Student Voices: College Applications Made Easy

Student Voices: College Applications Made Easy
Posted on 01/19/2016

By: Paige Hughes, Twelfth Grade Student at Pocomoke High School

For many high school seniors, it is about that time of year to start filling out college applications for the colleges of their choice. This process can be stressful but there are many resources that help make the process an easier one.

Many colleges can now be found on the Common Application, at www.commonapp.org. The Common App is one application that you can fill out to apply to multiple schools, making the application more simplified. This is a huge time saver and it keeps students more organized. Across the board, there have been positive comments and articles regarding the Common Application.

According to Eric Furda, Dean of Admissions at Penn State, “The only disadvantage…is that [students] should not apply to schools that may not be the best match for their interests, simply because it is easy to add more schools to their list in The Common Application.”

Pocomoke High School senior Maverick Kieu, applied to several colleges using regular applications and through the Common App.  “It is a lot easier to apply to schools through common app, if the college you want to apply to is on common app that is definitely the way to go,” he explained.

One of the most important parts of any college application is the essay. When it comes to the essay, students should make sure theirs is unique! Admission officers read hundreds of essays a day so it’s important to stand out. Focusing on your passions, unique qualities, and what is meaningful to you is important. An essay should be personal, genuine, and a positive reflection of who you are as a unique individual.

In high school, students are taught to write essays strictly answering the question being asked but this is not the case for college applications. The essay prompts are not restrictive but more open-ended. It has been said that, many times the admission officer will not even take the time to read the prompt.

Another resourceful tool that Worcester County students use is Naviance, a web-based portfolio that helps you plan your high school career based on your personality trait and intended career path. It also assists students during the college application process.

Naviance is divided into 5 sections: Courses, Careers, Colleges, About Me, and My Planner.  You can research and explore thousands of colleges, careers, and classes to best match your skills and interests. The “About Me” feature is extremely resourceful as students can build a resume and portfolio simply by typing in their activities and Naviance will format their information for them. Students can also maintain a planner organizing their goals and a to do list.

Many colleges require at least one letter of recommendation. Naviance makes it easier for teachers and guidance counselors to summarize a student’s high school career. On Naviance students can enter the colleges they are applying to onto their profile and the teacher can insert the letter into a single place on Naviance and the letter will be sent to all the schools of their choice.

“Naviance makes it simple to write letters of recommendations because you can just look at a student’s profile and see all of their information, accomplishments and activities,”  explains Pocomoke High School teacher Brandi Castaneda.

With the use of current technology and tools, such as the Common App and Naviance, students are more prepared for the college application process than ever before. While this process may seem overwhelming, if students keep organized, use the mentioned technologies, along with their teachers and guidance counselors, students can get through it in a breeze and be done in no time. Lastly, it is all worth it when that acceptance letter from their top choice school finally arrives in the mail.