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Many students think that by using the Common Application, they only need to write two essays. But in addition to the Common Application’s basic essays, most schools require multiple supplemental admission essays. Some applicants have never even heard of supplemental essays – which can make for a pretty rude awakening as deadlines approach.

The facts:

  • Submitting 7 college applications often requires more than 15 different admission essays.
  • Just finding and organizing your college essay questions can take several hours.
  • Many admission questions are hard to find, and some are not even located on the Common Application, especially the program-specific and scholarship questions.

CEO provides your essay questions in one place, instantly. We save you hours of work, keep you organized, and make sure you never overlook any essay questions.

We've put together a page explaining what Common App supplements are, and have provided a few examples of colleges that have them. For example, Yale has 2 required supplemental essays along with 5 short-answer essays. Some schools that have gone completely overboard: NYU has 3 required essays and as many as 27 program-specific essays.

With our FREE Essay RoadMap Preview page, you can discover how many essays your schools require.

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The College Essay Updates Roll On

Virtually every college in the CEO database is now updated for the 2010/2011 application season, with a whopping 60 added this week alone! Head on over to our Essay RoadMap preview page to see how many essays your schools require.

A number of schools will make their scholarship and department-specific requirements available later in the year, and we'll be adding those too, as they are released. Remember that CEO can help you find scholarship money you didn't know was available, and departments you didn't even know existed!

We also are continuously updating our Facebook and Twitter pages. Take a look, become a fan, and follow along.

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What to Avoid in Your Application Essays

Yesterday we touched on some basic tips for improving your writing and making a lasting impression on over-worked admissions officers. Today we'd like to flip the script a bit and show you what not to do in your application essays.

These errors are all too common, and they're the kinds of things that can sink an application for good. Letting yourself be sloppy, cliched, repetitive, or negative won't just make your essays forgettable, they can even actively work against you, ruining whatever goodwill the rest of your application has engendered with the person reading it.

So without further adieu, make sure you never make these common mistakes:

  • Don't litter your essay with quotes from others
  • Don't go thesaurus-happy
  • Don't generalize or stereotype
  • Don’t use profanity or crass humor
  • Don't use stuffy language

Take a look at our more comprehensive list of writing styles to avoid and see what other kinds of common errors you can be sure to look out for.

CEO's Essay Requirement Updating Rolls On

We're hard at work here at CEO keeping all the essay requirements current for each school in our extensive database. Each Friday, we send an email out to our current members to let them know which schools have been updated for the coming year, as well as to update them on key admissions data such as application deadlines, SAT and ACT ranges of accepted students, and class rank percentiles for the most recent class to enroll.

As an example, here's the list of those added just this week, putting our list of updated schools at well over 430!

  1. Colby College
  2. Columbia College Chicago
  3. Davidson College
  4. Earlham College
  5. Eugene Lang College
  6. Fairfield University
  7. Fairleigh Dickinson University
  8. Long Island University/C.W. Post Campus
  9. Marist College
  10. Mercer University
  11. Michigan State University
  12. Montana State University-Bozeman
  13. Mount St. Mary's College
  14. New Mexico State University
  15. Northeastern University
  16. Northwestern University
  17. Occidental College
  18. Oglethorpe University
  19. Ohio State University-Columbus
  20. Ohio University
  21. Old Dominion University
  22. Pennsylvania State University-University Park
  23. Philadelphia University
  24. Plymouth State University
  25. Ramapo College of New Jersey
  26. Ringling College of Art & Design
  27. Rollins College
  28. Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
  29. Rutgers-New Brunswick
  30. Rutgers-Newark
  31. Seattle Pacific University
  32. Skidmore College
  33. St. Bonaventure University
  34. St. Catherine University
  35. St. John's College (MD)
  36. St. John's College (NM)
  37. Stonehill College
  38. Transylvania University
  39. Tulane University
  40. University of New Haven
  41. University of Pennsylvania
  42. Wheaton College (MA)
  43. Xavier University (OH)

By using our Essay RoadMap preview page you can see all the schools we've updated so far for 2011. Any college without an asterisk has been updated - and while you're at it, you can see first-hand the potential of what CEO can do for you.

The updating process continues in earnest this weekend, with another large push coming in the early parts of September. Stay tuned.

CEO Updates College Application Deadlines

In the process of updating the requirements for the new application season, we at CEO have found an enormous number of discrepancies between publicly available information regarding school application deadlines, and what is listed on the schools' own sites. To make matters more confusing, most third-party sites, and even many of the schools' own admissions pages, leave out important dates for special programs and departmental applications. So in our continuing effort to be as accurate and thorough as possible, we are updating deadline information as these applications become available, resolving any discrepancies we may find. Rest assured that we are double- and triple-checking our work, to make sure that the information we present is as perfect as can be.

With so many different sources for this information, such as the Common App, College Board, and NCES, CEO is your trusted source, doing all the investigative work that would take one person days.

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New York University Sets a Common App Record With 30 Essays

If you had a flag for every essay... That'd be thirty flags.

30? You read that right. The powers that be at New York University have so specifically divided the school that there are now 30 essays for undergrads to consider waiting in our database. 30!

To the school's credit, no undergraduate applicant will have to write thirty individual essays when applying to NYU. The numerous essays mostly belong to specific departments, like the Tisch School of the Arts or the Silver School of Social work - all told, the Violet Bobcats of NYU have essays for programs in Film, Photography, Music Business, you name it. They even have a new satellite school in Abu Dhabi. While no applicant will have to address them all, each applicant will have to write several essays, regardless of which school within the university he or she chooses.

It just goes to show that the breadth and reach of schools like NYU should not be underestimated, and that with tools like CEO you can get a shortcut to those requirements, and in turn, see the opportunities that schools of such great diversity offer.

So keep in mind that the big schools often pose as many challenges in their applications as they do in their classes! It's all benefits in the long run, but managing the task from the get-go can be daunting. Make sure you have the right tools to guide you on your journey.

And while you're at it, make sure you're not just avoiding questions like this guy.

New York Times Writes About the Common Application

Cree Bautista! Congratulations, you're on CEO blog! Weird, right?

This new article in the New York Times' Education section talks about unlikely hero to college applicants everywhere, Cree Bautista. Mr. Bautista saw fit to apply to NYU just a few hours after the Common App went live at the beginning of this month, and in so doing became the first applicant of the year through the site.

Cree's eagerness, though exceptional in degree, isn't uncommon in practice. The Common App's directors have already started talking about the speed of this year's applicant pool, and the sheer number of applications students are managing. From the Times' article:

"Rob Killion, executive director of the Common Application, said he was particularly unnerved by the flood of early submissions through the organization's website because he feared that students were rushing their essays. (This year’s Common Application was actually posted several weeks later than last year’s — not as a prod to get applicants to file later, but instead to allow high schools extra time to send final documents before the new year begins.)"

Remember, your top choice is not your only choice! There are many applications to be managed, and sites like CEO are here to get that work out in front of you and help you keep it under control from the get-go. While we can't all be like Cree, we can all save ourselves from those last-minute crushes of papers and apps.

The Journal of College Admission Writes on New Technologies

Where does the road in that logo roam? To new technologies, my friend.

The Journal of College Admission, a publication that discusses the National Association for College Admission Counseling (or NACAC), recently put out an article called "Using Technology in Undergraduate Admission: A Student Perspective."

It points out that nearly all students are using various forms of technology to guide them through the admissions process. In fact, the article mentions that, "One survey found that 88 percent of college-bound prospective students would be disappointed or possibly eliminate a school from consideration if the institution's web site did not meet expectations."

We encounter many college websites that are more complicated than they need to be, especially in their organization of honors, scholarship, and departmental essays, so we commiserate with applicants who are frustrated by this. Lucky for you, CEO's goal is to design a simple technology that provides a solution while streamlining your efforts to simplify and organize the process. Glad to have you with us as we head into the new application season.

Common Application for 2011 Is Live - New Schools Added

That's right. It says 35 years.

The Common App has updated for the class of 2015. This year's application features twenty-nine new schools, including Columbia University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, UConn, and three SUNY schools - Maritime College, Morrisville State College, and Potsdam.

As in past years, many schools require supplements to the Common App, which means additional writing, sorting, and organization. CEO is right on the edge of these releases and we make sure our application information is up to date. So as these supplements are made available, we'll have them here, and your Essay QuickFinders and Essay RoadMaps will update automatically to reflect the latest information for the schools you've selected.

Make the most of these early releases and get your writing done ahead of time! Remember that CEO is a great resource for finding scholarship and honors programs, too. That's cash money and respect! What else could you ask for?

One of the reasons schools make these requirements known so far ahead of time is to allow you to explore the departmental and honors requirements so many of them have without getting overwhelmed. Too often we hear about students who choose not to apply to programs or even entire universities just because of the application workload! That just won't do. So use CEO's tools as much as you can and keep your eye on the prize.

Essay Forum Coming To CEO Blog

With the latest Common App coming on August 1, we will be opening up a forum here to give you feedback on miscellaneous issues related to the college essay process. This way you'll not only save hours of work and enhance your efficiency with CEO's web tools but also get some clarity with the more confusing aspects of the process.

In the next few weeks we're going to up the ante a little bit and open the floor to you in a more hands on, nuts-and-bolts way. If you have a question you'd like answered about the college essay process in general, about a specific prompt, or about CEO, let us know by dropping us an email.

As we roll into the fall and the admission season heats up, we'll continue to maintain an open forum so you can get answers to your questions about your struggles, your curiosities, and your successes.