October is #CollegeApplicationMonth, recognizing and encouraging high school seniors who are starting the process of applying for college. Iowa College Aid’s “College Application Campaign” works in schools around Iowa to help students complete at least one college application during the course of the school day.
According to many education professionals (including a high school principal and college representative), completing only one college application can severely reduce a student’s chances to getting accepted to a school. While students may have already targeted which school is their number one choice, applying to other schools will provide alternatives, should they not be accepted. The term “safety school” might be thrown around, but, for many students, finding a school that fits their needs can result in having more than one option when it comes to a school that can help them meet their goals.
One way of applying for multiple schools easily is by completing the “Common Application.” This application allows students to complete one application and then choose the schools to which the application should be sent. While this can save time, not all schools accept the Common Application. Eleven Iowa schools are included in the 149 schools in the Midwest available through the Common Application, but include public schools such as the University of Northern Iowa, as well as many private colleges and universities, such as Drake University.
For Katie Pilcher, a mother who has recently sent her son to college, the Common Application provided a great tool for saving time and relieving some of the stress connected with the college application process. She shares her recent experiences:
My advice is to attend any meetings with counselors about the application process that schools provide. It is also helpful to become very familiar with the Common App, since most colleges use that. Parents and students should do online searching about colleges they’re interested in so that they understand each college‘s application process and deadlines.
The whole process can be stressful at times. My sons wanted some freedom and independence in filling out applications, yet at times they needed gentle reminders about deadlines!
Both of my sons applied to several schools so that their bases were covered and because they were interested in more than one school. Some colleges require essays above and beyond the essay part of the Common App, which can prolong the application process and put added pressure on students. Therefore, it’s important to determine the application process of colleges, especially when applying to several colleges.