:41@Wecanhearandseeyou:Do they see all our AP scores?
37:19@JC11:For top schools, what ACT score range should be submitted?
37:39@WZ:Is it ok not to report a bad AP subject score?
38:10@kaffie:if you don't directly send your scores from, say, ACT.org, will your college not receive it/recognize it?
39:32@sanabida:If I am a AP scholar with distinction should I include that in the honors?
39:48@saruhhh:for schools that alow self-reporting, is putting the scores in the common app sufficient? or do we have to self-report elsewhere?
40:22@JC11:Is the honors section only for academic honors? Or can we include sports awards?
42:18@kaffie:For schools that are test blind, is it a waste of money and/or time to send or report scores to them?
43:38@Wecanhearandseeyou:Would an award from a club or the Red Cross apply?
43:48@abcde:Can we submit both ACT and SAT scores? And what about an ACT score along with SAT subject tests?
44:00@saruhhh:UC schools are now test blind and I don't even think there is a space for you to submit scores
44:50@AniM:Are UC Test Blind for fall 2022 ?
46:05@Cali:Wouldn't a low SAT score actually impact your admission?
47:31@Cali:how do you find out about that? the 25th percentile?
48:08@irinjambajuice:are test optional only for people who dont have scores, or can people with scores that could hurt them can be test optional
51:11@Jory8171:Should the description of the activity be in full sentence or sort of like bulletpoints
51:42@Wecanhearandseeyou:What if its not per week but once a month 12+ hours
53:27@sanabida:Can I include two varsity sports in one activity section?
54:11@augustt:Would it look weird if you only did a sport for 2 years rather than 3 or 4 years?
54:36@Ali429:I asked this near the beginning of the stream but -- When submitting an activity, how should we specify certain years of participation and ranks? For example, if we were a club member for three years and for our last year, we were prompted to president. It wouldn't be right to write "Club Leader" under the Position/Leadership description, so should we add the activity twice - once for the first three years when we were a normal member and once for the last year when we were president? Would it be specified when describing the activity?
56:24@Wecanhearandseeyou:Is 400 hours in 1 year unrealistic?
56:49@JC11:How would you write down a job experience/summer activity in the activities section?
57:39@Jory8171:Do we only write down the hours we have done or estimate hours for senior year?
57:46@sanabida:What activity type would a research internship go under? Research or internship?
59:22@saruhhh:How many activities can we put in the common app?
59:33@Wecanhearandseeyou:Do we have to fill this out for every college or does it get reused?
61:06@lctara:Can you save and return to the common app at any time
63:30@harvard:can you see if recommendations are submitted through the student account?
64:19@kaffie:Will we be able to see the links you sent in the chat box if we watch the recording of this livestream?
64:38@saruhhh:Can we still access our applications once we have submitted them? And will the common app update us on our admissions, or where is that info found?
69:54@harvard:once we prepare a school list, is there a way to set reminders closer to the due date? where do you select if you are applying ed/rea/rd?
70:53@lctara:Can you choose more than one major?
71:11@pickles22:how many extracurriculars can u list
71:20@harvard:is there a major undecided option?
71:44@harvard:if you choose to apply to honor college, are you only considered for the honors college or also considered for the regular one?
72:07@Wecanhearandseeyou:Will there be a FAFSA guide?
72:51@lctara:Where can you choose specific recommenders for different colleges
73:09@WZ:Is it easy to change majors later?
74:00@Ali429:What is the weight of activities in the application?
74:27@JC11:For the testing section (ACT) what date should we put for the composite score date if the composite score draws from multiple test dates?
75:12@pickles22:how do you know if essay supplements are required


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