An Un-Common App

Nathan Dahm

We’ve heard all about the convenience of using the Common Application from guidance counselors, admissions officers, and teachers, and, as fall begins, seniors are ready to begin College Applications believing that the widely recognized “Common App” will make the process more efficient, reduce the stress of the admissions process,  and still “wow” college admissions officers with one beautifully crafted application. This single application would allow one to pour all of his or her creative juices into an application that one would believe was equivalent to the brilliance expressed in a painting by Michelangelo, or a sculpture chiseled by some Greek or Roman god. Thanks to the Common Application, every school would see the best student, not some sleep-deprived, un-proofread, beyond-stressed student. Sadly, this is merely a dream. The reality is that several schools do not accept the Common App, so the application process—already inherently stressful—is made evermore so by the continuous lists of essays to write, supplements to compose, and forms to complete. Once realized, students carry on by expressing some sort of expletive, and then proceeding to look up the appropriate application for the specific school they are applying to—whatever obscure application process they may be.  Ultimately, the “to do” list continues to grow with each school that does not accept the Common Application, making for a stressful, wild ride throughout the applications process as summer turns into fall, fall into winter, and winter into spring when acceptance or rejection letters finally see the mailboxes of eager applicants. Let’s not forget that in addition to applications, students still have to deal with the stresses of scholarships and the worries of financial aid and FAFSA—oh joy.