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The College Crunch

CommonApp dashboard featuring the profile, activities, and writing section on left

As most early action college deadlines come to a close, most Ramapo students have submitted their common apps, and the waiting game has begun. For the underclassmen, however, the looming cloud of college will approach faster than you know it, and it’s never a bad idea to get an early jump on the college application process as a whole. 

So what can you expect to do? The majority of your college application will be done through a website called the CommonApp, which allows you to connect to the schools you wish to apply to, and submit your application directly through their website. The CommonApp is split into three main sections, which will be combined into each application you submit.

The first section is going to be your profile. This section will be a basic overview of questions regarding your general status. This includes your personal information, financial info, family history, and grades/test scores. The second section is your activities, in which you are granted the option of listing up to 10 activities to paint a fuller picture of who you are. These activities can  range from in-school ventures such as clubs and sports, to outside activities such as work experience, personal hobbies, and community service. Keep in mind, you have limited space to describe these, so make every word count! Finally, the last section is labeled writing, and will be where you post your CommonApp personal essay, which will be sent to all your schools. 

While that concludes your personal application, you still have some work to do. Each school you apply to in the CommonApp will include their own list of questions, and sometimes personal essays, in which you will have to fill out for their specific school. Many state sponsored schools, (Ex. University of Delaware) will also require you to submit an SRAR, which is a self reported academic transcript, in which you will have to manually enter your grades. 

While the process may seem daunting, the best way to tackle the application process is to not put everything off until the last minute. When asked about how he handled his college admissions, Ramapo student Yazan Tinawi stated, “I started filling out my applications over the summer, and by the time school started, I was feeling good about where I wanted to apply.” Make sure to manage your time, and you’ll find yourself breezing through and saving a lot of stress. Also keep in mind that there is a plethora of help available right at your fingertips. 

Outside of a variety of outside sources such as friends, family, and tutors, Ramapo teachers and guidance counselors are always willing to lend a helping hand, whether that’s answering questions concerning the process, looking at your essays, or finding out other information. Ramapo teacher Ms. Angerson advised that you should find out if any of the classes you are taking offer dual enrollment. She states, “As a teacher and parent that just went through this process with my son, I know that when colleges see you are taking a college class in high school it definitely looks great on your application.” These dual enrollment classes can also commonly earn you college credits. Furthermore, emails and reminders are commonly sent out by Ms. Perry and Ramapo guidance concerning college updates, info, and reminders. Remember that everyone else is in the same boat, and by looking at the positives, college admissions is a very manageable and overall rewarding process.

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