Over One Million Common App Users In 2011

Common App LogoThe Common App revealed this week that it had over one million registered users for the first time in its history this year. This is a huge milestone for the site and also shows that applications (and the ease with which students can apply to large numbers of schools) are increasing to never-before-seen levels.

Remember to check in with our recent reminders about double-checking your submission status with the Common App and especially your payment status for all your applications. Finishing your submission is a multi-step process, so make sure all your documentation, supplements, and payments have been received by your schools before you consider yourself finished.

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Regular Decision Deadlines Fast Approaching

Colleges That Change Lives offered a sage piece of wisdom a few weeks ago. "In a few short months, no one will ask you about where you didn't get in... you will be celebrating all your college acceptances. Keep smiling!"

Hard to argue with that. For those of you who were denied acceptance at your top choice (or chose not to apply early), remember that the work in front of you is all that matters. Wrap up those remaining applications, send them out, and relax. The admission season eventually ends, and you'll be focused on your acceptances above all other things.

You can find the Colleges That Change Lives Facebook page here for continued updates.

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Last Chance For Your Free Essay QuickFinder in 2011!

Remember that College Essay Organizer's Essay QuickFinder is FREE for these last two weeks of 2011! Get access to every essay question you'll need to write this year, including supplemental, scholarship, optional, and program-specific questions you won't find on the Common App -- all organized in one place!

Get Started Today For FREE!

  1. Click here and create your Student account. It takes just a few seconds.
  2. Select "Essay QuickFinder - up to 20 colleges" under "Choose Your Services"
  3. Enter promo code blogfree1 and press tab - your Essay QuickFinder is free!

This offer applies only to high school seniors - no counselors. Each student gets only one free account.

Once you create your account, simply select your colleges and College Essay Organizer will do the rest!

All students who create their accounts will be eligible to enter our Best Essay Contest and win up to $500 cash!





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A Simple Common App Tip For The End Of The Year

Common App LogoOur friends at the Common App offer useful tips and tidbits about the application process every few days on their Facebook page. They've reminded us of one of the most important tips there is - not to mention one of the ones you're most likely to forget:

Don't forget: Go to your My Colleges page and check the Application, Supplement, and Payment statuses for each of your colleges. If the status does not show as green, then you have not submitted that item--even if you think you have. Please do this now. It's much better to discover this today than after the deadline has passed.

Simple, but important, no? Make sure that your applications have fully submitted, and that the payments have gone through. As they say, much better to catch this today than after the deadline has passed.

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Early Decision Notifications Rolling In

Many of you who've applied to schools with early deadlines of 11/1 and 11/15 are hearing back this week. If you've been accepted, congratulations! You're about to begin the most relaxing nine months of your lives.

For those of you who are denied entry to your top choice - don't fret. There are many, many fish in the sea, and though it may seem that your top choice is all there is, once you find the school that's right for you, you'll wonder why you were every interested in anyplace else.

Now's the time to get started on the rest of your writing if you haven't already, and to get organized with the Essay RoadMap to minimize the amount of work that's required of you. As always, let us know if you need help getting started! That's what we're here for.

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Free College Application Help for 2011

No, it's not technically a Thanksgiving Day promotion, but if that helps you along, feel free to pretend like you're getting a Black Friday deal like no other.

College Essay Organizer's Essay QuickFinder is FREE for the remainder of 2011! Get access to every essay question you'll need to write this year, including supplemental, scholarship, optional, and program-specific questions you won't find on the Common App -- all organized in one place!

Get Started Today For FREE!

  1. Click here and create your Student account. It takes just a few seconds.
  2. Select "Essay QuickFinder - up to 20 colleges" under "Choose Your Services"
  3. Enter promo code blogfree1 and press tab - your Essay QuickFinder is free!

This offer applies only to high school seniors - no counselors. Each student gets only one free account.

Once you create your account, simply select your colleges and College Essay Organizer will do the rest!

All students who create their accounts will be eligible to enter our Best Essay Contest and win up to $500 cash!





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North Carolina School of the Arts 2011 Essay Questions

The essay requirements for the North Carolina School of the Arts are live in the College Essay Organizer database. There are required, optional, and departmental essays to be found there, as there are with most of the arts schools in the database.

In NCSA's case, there are requirements that feel like they ask for traditional essays, but there's also an optional writing addition to the portfolio assessment:

A piece of creative writing (screenplay, short story, essay, etc.) may be submitted to the School of Filmmaking as part of the application portfolio for those interested inĀ  Directing, Picture Editing and Sound Design, Producing, and Screenwriting.

College Essay Organizer is not only for national universities and liberal arts colleges, we address a number of arts schools, religious institutions, and music conservatories as well. As with all schools in the database, you can use College Essay Organizer to find out about departments and scholarship opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise known were there.

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Cogswell Polytechnical College 2011 Essay Question

Cogswell Polytechnical College

Cog-nation.

Cogswell Polytechnical College in Sunnyvale, California, is a recent addition to the College Essay Organizer database. Cogswell has a number of interesting essay requirements, including this one for its Digital Motion Picture Program:

A crayon, a fishing rod, and a can of beer are being chased down the street by a bunch of muffins. Why?

The obvious reaction to this is to wonder what the people at Cogswell were on when they wrote it. But like any "strange" essay prompt, it's your job to turn it into a question about a specific idea, and then respond to that idea. For the Cogswell DMP program, applicants are being tested on the narrative sensibilities and their understanding of cause and effect. Basic narrative machinations require an understanding of character, wants, and consequence. By expressing a sense of those facets, applicants can write their way right into the school.

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Washington State University 2011 Essay Requirements

Washington State University

Washington State University

Washington State University was recently updated in the College Essay Organizer database, and it makes for an interesting case study. Often, large state universities tone down the writing requirements, if only because they can expect tens of thousands of applicants in what should be a fairly straightforward admissions process, but not so with Washington State.

WSU has six writing requirements, presented as a single question. In College Essay Organizer, we break them up into single requirements, since their word counts are individually labeled:

  • Leadership/group contributions: Describe examples of your leadership experience and share how you have significantly influenced others, helped resolve disputes, or contributed to group efforts over time. Consider responsibilities you have taken for initiatives in or out of school.
  • Knowledge or creativity in a field: Describe any of your special interests and how you have developed knowledge in these areas. Give examples of your creativity: the ability to see alternatives; take diverse perspectives; come up with many, varied, or original ideas; or willingness to try new things.
  • Dealing with adversity: Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to address this challenge. Include whether you turned to anyone in facing that challenge, the role that person played, and what you learned about yourself.
  • Community service: Explain what you have done to make your community a better place to live. Give examples of specific projects in which you have been involved over time.
  • Handling systemic challenges: Describe your experiences facing or witnessing discrimination. Tell us how you responded and what you learned from those experiences and how they prepared you to contribute to the WSU community.
  • Goals/task commitment: Articulate the goals you have established for yourself and your efforts to accomplish them. Give at least one specific example that demonstrates your work ethic/diligence.

Each of these requirements has a length of about a hundred words, which makes for a significant amount of writing, and perhaps more importantly, topic selection. As always, using College Essay Organizer's Essay RoadMap can show you how to cut down on the number of original essays you need to put together for multifaceted requirements such as this one.

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Champlain College Game Design Program 2011 Requirement

One of our favorite new requirements we've seen at College Essay Organizer comes from Champlain College's Game Design department. Have fun with it, game designers:

Challenge: Modify one of the games listed below and create a new and improved experience. The modifications should be creative, innovative and clearly communicated. As an example, you might modify Pac-Man and change the objectives from gobbling up points to teaching individuals how to save money.

Choose from one of these three games:

A) Pac-Man

B) Break-Out

C) Donkey Kong

Using any of the tools or medium listed at the bottom of this page, demonstrate the modifications of your new game by addressing the following questions. It is recommended that you copy the questions into a word processor and prepare your answers before copying them into the final submission.

  • What is the new theme of your game?
  • Describe the game environment and/or narrative associated with the game.
  • Describe the player's goals in gameplay.
  • Describe how you will challenge the players to meet those goals. What obstacles must they overcome?
  • Describe how the game is organized. Are there levels? What defines progress?
  • How does the player win?
  • How does the player lose?
  • Describe who you think would like to play this game? Who is the player?
  • Describe what interests you about Champlain College's Game Design program.
  • Describe what areas of game design you have explored (e.g. writing game narratives, creating mods, critiquing games, designing and building your own games, etc.)
  • List any technologies you have used (e.g. GameMaker, Flash, Adobe Photoshop, any modding environment, 3DS Max, Blender, etc.)
  • Any additional comments or materials?

We are always on the lookout for department-specific questions, whether or not they appear on the Common App!

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