Admissions

How to List Summer Activities on Common App

Question: How should my child (a rising high school senior) list summer activities on the Common Application? Is the summer between 11th and 12th grade listed as 11 or 12?

There’s a new Common App (dubbed C4) coming out on August 1st, and I haven’t seen it yet. So perhaps the revised form will make this issue clearer. But, if no changes in the activities/work experience section appear, then your child should tack this summer’s endeavors onto Grade 11 … except for those (if any) that begin just before the school year starts. These can be added to Grade 12. (The Common App also allows students to indicate whether an activity was a summer-only undertaking.)

As your child trudges through the applications ahead, you’re likely to find that sometimes the forms don’t allow for the precise answer that he or she wants to give. For instance, is being appointed by the principal to the School Accreditation Committee an “Activity” or an “Honor”? Should an internship that includes a small stipend be called a volunteer position or a paying job? Rest assured that there can be more than one “right” way to respond.


Occasionally your child may need the “Additional Information” section of an application to explain anomalies. But most of the time, it’s fine to just answer the way that he or she feels is correct without worrying about whether it’s exactly what’s expected.