Seniors - it's never too early to start working on gathering those college recommendation letters!
Counselors often get a lot of questions about this process for Common App. The tutorial below explains exactly how to assign recommenders to your account. Keep in mind that the process for adding a counselor and the process for adding a teacher (or other recommender) are different. You must sign your FERPA release before you can access this page.
Tips for Best Practice
1. It's always nice to ask a recommender if they will write you a letter in person before just putting their email on your account. Once you put someone's email, they will get an auto-generated email asking them to submit a letter for you. So talk to your recommenders in person before sending the invitation.
2. Once you add a recommender's email, you should follow up with them to make sure that they received the invitation. Sometimes students spell the email address incorrectly, or sometimes it can go to a person's spam mail. A recommender cannot submit a letter without having an email invitation, so always check to make sure they receive it.
Make sure you spell your counselor's email correctly too! They're copied below:
Mrs. Burkhardt: Christina_Burkhardt@rockbridge.k12.va.us
Mrs. Pedigo: Rhonda_Pedigo@rockbridge.k12.va.us
Mr. Rapoza: Mathew_Rapoza@rockbridge.k12.va.us
3. Send your recommender invites IN ADVANCE! After you've asked a recommender to write you a letter, make sure you send the invite well before you need it done. Sending it early does not mean that your recommender will need to do it immediately, but it does make sure they are able to access the invitation. Don't wait until the last minute, otherwise you'll leave your recommender scrambling on the last day to submit your info. The process for counselors to submit letters is actually REALLY time-consuming (we have to answer a TON of questions about each student) so the more time you give us, the better! YOU CAN ASSIGN RECOMMENDERS BEFORE FINISHING (or even starting...) YOUR PORTIONS OF THE APPLICATION, so there's no need to wait!
For more tips... view this youtube video!
Seniors, have you been working hard on your college applications? Later this month, Common App will be offline (July 24th through August 1st) for a roll-over. Don't panic! It will be back and updated for the 2017-18 school year. If you created your account before July 24th, it will still be there when the roll-over is over. :-)
In the meantime, you can work on your college application essays! The 2017-18 Common App essays were announced back in February. Check them out below:
COMMON APP ESSAYS 2017-2018 ---- (650 word limit)
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story. [No change from last year]
2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Revised from last year]
3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised from last year]
4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution. [No change from last year]
5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised from last year]
6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]
7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you've already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. [New]
Seniors, if you are applying to 4 year colleges, chances are high that one of the colleges will utilize the Common Application, or "Common App" for your application.
What is Common App?
It's awesome because it saves you a lot of time by allowing you to answer questions once that are then transferred to multiple applications.
But, it can be a bit confusing to use at first.
Therefore, since you're on summer vacation, now is the perfect time to start learning about Common App. The tutorial below will walk you through the basics of how the system works.
*KEEP IN MIND* The application rolls over each year in July. So right now, we recommend just getting to know how Common App works - but don't go answering every question because a lot of that info won't save during the roll-over.
Things that will save during the roll-over:
Things that will NOT save during the roll-over: (AKA DON'T DO THESE UNTIL AUGUST!)
* Answers to college-specific questions
* Recommender invitations
* Forms submitted by recommenders
* Your Release Authorization and FERPA selection
* Responses to questions that have been changed or removed
If you need any help, the RCHS Counseling Team is happy to help you! :-)
^^^^^^ That youtube account has MANY tutorials to walk you through the Common App process. Check them all out! :-)
Mrs. Burkhardt has created a new tutorial video for how to use the Common Application. Check it out below for help getting started. Please feel free to see your counselor with any questions - we are happy to help!
This post will be particularly relevant to the class of 2017!
The Common Application (or Common App) has implemented a few important changes for this year.
First, Common App has created a smart-phone app called CommonApp onTrack. Common App onTrack features include college submission status view, reminders, and push notifications that help students keep track of their application progress and ahead of each college deadline. For more information, check out the youtube video below:
CommonApp Account Info Rollover
Applications from the 15-16 school year will roll over into the 16-17 school year. In the past, if a junior started their application in the spring or early summer, the data did not roll over beginning in August. THIS IS NO LONGER THE CASE. Rising seniors can now begin working on their Common App accounts NOW without fear that the data will be deleted in August. However, some info will not roll over. Please see the info below:
What information will carry over from one year to the next?
We will preserve the answers you provided to any questions that appear in the six sections of the “Common App” tab: Profile, Family, Education, Testing, Activities, and Writing.
What info will NOT carry over from one year to the next?
Click here for more info.
Despite many changes to the Common App this year, the essay prompts have not changed. We recommend that students using common app begin working on these essays early on in the summer. Save these in a word document or on your google drive account because if you put these in your common app account, they will not roll over in august (see above).
NOTE: Individual colleges may require or encourage supplementary essays that are specific to that particular college. That info will be available in the college's specific section of the application.
The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don't feel obligated to do so. (The application won't accept a response shorter than 250 words.)
2016-2017 Essay Prompts
1. Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
2. The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
3. Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
4. Describe a problem you've solved or a problem you'd like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma - anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.
5. Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
The Common App can be a great time-saving way to apply to college if at least a few of the colleges that you are interested in applying to are partnered with Common App. There are over 600 schools on Common App currently. To see a full list, click here. Specifically, the screen shot below shows which schools in Virginia are on the Common App:
Mrs. Burkhardt created a video to help students and families understand the Common App process and set up their accounts. To view that video, click here.
Here are some highlights from the video:
Helpful Common App Tools
The Common App announced a few weeks ago that over 60 Colleges and Universities have joined for this coming admissions cycle.
While most of the schools are out of state, Old Dominion University is a local school that has joined for this year!
Common App has also announced changes to the essay prompts for this year.
You can read more about the new essay prompts by clicking here.
Seniors - if you are thinking about applying to a school that uses the Common App, you may want to review these questions and start brainstorming your responses early so you have plenty of time during the school year to work on your applications.
Please note that individual schools may have other questions to answer in addition to these Common App questions. Schools can add their own supplemental questions.
Remember - you can contact your school counselor if you have any questions!