Hidden College App Essays on the Common Application

Beware, college applicants and parents!

As you scour the Common Application for required and optional essays before filling out the application, be sure you’re looking in all the right places.

I believe that the college’s sprinkle the writing requirements into the application as though you will just come to them as you’re filling out the application, going page by page. However, most students want to know what they have to write in advance, and that’s where it can get tricky.

Here are my recommendations:

On each college’s main information page on the Common App (the heading on each is “Contact Information”), scroll down to the bottom of that page for the heading “Writing Requirements.”

This is where the confusion might set in. There are two columns: One called “College Questions” and the second called “Writing Supplement.” Look at BOTH of these columns for all the writing requirements. For instance:

In many cases, the second column will say “There is no writing supplement for this college.” Take note: That does not mean there are no writing supplements! Shift your eyes over to the first column “College Questions” and you might see all kinds of required and optional questions that need to be answered. Some of these are simple matters, but some are actual boxes that require writing from 50 words to 250 words.

In most cases, you can find the questions by clicking on the links. However, the questions that involve writing may not be on the first page of the link, and so you will have to keep pressing “Continue” at the end of the page in order to discover the questions. You can press “Continue” even if you have not filled out all the questions – as below.

In the case of High Point University, there are 2 questions of 50 words each, but the ONLY way to find them is to press OTHER INFORMATION on the main page.

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And if you’re looking for help with the essays themselves (once you find them!), please shoot me an email: Liz@DontSweatTheEssay.com or phone – I’m on the East Coast.  1-855-99-ESSAY.