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Can someone just walk me through the whole Common App thing? It's time to open an account and start the process... I admit I am intimidated. Someone want to just walk me through how to do it, to lessen the intimidation factor, tell me how easy it is?

Does my ds open a CA student account? Can we then look through Qs and how everything is set up without 'locking' in his responses? How do I get involved as a counselor - does he invite me? Do I need my own CA account? Should I just set up a dummy student account to start playing with it?

Please help!

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Have you looked at the CA threads in the pinned posts? Check Lori D's pinned post at the top of the College Board. After I had several of those read, I opened a dummy student account. (Instructions for that are in the pinned threads, too, but I didn't see how to do it so I just went through the real process for a fake student. Just don't use the same email you mean to use on your real accounts.)

Short story:  Your student opens his account. He selects a college or colleges. There is a generic portion to fill point plus stuff specific for each college. At some point he enters your email address as his school counselor. He has to agree to a waiver or something before the system sends an email to you. Then you have your own side to complete.

Nothing is in stone until the final submit button. I re-re-re-uploaded stuff on my side 78 times or more. My DD left some stuff blank until the night before she hit submit. It'll be ok.

But read the threads so you can see how panicked the rest of us were at this same point. It'll make you feel better. Probably. At least, you'll be more educated! (And the CA seems to get better/less buggy every year.)

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thank you, thank you! that was just what i needed to hear! i will start to tackle it this weekend tonight. i know it'll be like the boogey man. scarier that it really is. (at least i hope!)

wish me luck!! moo-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Edited by mirabillis
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Know that everything is reversible...even when it looks like it isn't.  

For example, whenever you upload something, it'll ask you:  "Are you sure you want to upload this?"  (or similar).  It makes it all seem very final.  But it isn't.  As soon as you upload something, you can delete it and upload something else.  (This is all before you hit the final submit button at the very end of the process, but that's a multi-step process in and of itself, and impossible to do accidentally.)  So fill in forms and upload sample documents and see how it looks.  You can also print out the application anytime and see how it looks to the admissions people.  

We did this last year, and I haven't seen the new version.  But our menu was along the left side of the screen.  That guides you to all the sections that need to be completed, and I believe there was something like a check mark to indicate it was fully complete.  On the right side of the screen are suggested links to help screens.  Common App also has a youtube channel, so you may want to scan those videos for what might be helpful.  (I watched a lot of those before beginning the process.)  Their online help is staffed by human beings and they are quite responsive.  I usually received a response withing a few hours.  

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One thing to check for when you upload documents.  Last year CA added an additional margin around my documents, making the printed material smaller in size.   I compensated by making the margins on the original document smaller than usual.  Not sure if this will be an issue this year, but something for you to look out for.  Again, when you upload some document it will be apparent, and you can always delete it and upload another version and keep what looks best.  

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One thing that I wished I had done the first time I used the CA was print out a preview after I had typed in some of the basic info. That would have helped me to better understand everything that was included and how it would be presented. 

Without doing that, it kind of felt like a never ending path of questions. Once I printed it and saw the end format, it seemed very simple and basic.

Edited by Mom0012
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15 hours ago, daijobu said:

Know that everything is reversible...even when it looks like it isn't.  

For example, whenever you upload something, it'll ask you:  "Are you sure you want to upload this?"  (or similar).  It makes it all seem very final.  But it isn't.  As soon as you upload something, you can delete it and upload something else.  (This is all before you hit the final submit button at the very end of the process, but that's a multi-step process in and of itself, and impossible to do accidentally.)  So fill in forms and upload sample documents and see how it looks.  You can also print out the application anytime and see how it looks to the admissions people.  

We did this last year, and I haven't seen the new version.  But our menu was along the left side of the screen.  That guides you to all the sections that need to be completed, and I believe there was something like a check mark to indicate it was fully complete.  On the right side of the screen are suggested links to help screens.  Common App also has a youtube channel, so you may want to scan those videos for what might be helpful.  (I watched a lot of those before beginning the process.)  Their online help is staffed by human beings and they are quite responsive.  I usually received a response withing a few hours.  

Yes on the reversible thing. I recently discovered that even after you have submitted the CA, you can make changes. The colleges you have submitted it to will get the original version, but the ones you submit to after the changes will get the updated version. I’m thinking that could be used strategically if you wanted to highlight certain scores or activities for one college but need to report all scores for another and/or want to use different activities. That’s not something I’m going to mess with, but it’s nice to know that we can add things for colleges that we will wait until later in the year to apply to.

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1 hour ago, Mom0012 said:

Yes on the reversible thing. I recently discovered that even after you have submitted the CA, you can make changes. The colleges you have submitted it to will get the original version, but the ones you submit to after the changes will get the updated version. I’m thinking that could be used strategically if you wanted to highlight certain scores or activities for one college but need to report all scores for another and/or want to use different activities. That’s not something I’m going to mess with, but it’s nice to know that we can add things for colleges that we will wait until later in the year to apply to.

 

I've heard this as well.  For example, you can change the essays you upload, which may be helpful if a college asks for something on a secondary application that is already covered in your main essay.  In an effort to not duplicate information, you can provide them with a different essay.   I'm guessing this might be an issue if you are applying to regular colleges and then some more specialized colleges like conservatories.  

But I think there is a limit to how many versions of the CA you can submit.  Check with their help desk to see what the current rules are.

We did not take advantage of this, probably either because it wasn't an issue for us, and it also would have taxed my brain!  

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2 hours ago, daijobu said:

 

I've heard this as well.  For example, you can change the essays you upload, which may be helpful if a college asks for something on a secondary application that is already covered in your main essay.  In an effort to not duplicate information, you can provide them with a different essay.   I'm guessing this might be an issue if you are applying to regular colleges and then some more specialized colleges like conservatories.  

But I think there is a limit to how many versions of the CA you can submit.  Check with their help desk to see what the current rules are.

We did not take advantage of this, probably either because it wasn't an issue for us, and it also would have taxed my brain!  

Interesting! I didn’t think about changing the essays. That could be really useful. Though I probably won’t attempt it because of the brain taxation issue.😊

Edited by Mom0012
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