College students share Common Application advice

With private university application deadlines right around the corner, Carmel High graduates have stopped by to share some advice and encourage students who are stressed out over the Common App to relax and take their time while applying to colleges.

The Common Application, a universal online application for almost all private universities, is meant to reflect applicants’ high school careers—but also often causes a lot of anxiety. To curb pre-submission nerves, counselors and current college students recommend high schoolers exert genuine effort towards their applications at a slow pace.

“Students should put in the time to submit quality applications—ones that reflect the very best of their efforts,” says senior counselor Darren Johnston. “They’ve worked extremely hard to get to this point.”

Jackie Mauldwin, a Carmel High graduate and current freshman at Lewis and Clark College, says that she began her application months early by filling out the information sections that are simple to complete, but easy to make mistakes in.

Another CHS graduate, Brandon Kim, a freshman at Occidental College, agrees with Mauldwin, noting that it’s important to avoid errors.

“You don’t want to mess something up that might help you get in,” he says.

Many college students share his sentiment, having their own horror stories from the application process.

“Last year, I couldn’t apply to one of my schools because I didn’t have all the parts [of the application], and that was really disappointing to find out,” shares Carmel High graduate Shoopie Panholzer, who is now a student at Saint Mary’s College.

Another Carmel High graduate and a current freshman at the University of San Diego, Rosie Whitehead also had some bad luck, saying that some of her extracurricular activities did not send with some of her submissions. Ultimately, she was forced to work around the problem by contacting each school individually.

College applications are so confusing that they’ve led college mentors to develop unique ways of ensuring nothing goes amiss after a student submits.

Patricia Hunt, the Carmel High college and career center advisor, recommends that students print out the final version of their application and have a parent or mentor proofread it.

Despite all of the fears surrounding applications, it’s fairly common for students to find success at schools that they didn’t initially see themselves attending.

“I didn’t get into my top choice[s],” says 2013 grad Justin DePalatis, who is happy to be a sophomore at Santa Clara University. “I’m so much happier and more content where I’m at than I would have been at any of my other choices.”

Overall, Carmel High graduates recommend that this year’s seniors put in the necessary effort for their Common Applications, but also encourage them to relax a little.

“After you submit your app, don’t freak out” Kim says. “You did your part, and now it’s all up to the colleges to choose…now, just enjoy your senior year.”
-Megan Holett