Preparing for College

Common App or Not?

Question: It's such a pleasure to have a free source of college counseling like Before I ask my question, I want to present my appreciation to you guys. Now here goes:

I am determined to apply ED to Penn for ED and have already finished 3/4 of the application. Penn accepts both the Common Application and its own application forms. If I use the Common Application, I can give Penn's admission guys three essays, which mean more opportunities to tell them about myself. If I use Penn's own form, I will only write two essays, but it seems that using the Penn form shows my preference of Penn over other schools. Should I use the Penn forms instead of the Common Application (which I've already started)?

Thanks for your kind words about our site. We understand your concern about using the Common Application, but don't worry. Colleges that agree to accept the "Common App" really do welcome it as their own and do not regard candidates who use it as less interested. Yes, there may have been a time when students were advised to choose a school's own form to send a message of commitment, but those days are long gone. The Ivies, along with many other "elite" colleges, also tend to require Common App supplements, so certainly any applicant who wades through all those nasty extra questions (and essays!) is clearly dedicated to applying to that school.

Finally, you mentioned that you are applying ED to Penn. Well, what better way of saying "You're Number One!"? So forge ahead with the Common App. We wish you well in your quest.