Custom Common Application for Early Action College?

Question: I am going to use Common Application for my Early Action college. My advisor told me it is better to write an essay addressed to that particular school. However, the Common App only allows me to submit one essay for all the colleges. How can I solve this problem using the Common App? Can I submit my EA essay first and then change it during regular decision?

Yes, you CAN submit different versions of the Common Application, if you so choose. (A small hassle yet definitely do-able.) But doesn’t your EA school have a supplement? If so, are there essays in the supplement (or short-answer responses) that address (or indicate) your interest in that particular college or are otherwise school-specific?

It sounds like your advisor wants to keep your application from sounding too generic and is trying to help you to “demonstrate interest” (big admission buzz-words these days) in that particular college. But there are OTHER, usually better ways to do this (campus visits, local info sessions, interview, etc.).

The typical, good Common App essay does not reference ANY particular college, so I’m not sure that your counselor’s advice is on target. It would be helpful to know where you are applying and what you plan to say in the main Common App essay if you were to customize it for your EA school.

(posted 10/14/2011)