Senior College Guide

College Application Process

Welcome to Common App!

In a time not so long ago, any student applying to college completed their applications with a paper and pen. This evolved into online applications, making the process much easier. However, you were still required to go to the website of each school and type in the same information over and over. Well, those days are OVER! Welcome to Common Application (, a web based program free to new and transfer students applying to college. This program allows you to complete one (1) application for any of the over 450 member colleges. For you, this translates to less time spent retyping your name, address, GPA, etc.! The basic features of Common App include:

  • Complete one application for multiple Common App schools.
  • Pay application fees
  • Complete essays
  • Submit the supplemental forms from the universities to which you are applying (addition-al essay questions, applications for majors, religious or academic endorsements etc).

To use common app do the following:

1. Go to

2. Register for an account by clicking the link under the login box.

3. Complete the initial information page and submit with your email address.

4. Write down your new user name and password in a safe place.

5. Log in and begin completing the common application.

Naviance Family Connection

Family Connection is a Web-based program specifically designed for students and parents. This comprehensive website can assist the student and parents in helping to make decisions about courses, colleges and careers as well as assist in finding funding. Family Connection also provides up-to-date information that is specific to Union High School. Finally, it allows the Counseling Department at Union High to easily share information with students and parents about up-coming meetings, news, events, and other Web resources for college and career information.

Click for Naviance Step by Step Application Process

Senior Planning Calendar and Tips for College Essays

Dates and Events To Remember

............. a word about College Essays

Generally, there are three types of questions: The "you," the "why us," and the "creative." Here are tips and actual sample questions for each type. Don't assume that the questions are currently being used by a college (most colleges adjust questions annually).

The "You" Question

Many colleges ask for an essay that boils down to, "Tell us about yourself." The school just wants to know you better and see how you'll introduce yourself. For example:

"Please complete a one-page personal statement and submit it with your application." (James Madison University)

"How would you describe yourself as a human being? What quality do you like best in yourself and what do you like least? What quality would you most like to see flourish and which would you like to see wither?" (Bates College)

Your Approach

This direct question offers a chance to reveal your personality, insight, and commitment. The danger is that it's open-ended, so you need to focus. Find just one or two things that will reveal your best qualities, and avoid the urge to spill everything.

The "Why Us" Question

Some schools ask for an essay about your choice of a school or career. They're looking for information about your goals, and about how serious your commitment is to this particular school. For example:

"Why is UVM a good college choice for you?" (University of Vermont)

"Please tell us about your career goals and any plans you may have for graduate study." (Westfield State College)

Your Approach

The focus is provided: Why did you choose this school or path? This should be pretty clear to you, since you probably went through some kind of selection process. Make sure you know your subject well. For example, if you say you want to attend Carleton College to major in agriculture, the school will be able to tell how carefully you've chosen (Carleton doesn't have an agriculture major).

The "Creative" Question

Some colleges evaluate you through your choice of some tangential item: a national issue, a famous person, what you would put in a time capsule, a photograph. Here the school is looking at your creativity and the breadth of your knowledge and education. For example:

"Do you believe there's a generation gap? Describe the differences between your generation and others." (Denison University)

"Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence." (Common Application)

Your approach

Again, you have something to react to, a way to show yourself and write about your real views. Just don't forget the importance of writing an informed essay. For example, don't write about a fantasy lunch with a famous writer and get the titles of her novels wrong. Also, when thinking about how creative to get, use common sense. Being creative to the point of wacky is a risk you may not want to take.

This article is based on information found in The College Application Essay, by Sarah Myers McGinty.

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