Admissions

What's "Common" About the Common App and Now "ZeeMee," Too?

Question: My daughter will start her senior year in high school next month. She just created a Common Application account and, as a first-timer to the admission process, I was surprised to see that there's a lot that's not “common" about it. All of the colleges my daughter is considering require extra essays and/or responses to short-answer questions. I feel as if she'll spend the first half of her senior year writing essays! One of her schools also asked her for a link to her ZeeMee account. She said that she knows what that is ... sort of ... but seemed pretty vague about whether it's something she should actually do. I'm trying to be a support system as she goes through this but I feel so clueless myself. Are all these extra tasks really necessary?

Ouch! You've hit on one of The Dean's many application-process sore spots. Yes, as you've noted the Common Application is barely common at all, especially for those students aiming at the more selective member institutions. College admission officials use the supplement essays and questions to make often hair-splitting distinctions among seemingly similar candidates. They also undoubtedly believe that, if they set out enough hoops for prospective students to jump through, the candidates with only minimal interest will walk away before the admission folks have to spend their Saturday nights reading about yet another orchestra recital or French Club trip to Montreal.

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