By Natalie Paredes, Lead Tutor

When applying to multiple colleges and universities, it can be stressful and overwhelming to keep track of all the necessary materials, but the Common App has simplified the process.

The Common App is an online platform that allows students to apply for admission to several colleges and universities at the same time through a streamlined application. Currently, over 900 colleges and universities use the Common App for their admissions process.

The application begins with basic data entry of personal information, family background, education, testing, and activities. Next are the written supplements that may consist of a personal essay and short answer responses. The written component is crucial to the admissions process and these responses can make or break a prospective admission.

Written supplements can vary greatly from school to school: while some may only require one short personal essay, others may ask multiple questions to see if you are a compatible fit.

I can help to make the application as painless as possible!

Over the years, I’ve advised a number of students on the best ways to complete the written essays and short answers. I enjoy brainstorming potential essay topics with students in order to find the best one suited to highlight his or her unique characteristics and accomplishments. I find that most students struggle with writing about themselves, so I remind them that this section is an opportunity to celebrate what makes them an exceptional candidate for admission. Additionally, while it is important to be compelling enough to stand out, it is equally as important to write authentically. Most importantly, I advise students to thoroughly research their schools and incorporate that knowledge into their responses. By taking time to know what a school has to offer—apart from just the academics—and voicing that enthusiasm in your application, you are strongly indicating to the admissions department that you are sincere and committed. That kind of energy and ambition is what a university looks for while building their incoming class.