Writing Supplemental Essays

In addition to your personal essay, some schools require a supplemental essay as a part of the application process. In the supplemental essay, you are often asked to explain why you want to apply to that particular school and why you would be a good fit. Here are some tips to help you out as you tackle these types of prompts:

Identify your passions 

Before you get started on the essay, think carefully about where your interests lie. In addition to studying, what else do you hope to do while at college? Are you passionate about science and want to work in a research lab? Do you love sports and plan to join an intramural soccer team? Do you enjoy writing and dream of working for the school newspaper? Write it all down and come up with a list of a couple of things that are essential to your college experience. 

Do your research 

Now that you know what’s important to you, go onto the school’s website and find out what opportunities they have in those fields. Most schools have a list of available extracurriculars and student groups that you can join when you get there. It’s also beneficial to look up different academic programs, research opportunities, internships and study abroad options. As you’re doing this, jot down everything you find that makes you genuinely excited. 

Culture matters 

Another aspect you should touch on in your essay is the school culture. Is the school’s community based around sports? A tiny liberal arts college with a small-town feel? Is there a strong religious presence on campus? In your essay, you should identify the school culture and explain why it’s a good match for you. Use as much first-hand experience as you can. If you’ve visited, mention something you learned on the tour that stood out to you. If you haven’t had the chance to visit, browse on the school’s website and look at class sizes, research the city the school is located in and read about student experiences. The more information you can get, the better.

Quality over quantity

Once you’ve done your research, you’re ready to begin writing the essay. These essays are usually short: only one or two paragraphs. Since you do not have a ton of space, prioritize quality over quantity. First, in a few sentences, explain why the school would be a good culture fit for you. Then, rather than listing out every activity you find interesting, select two or three of the opportunities from your list and talk about why you want to do them in detail. Be as specific as possible, mentioning the exact names of the programs or student groups you’ve researched. Colleges will be impressed with your attention to detail and it’ll show that you’re serious about the school. 

Be authentic 

Sometimes students write down the things that they think colleges want to hear. However, you should always be true to yourself. For example, if the school is super religious, and that’s not something that matters to you, don’t say that it is. The most important thing is that you’re happy and successful wherever you go to college. This essay provides an excellent opportunity to think critically about your values and determine whether they align with that schools mission. In your research, you might find that it’s not a good fit, and that’s okay! It’s better to know early on. 

Don’t stress 

There are no right or wrong answers for this essay. As long as you put some thought into it and do your best to explain yourself, you’re all set.  Colleges want to see you for the student you are. Look at it as a chance for them to get to know you better. Don’t forget to have fun with it! 

Filling out the Common App Activities Section

You’ve uploaded a resume. You’ve submitted a transcript. Why on earth do you need to fill out the Common App activity section as well?

The activity section is a chance for you to display your interests, commitments, and accomplishments throughout high school. Colleges and universities will look at this section to understand how you spend your time outside of the classroom. Are you involved in your community? Have you shown leadership or taken initiative? This is your opportunity to define your passions clearly and concisely, and we’re going to show you how to stand out. 

Step 1: Choosing a category

With each extracurricular you upload, you’ll have to select one of the following categories:

  • Academic
  • Art
  • Athletics: Club
  • Athletics: JV/Varsity
  • Career-Oriented
  • Community Service (Volunteer)
  • Computer/Technology
  • Cultural
  • Dance
  • Debate/Speech
  • Environmental
  • Family Responsibilities
  • Foreign Exchange
  • Journalism/Publication

  • Junior R.O.T.C.
  • LGBT
  • Music: Instrumental
  • Music: Vocal
  • Religious
  • Research
  • Robotics
  • School Spirit
  • Science/Math
  • Student Gov.t./Politics
  • Theater/Drama
  • Work (paid)
  • Other Club/Activity

As you can tell, there are a lot of options, and it can be pretty confusing, especially since you can only choose one category per activity. Make sure to choose the category that’s most relevant (i.e. for Robotics Club, choose “Robotics” instead of “Science/Math.” 

Pro tip: it helps to diversify your categories so colleges can see that you have multiple interests. For example, if you are in a math club, academic decathlon, and tutoring, don’t list all three as “Academic.” Choose “Science/Math,” “Academic,” and “Community Service” respectively to show your different passions. 

Step 2: Position and description

Now that you’ve chosen a category, you need to say what you actually do. First, you have 50 characters to list your title and the name of the organization. Try to avoid just calling yourself a “member” – you do so much more than that! If you work at a food bank, you’re a volunteer. If you’re on an athletic team, list your position. 

For the description, you have 150 characters to explain what you’ve done with that organization. Because of the limited space, you don’t have to write in complete sentences, but be sure to keep it professional. It’s also easier to include numbers so that admissions officers can understand the scope of your work. Instead of saying “I wrote for the school newspaper,” you can say “Researched, wrote, and edited two 500-word articles per week.”

This is also the space to share your accomplishments. Be proud (without bragging)! Let colleges know how you’ve succeeded, whether in competitions, awards, or recognition from your peers or coaches. 

Step 3: Time commitment

There are four last questions to answer for each activity you list.

  1. Years active. You can list either school years or school breaks when you were involved. Make sure to include activities you did for multiple years if possible, as this shows your dedication.
  2. Hours per week. This doesn’t mean how many hours did you spend in meetings. If you’re in the band, did you practice each week? If you’re on the debate team, did you go to competitions? Think about how much time you commit to each activity, even if it’s not a formal meeting. This is a great way to show colleges how much you care about each activity. (Side note: Don’t lie! Admissions officers can count, so if you say you do 10 activities each for 10 hours every week, they might smell something fishy. There’s no need to overexaggerate, but be realistic about how you spend your time!)
  3. Weeks per year. This one is pretty simple – if you do it during the school year only, that’s about 40 weeks. If you participate in a seasonal sport, it’ll be around 15 to 20. 
  4. Continuing in college. No pressure! Colleges won’t reject you because you want to leave your oboe at home after high school. They just want to know what your true passions are… like the passion section of your CollegeFindMe account!

Last-minute tips

A few more things to remember:

  • You can only list 10 activities. This can include clubs, jobs, community service, or just about anything else that takes up your time outside of school. However, there’s no need to fill the list. Focus on the activities that you think best define you. This should probably include groups you’ve been with for longer, or organizations where you hold leadership positions. 
  • Make sure to list what your organization does. If they use an acronym (like YES, FFA, NHS, etc.) explain it in the description.
  • When organizing your 10 activities, put them in order of importance. Groups you’ve been with longer, groups you hold leadership positions in, and groups you’ve won awards in should go to the top.
  • If you’re still part of the organization, write the description in present tense. Grammar is important!

This may seem like a lot. But don’t worry. Think about who you are and what matters to you. That’s what you should convey in the activities section of the Common App. To get a head start, try organizing your passion in the CollegeFindMe app. We’ll help you work on personal statements, keep track of achievements, and build a portfolio. When applications are due, you’ll be ready to go!

How to Stand Out in College Interviews

Wiener Douyon, CollegeFindMe Intern

College interviews

Whether you’ve done a million interviews before or this is your first time, college interviews can feel especially stressful. A lot of colleges don’t do a great job explaining what will happen in an interview, and how it might help (or hurt) your application. That said, interviews can be a great way to learn more about a school, and to show off how excited you are to go there! Even if it’s intimidating, these interviews are just another opportunity to put your best foot forward.

What’s the point?

To put it simply, it depends on the college. College interviews play different roles depending on where you’re applying to. While some schools consider them a mandatory part of the application process, others may make them optional. Some colleges may not even offer interviews at all.

However, if given the chance to interview, you should seize the opportunity! It is informative: the admissions officer learns about you, and you learn more about the college. So let’s make you a pro!

How to prepare

There are many ways to prepare for a college interview. However, researching prior to an interview is a great way to start. The more you know, the easier it is to show off your excitement, especially about aspects of the school that set it apart from the crowd.

  • If the school has a specific extracurricular activity, course, major, or housing option that is really exciting to you and rare at other colleges, bring it up! 
  • If you have questions, ask them! A lot of schools ask alumni to do their interviews, which means the person on the other side of the table has been in your shoes. This is your chance to get the personal perspective of someone who’s already been where you want to go!

Some interviewers might also ask you some questions that can be pretty tough to answer if you’re unprepared. Here are some things to consider:

  • What would you change about your community?
  • How have your individual experiences shaped who you are today? These can include experiences of loss, pride, or joy. Reflect and look at what led you to this day.
  • Reflect on your academic interests, hobbies, and methods of stress-relief. 

And, most importantly, be ready to talk about something other than your test scores, classes, and extra-curriculars. Remember: you’ve already sent in your transcripts, your score reports, and your essays. This is your chance to show off a side of you that colleges might not know. Talk about who you are, what you love, and why you like this school!

Final note

As someone who has lead interviews for college admissions, I can say that every student has a boat-load of qualities that make them amazing. All you have to do is figure out how to…

  • Talk about personal stories
  • Portray the best part of yourself
  • Stand out to colleges by showing off the parts of yourself that they don’t already know

Even if it means practicing in the mirror, you can find the confidence to show off and shine. Take a deep breath and get ready to glow!

Tips for First Generation College Applicants

First of all, congratulations on going to college! You’re the first person in your family to do so, and everyone in your family is proud of you. Don’t take this for granted; it takes an extraordinary and brave person to be the first to go to college. That said, college is probably unlike anything you’ve done before, so here’s a few tips to get you through your first year and eventually to graduation!

First Generation

First Generation students may face challenges in college that are unique from their peers’. A major one is adapting to the new environment of college. There are often unspoken rules, norms, and expectations that not all First Gen students will understand at first. Another sneaking issue many college students face is the hidden expenses of college, which may catch First Gen students in particular off guard. It can also be difficult to manage all the different academic expectations and resources, but students can definitely learn how to navigate college quickly and effectively.

Seek academic resources

You’re going to college for a reason: to get your degree! College journey will put you through some of the toughest obstacles and challenges academically. Luckily, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. Many colleges offer a wide variety of academic help, from tutors to office hours with professors where you can go over assignments and readings. Some schools even have programs designed to help you develop study habits and a study schedule.

Make friends

College is also about the experience! Don’t forget to make friends, especially ones who complement your study habits. Having someone who helps you can keep you on track and focused when essential test dates and projects are coming up is a great way to stay motivated while still having fun. Look for someone with a different perspective from you so you can bounce ideas off of them, but who also has a similar work ethic. One of the best things about college is that anything, even studying, can become a social activity. 

Visit the financial aid office

Meeting with the financial aid office to discuss your expenses will help you avoid overspending or any sneaking bills. More often than not, these advisors will help you and keep you updated with any looming charges. It might feel awkward to be in there a lot, but know it will pay off substantially in the long run. Also, remember that you aren’t alone. The financial aid office is there for a reason: to help students like you succeed! 

Take chances

College is really a chance to try everything you’ve ever wanted to try. Want to play a sport? Try out for a team! Take classes on subjects you’ve never even heard of before. Study abroad. Join clubs with weird names and make friends with people different from you. At the end of the day, you’ll learn more about yourself if you go out on a limb and try something new!

Stay healthy

College can be super stressful, which can affect your health. Pulling all-nighters or drinking too much coffee can take a toll, especially if you don’t give yourself the chance to relax, stretch, and have fun. Take advantage of healthy options for food, gyms on campus, and outdoor spaces. These will help you stay in shape both physically and mentally. 

Don’t doubt yourself

You’re the first one from your family to go to college. You’re there for a reason, so don’t forget it. College journey takes a lot of hard work and dedication, but you’ve already proven that you have what it takes to get into a great school. Now it’s time to show off what makes you such an excellent student!

Avoiding Application Costs

Meghna Chhabra ‘20, Prospect Hill Academy

You’ve taken your tests. You’ve written your essays. You’re ready to submit your applications, but there’s one more piece of the puzzle. Some colleges charge application fees to help pay for reading your college application and making admission decisions. And, ironically, some financial aid services like the CSS (College Scholarship Service) Profile charge you to apply. So while you may want to apply to 20 schools, keep in mind that there will be a cost. 

Application costs

College applications can range from anywhere between $40 to $90, though the average application fee is $60. Luckily, not all schools charge application fees, or may offer fee waiver programs (we’ll talk about these a bit later).

Additional costs

There are some additional costs for taking the SAT and ACT, sending in your SAT and ACT score reports, and submitting your CSS profile to the schools you’re applying to. 

  • The SAT costs $49.50 (no essay) or $64.50 (with essay). There’s an additional $30 fee if you registered late. 
  • The ACT costs $52.00 (no writing) or $68.00 (with optional writing test). There’s an additional $29.50 fee if you registered late. 
  • It costs $12 for each school you send your SAT score report to, and $13 for each school you send your ACT score report to.
  • The CSS Profile costs $25 to fill out and send to one school. There’s a $16 charge for each additional school you send yourCSS Profile to.

Fee waivers

Those costs can be a little scary, and can add up pretty quickly. Luckily, there are several ways you can avoid the fees for the SAT, ACT, and college applications.

  • College Board offers fee waivers for students taking the SAT or ACT and when sending in score reports.
  • The Common App offers fee waivers when applying to schools.
  • Some colleges also offer their own fee waiver programs, which you may have to apply for separately. 

SAT waivers

You can avoid the SAT costs if: 

  • You’re enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
  • Your family’s income is within the Income Eligibility Guidelines.
  • You’re enrolled in a federal, state, or local program for low-income families (e.g., Federal TRIO programs such as Upward Bound).
  • Your family receives public assistance.
  • You live in federally subsidized public housing or a foster home, or are homeless.
  • You’re a ward of the state, or an orphan.

You can use your SAT fee waiver as many times as you want. 

ACT waivers

To get an ACT fee waiver, you have to be a junior or senior, take your test in the US or a US territory, and meet one of the same standards set for the SAT (except for students who are orphans or wards of the state). Your fee waiver can only be used to send your score profile to a maximum of 20 schools. 

CSS Profile waivers

You can get a CSS Profile fee waiver if: 

  • You received a SAT fee waiver
  • Your family’s expected income is $45,000 or less, or
  • You’re an orphan or ward of the state under the age of 24.

Other options

If you don’t qualify for any of these fee waivers, there are still plenty of options. Try some of the following: 

  • Apply to diversity and outreach programs at colleges
  • Email your admission representatives at colleges explaining your financial circumstances
  • Just ask for one! Colleges might give you one if you show demonstrated interest in the school.

Writing Your Best College Essay

Marc Leroux-Parra, CollegeFindMe Intern

By this point, you’ve probably heard about the essay portion of college applications. If you aren’t the biggest fan of writing, or applications, or writing about applications, you might not be too excited to get started. However, the application essay is the biggest opportunity you, as a student, have to tell your story. Don’t let the fear of sounding “backwards” or “different” impair and water down your writing; colleges want you to tell them your unique background, personal perspective, and experiences. This can make the essay a bit more fun, but you should still definitely take it seriously. So let’s go through some tips for knocking your essay out of the park.

Time management

As someone who applied to all of my schools on the same day, let me give you an insider piece of advice: You cannot write an essay in a day. College application essays require multiple drafts, especially if you want to meet the word count while still being clear and direct. So give yourself plenty of time to organize your thoughts. A draft doesn’t have to be big and complicated; just some bullet points that can turn into sentences and paragraphs and, finally, a personal essay.

Content

Admissions officers want to see your background, personal developments, and experiences reflected within your personal essay. The prompts are merely different lenses through which they expect you learn about you as a person. Before you write, it is helpful to sit down—either alone or with a parent or close friend—and brainstorm a list of the most impactful, emotional, and difficult moments of your life, positive or negative. From this list, you can narrow down the list to one or two events which have defined who you are today. If, at this point, you have more than one finalist event, it can help to analyze each event in detail by asking yourself these questions:

  • When and where did the event take place?
  • Who were you before the event?
  • Who were/are you after the event?
    • What changed? How did this influence your actions moving forward with your life? How have other events been influenced by the effects of this one?
  • Who was around you during the event? How did this change?
  • What emotions did you feel during the event? What emotions do you feel now, looking back at the event?

These questions will help you form a fuller understanding of how a particular event shaped your life, and hopefully make it easier to put it into words.

Word count

In writing these essays, every sentence counts. Every sentence should drive your story forward and provide new information about yourself. That isn’t to say you can’t describe a particular moment with more than one sentence, but if you do, make sure you highlight a different part or detail. And make sure you always, always, highlight how this event has shaped your personality, development, life, and who you are now.

Voice

Keep in mind, you don’t have to just describe who you were and who are now. Let it shine by using your voice. Are you funny? Make (appropriate) jokes! Are you mature? Use language that reflects that. Are you clever? A little word play never hurts. However, don’t try to be someone you aren’t. The whole point of the essay is to paint a picture of who you are. Try telling your story out loud and recording it before you write it down. This will help your essay sound more “you” than anything that comes out of a thesaurus. 

Final note

This might sound like a lot to juggle. And it is, but it’s possible. Every single person who has gone to college has written a successful essay, and you will too. Don’t rush, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And most importantly, don’t try to be anything other than yourself, because that’s the best thing you can be. 

Bridging the Gap (Year)

Morgan Heath-Powers ‘24, Southern Methodist University

If you’re connected to CollegeFindMe, you likely intend to go to college. Me too! But if you told me at the start of senior year that I’d defer college enrollment to spend a gap year managing a software start-up, I wouldn’t believe you. Navigating the college application process is daunting in itself. Changing plans last minute is even scarier…and sometimes the best thing ever. 

What’s a gap year? 

A gap year/semester is a time when high school or college students press pause on their formal academics. You can travel, work, volunteer, or enjoy some other life experience. Before we dive into the fun details, you must first ensure that your college approves your gap year. Most schools offer great resources to submit a gap year request before being accepted, or in my case, afterwards. Regardless, be prepared to explain the nature of your gap year. What do you plan to do and accomplish? How it will further your continued growth as a student, both personally and professionally? I recommend collaborating with your college counselor or CollegeFindMe to begin your consideration as early as possible. 

Planning ahead

Regardless of where you come from, we can all relate to some form of pressure from our family, friends, teachers, or community concerning our post-graduation plans. In my case, I was intent on leaving home straight after high school to attend some elite out-of-state university. The idea of taking a gap year was never on my radar… until October of my senior year. When I started to a new internship with a local software start-up, I figured it was just another chance to boost my professional experience on the road to college. Little did I know that I’d spend the days leading up to graduation learning more from my job than my classes, writing application essays from an airplane en route to business trips abroad! I was busier (and happier) than ever. But as decision day drew closer, I realized that I was seriously considering deferring college for a year. 

Making a decision

I’ll be honest, saying “yes” to the gap year was one of the most difficult choices I’ve ever made. I can still remember one night in February when I came home from work, tears in my eyes. It had been a great day and my boss proposed that I take a gap year to work for the company full-time. As excited as I was, it suddenly hit me that I’d be putting my dreams of college on pause to step into the real, professional world far earlier than I’d ever expected to. But if I’ve learned anything since that night, it’s that some of the choices that scare us the most are the ones that call us toward the opportunities and life experiences we’re most meant for. I believe that getting down to the root of what we’re meant to do comes down to two main factors: exposure and preparation. 

Exposure

I got recruited for this internship (now full-time job that I LOVE) by a family friend who knew I was heavily involved in an international business organization throughout high school. I was interested in entrepreneurship, so I positioned myself in environments, learning opportunities, and networks of people who’d help me to forward that passion. If you’re still in high school, here are some ways you can start gaining exposure:

  • Use free time every week to research jobs that align with your passions, favorite classes, extracurriculars, hobbies, etc. 
  • Explore free, online courses through platforms like Coursera and edX to learn about topics that aren’t offered at your school.
  • Revisit some of the clubs and student organizations at your school (if it wasn’t for DECA, I wouldn’t have discovered my passion for business and working with people!).
  • Work with your school counselor to identify some volunteer or internship opportunities you might enjoy.

Preparation

As you start to explore new opportunities, it might feel difficult to choose between so many options – from internships, to gap years, to universities. Prepare yourself by taking the time to consider them all. I’d often ask myself “where would I grow the most?”. This is when other people’s opinions (family, friends, the media, etc.) can start to sway you one way or the other. When in doubt, come back to your exposure – what’s most exciting and fulfilling to YOU? Trust me, people will have opinions regardless of what decision you make, so you might as well choose the path that aligns with your unique passions and aspirations. Give yourself some credit for how far you’ve come, take note of what excites you the most about your future, and go for it!

Making it work

While I felt scared to take a leap of faith into the whole gap year thing at first, Southern Methodist University’s willingness to defer my acceptance (Go Mustangs!) renewed my excitement. I became really intentional with the goals I hoped to achieve throughout the year before I’d return to school. Now half-way through the experience, here are some of my biggest takeaways, tips, and learning lessons:

  • Whatever you do, pour your heart into it. For me, this means that I’m intent on going to work everyday with real heart – to forward this company, our mission, and our team toward success. Remember when I talked about following your passions? This is huge! Work doesn’t feel so much like work when you believe in what you’re doing. 
  • Invest in yourself and build some technical skills. Here’s the thing. I do NOT like computer science. I came into GalenaHill from the business management side of things. But since starting, I’ve become truly interested in the software, have written our two most recent patents, and am starting to learn front-end code! What does that mean for you? Don’t underestimate the value of exposure. You just might discover a new interest, passion, or skill you didn’t even know was there.
  • Have fun! Since starting my gap year, I’ve been making intentional time for the things I love – my own side hustles, my health and wellness, my church, my broader community, and more. I even started a podcast called Real College Talk where we bring forth real stories and empowering advice to help make your post-grad decision truly your own. Check out our collaboration with CollegeFindMe here

Final notes

Now, is it all sunshine and rainbows? Not always, no. But I think the beauty of taking a gap year is that it’s a unique opportunity to create your own curriculum for your education, your professional growth, and your life. At the end of the day, it is YOUR life. If you expose yourself to positive opportunities, put in the proper preparation, and plan how you’ll make the most of your experience regardless of what you choose, I promise that you can’t go wrong. 

There is no “right” way to do high school, college, or life. But if you’re looking to say “yes” to the experiences that will bring you the most fulfillment, happiness, and success, I think you’re in the perfect place. 

Rooting for you, Morgan

Getting a Head Start: Early Applications

Jeremy Caldwell ‘19, Tufts University

Let’s face it: there are a lot of deadlines to keep track of when applying to colleges. But the most important date to know is when your application is due. For most schools, this is probably sometime in January or February. But there are a few alternatives to the regular application deadlines: Early Decision and Early Action.

Early Decision

Early Decision (ED) is the earliest you can apply for a school, with deadlines usually in November and decisions released in December or January. Not every school offers ED, but if they do it means that, if you apply ED, you are promising to attend that school if they accept you. This can be a great option if you know for sure what school you want to go to, but ED can be a bit tricky. While you’re allowed to apply to other schools by the regular decision (RD) deadline, if you are accepted ED you must withdraw all of your other RD applications. This means that you won’t be able to compare financial aid packages or change your mind if you find another school you like better. 

Early Action

Unlike ED, Early Action (EA) is not binding. You either apply early or on the RD deadline, but you hear back before the RD decisions are released, probably in January or February. This is a good option if you want to avoid the stress of waiting until March to hear back, but you still want to compare financial aid packages at different schools. 

Why apply early

Early deadlines can really cut down on the stress from waiting to hear back from schools, but it’s important to know that you can usually only apply to one school early. Deciding which to apply to can be tricky, but think of it this way: If you apply to ten schools, and you get into all of them, which would you choose to go to? Your top school should be the one that you apply early to, since it’s the one you’d want attend anyways. 

Some ED schools also respond to you before the RD deadline. This means you can save a lot of money on application fees if you apply ED to one school and wait to send in RD applications depending on whether or not you get into your ED school. 

Drawbacks of ED and EA

As mentioned, applying ED means you can’t compare financial aid packages, which can make it difficult if you get into your ED school but they don’t offer you enough financial aid. There can also be a lot of pressure to decide which school you should apply early to, and finish your applications two or more months before the RD deadline. 

If you think ED or EA is right for you, go for it! Just be sure to stay on top of all of the components of your application so you can be ready in time. And take the time to compare all of the schools you’ve looked at to make sure you choose your favorite for ED or EA. 

The World of Portfolios

Briti Prajapat, CollegeFindMe Intern

Out of those hundreds of thousands of applicants, how can you stand out? Are you excelling in school? Do your test scores set a promising representation of you and your abilities? If you’re an artist, then your talents might be another great way to set you apart from the crowd.

Whether it be dancing, painting, acting, or singing, your skills may be rarer than you think. Just by submitting a clip of you singing or a collage of your amazing drawings, you can stand out from other students in the application pool.

What should you send?

Well, the hard part is to choose what to use. Answer these questions: what are you most proud of? What do you think reflects your abilities? And lastly, is it unique?

If you want to turn in a video of you singing, choose a song that is challenging, yet you have managed to not just sing it well, but also highlight your vocals. You also need to be careful not to choose a song that contains inappropriate words and sentences. So basically, select a song that you can sing during a family gathering or a school event.

Furthermore, for artists, make sure to save ALL your artwork from previous years of art classes. Choose your favorites, but if you have any questions, seek help from your art teacher. Your pile of artwork for your portfolio should include only 10 to 20 of your best artworks, showing both your skills in a variety of media as well as your development in a few media over time. This will help to show schools the range of your talents, but also your commitment to mastering one or two artforms.

Unlike drawers, dancers should try to concentrate on one specific type of dance. If you are a dancer and you want to submit a group dance, be sure that it focuses mostly on you.

An important note

Some colleges and universities do not necessarily have a section on Common App where you can attach your portfolio. To submit your portfolio to these schools, you can mention it in the “Additional Information” section and attach the link. Also, you can send a professional email to the admissions committee of the school informing them about your interest in submitting a portfolio.

Don’t be afraid to display your true talents!  Show these colleges what you have to offer through our platform – we’re working on a new function where students can share their profile photos and videos with schools!

From one artist to another, I wish you luck!