The Common Application
When completing the Common Application, the most important thing is to be careful: write legibly, answer all questions, use the same name on every form, and use a reliable and appropriately-named e-mail address. Don’t sell yourself short on significant activities you’ve participated in, but don’t go overboard, either. If there’s even a slight chance you will apply for financial aid, check the box. The Covenant School CEEB/ACT Code is 470433. Use Covenant’s Handbook on College Admission as a guide throughout the college admission process.
Finally (and this is Important), as soon as you have created your common-app username and password at www.commonapp.org, Go to Family Connection > Colleges > Colleges I’m applying to, and enter that same username and password into the box on that page titled Important Private Notice for Common Application. Click on the “I DO waive my right to access, and I understand I will never see this form” box and, also, the “I authorize all secondary schools I’ve attended to release all requested records and authorize review of my application for the admission process indicated on my Common Application recommendation forms” box. Lastly, “Submit.” Doing this will enable your college advisors to submit their portions of your Common Application on-line.
Early Admission Plans
It is important to understand the various policies for students who wish to pursue an early admission plan, i.e., Early Decision, Early Action (or Notification), and Single Choice Early Action.
You apply early, are notified of results early, and, if admitted, are committed to attend. You may apply simultaneously to early action/notification schools.
You apply early, are notified of results early, but, if admitted early, may still continue applying to other colleges. You may apply simultaneously to other early action schools, and/or one early decision school.
Single Choice Early Action
You apply early, are notified of results early, but, if admitted early, may still continue applying to other colleges. You may not, however, apply early action or early decision to any other college.
You may apply at any time over a long period — often from September through February — and could hear back as soon as several weeks after applying, although a school with rolling admission might wait quite a while to notify an applicant. Applying to a school with such a decision plan early in the year does not conflict with applying to schools with other decision plans.
Neither overestimate nor underestimate the importance of the college application essay. It provides you the opportunity to present your view of yourself. Admission officers want to learn about you; they are looking for a sense of who you are and how you think. Answer the question the college asks, and stick to any restrictions such as length; write well (a clear purpose should be evident in even the most imaginative piece); give them a positive impression of yourself; and carefully edit for proper grammar. Don’t hesitate to ask your advisor, English teacher, or parents to review your writing, but make sure it’s your essay . . . your voice must be heard.
Keep in mind that teachers often receive many requests for recommendations. It is imperative, therefore, that you give teachers plenty of time to complete yours; asking them in the spring of your junior year, before leaving for the summer, is not inappropriate. You should do this by supplying your teachers with a completed copy of Covenant’s Teacher Recommendation Request form, making sure to return in the fall to tell them the deadline date of your first application. Provide them, also, with a copy of any college-specific Teacher Evaluation forms found in college applications (the Common Application has one, too) which they must complete and submit to your college advisor along with your recommendation. It is the student’s responsibility to ask for recommendations, to provide teachers with all necessary forms, and to meet deadlines.
It is up to you to take the initiative in contacting coaches, but first evaluate yourself honestly as to the type of college athlete you will be. When talking to coaches, keep in mind that it is to a college coach’s benefit to keep as many high school athletes interested in his program the longest; in the end, however, the admission department makes the final decision on your candidacy.
The NCAA has established an Eligibility Center for both recruiting and eligibility purposes for student-athletes seeking to play in Division I and II; Eligibility Center rules don’t apply to Division III applicants. At The Covenant School, students considering Division I and II – especially those interested in making official visits in the fall of the senior year – should file the appropriate paperwork with the Eligibility Center at the end of the junior year. Contact your Covenant coach of the process and make sure, once you have made formal application, to ask your college advisor to send your official transcript. You can learn more about NCAA regulation, and apply on-line, at http://eligibilitycenter.org.
Many students with a strong interest and accomplishment in the arts choose to send additional materials to colleges. These can be audio CDs of their playing or singing, DVDs of theater performances or of video productions, or slides of studio artwork. Covenant teachers can help you in putting such a portfolio together, and you can write a cover letter to accompany your work. Keep your college advisor informed of any such materials you are sending along with your applications.
The interview is still important at some colleges, and a stop by the Office of College Advising can be helpful. Whenever you travel to a college, keep in mind that your manner, knowledge about and interest in the college, maturity, and thoughtfulness are all being observed. Even if a interviewer announces that the school does not count interviews in the consideration of candidates, and that this is simply a chance for you to ask questions, treat the conversation as an interview. College admission counselors will note with pleasure a well-informed thoughtful student who asks alert, engaging questions; they will likewise note those who do not.
Notification of an Incomplete Application
If you get a note from a college that a piece of your application is missing, remain calm. In all likelihood, it is at the office and simply hasn’t been entered into the system yet. If the missing piece is that which was to be sent by Covenant, politely check with your college advisor for the date on which the material was sent and give the college an appropriate amount of time to sort the mail before you call. Usually, time takes care of the problem beautifully. If it does not, however, contact the Office of College Advising.
Alternative-year Options (The Gap Year)
Spending a year in a worthwhile and productive activity between high school and college can allow you to enter college better prepared to make the best use of your time and money. Notice that this idea is different from a year off; colleges don’t look favorably on a year-long vacation. You might, however, want a change of pace – a new experience, a money-making job, or another year in the high school setting as a postgraduate – and the college advisor can help you think through these possibilities.
Most students who take a gap year apply to a range of colleges, select the school of their choice, and then request to defer their matriculation for a year. Colleges are usually willing to grant this, although it isn’t advisable to discuss your plans to defer before you are admitted. Students who are seriously considering postgraduate work may apply to high schools with such programs at the same time they apply to a list of colleges.