Hey Class of 2022! Here’s Part 2 of my August Rant that I promised you!

TWO QUICK POINTERS before I begin:

#1. If you’ve not gotten started on your first (of two, if you follow my advice) College Essay, find and read my August Part One Rant (sent July 31) for tips and pointers to get you going.

#2. I suggest to most seniors that you plan to take BOTH the October 2nd SAT and the October 23rd ACT. Yes, this year they’re going to be optional for most schools, and yes, if you don’t test well you can skip these, but there are several compelling reasons many students may benefit from taking (and retaking) these tests in the fall. I also recommend that you prep for these tests using Kahn Academy – it’s free and convenient – by spending 45 minutes a day, three times a week for eight weeks. This week is the week to start in anticipation of the October 2nd SAT.
I don’t want to take up more bandwidth on Standardized tests here, but if you have questions or concerns about the above give me a call and let’s talk.

Every year on August 1st a brand spanking new Common Application comes out, and that means that you can – and should – access, register for free, and – wonder of wonders – begin filling out what will become (for many if not all of your colleges) your bona fide, actual college application!!!

So join in my excitement and go to this web site:


and click on the “start your application” link, hit the “First Year Student” button, follow directions to create your account and get your college applications started!

Those of you who registered for and began the 2020/21 common application (that’s you if you started the Common App prior to August 1) can do an “application rollover” by logging in to your existing common application and follow a few simple steps and affirmations. It’s so easy even a college advisor like myself can do it, so jump right in and get in to the new 2021/22 Common Application and do your thing! All information will roll over EXCEPT any potential college supplemental writing you did – those you must start anew.

Note that you need to include at least one number, letters (one capital, one lower case) and a symbol (!@#$%^&*) in your ten to thirty-two (really?!!) character password. Make sure you write down your password (and don’t be too cute – you don’t want to lose it!).

After you’re registered go to the “College Search” link and type in the name – or partial name – of a college from your top 10 list and hit “search”. You don’t need to fill in every blank – takes too long – just a partial name and you’ll be able to locate your school.

Click the box next to your college and then click “Add”.

Do this for every school on your list (don’t be exclusive at this stage – you can add and remove schools freely over the next five months) and then go to your ‘Dashboard’ and voila, there’s your college list!

If you can’t find a particular school (after making sure you’re spelling it correctly) it most likely means that that school doesn’t take the Common Application. Not to worry! Just make a note that you’ll have to register for and fill out that school’s own on-line application. No big deal!

Now begin filling out your Common Application. The sections are: “Profile”  “Family”  “Education” “Testing”  “Activities” and “Writing”.

The last section, “Courses and Grades”, is somewhat nonsensical and only a handful of larger Universities require you to complete it. If it says you have to curse a bit and save that for later. It’s just busywork, and you’ll need to work off your transcript so get a hold of that this fall if you don’t already have a copy.
Note that with the exception of the “Writing” and “Activities” sections, all the other portions of the Common App are easily completed. 
You’ll also be able to see which, if any, of your schools require additional writing – either in the form of an additional essay or short answer questions. Look in the dashboard under each college for their “Questions” section. Most of the “Questions” will be quick and easy, go ahead and fill out all those short answer responses. Occasionally you’ll see a question which requires a mini-essay type response. Examples of questions you might see include:
“Elaborate on one of your activities”
“Why have you decided to apply to our school?”
“Explain your first choice of a major – what has led you to choose this as your field of study”.
Questions of this sort may be limited to as few as 100 words or as many as 400 or 500 words. For some schools you may even be asked to complete a full-blown additional essay of 650 words.
Keep track of ALL EXTRA REQUIRED WRITING by listing them on a chart, along with the asking school’s name.

So there you have your next assignment: register for the Common Application and then fill out the “Profile”, “Family”, “Education”,  “Testing” and “Activities” sections of the common application! This is exciting!!! You’re really doing it!!!!!!


Remember from my last rant that this is a great time to be writing your first and your second (extra…additional…icing on the cake…one for the Gipper) essays. You also should have (or be constructing) an academic / activity resume which you’ll find multiple uses for. Those of you who’ve met with me have a template to follow. If you’ve not met with me – what are you waiting for?!! – contact me and I’ll share said template with you.

If any of the above has you confused, if you’re still struggling to get going on your essays, resume, or list of colleges, give me a call or email and we’ll chat. This time of year I’m about helping students organize their ‘to do’ list for the remainder of the summer and the fall.

And remember to relax, it’s summer vacation fer cryin’ out loud! Keep safe and sane and enjoy yourself!

From Gary, the College Guy

P.S. As always, feel free to forward this email to other rising seniors and their parents, or send me names/email addresses of folks whom you think would benefit from reading my rants. Or you can refer your friends to my web page, which has all my rants for anyone to see. IMHO there’s not enough good, coherent information out there, and you’ve just waded through about the best there is!

P.P.S. If you’d rather not receive my College Guy Rants, let me know, and you won’t!