Ready, Set, Stop!
Yes the Common Application announced minimal changes for the next application cycle, and no, they didn’t change the essay questions except to provide more guidance on length (now 250-500 words). While the announcement of the changes might spur you on to begin writing about defining experiences, take a moment to step back.
The Common Application streamlines the application process to more than 400 colleges across the United States (and a few international colleges too). While this benefits students in many ways, it makes it easier to apply to colleges without truly assessing your interest in a particular institution. Spend some time learning about the colleges to which you might apply. If it is possible, visit some campuses. If not, look for local college fairs, evening programs from college consortiums, current students to return home from campus for summer vacation, and a variety of print and electronic resources. Before your classes let out for the year, consider what kind of learner you are what kind of living environment appeals to you.
As spring quickly turns to summer, don’t rush to complete your college applications the moment they are available. There is no prize for being the first to submit the common application. The prize comes a full year later, as you settle into a college campus that is right for you.