Changes for counseling department and Common App


Joe DiSipio

Watch out Juniors! And you thought this college stuff was hard enough already. Little do you know the establishment (aka “Myron” according to our beloved Mr. Roper) decided to switch things up on us this year. The Common App, which 488 colleges and universities across the country use, is changing!

The good news is that Friars do not have too much to worry about, because we have a change of our own to announce. Starting this year we have a new Director of College Admissions, Mrs. Emily Feeney, who has lots of experience on the Admissions side of things at numerous respected institutions, including Barnard College and Princeton University.

Mrs. Feeney is already hard at work, as she has met with all of Mr. Roper’s junior English classes. The session’s intent was to explain the new curves in the road to college through the Common App. In a short twenty-minute talk, students learned all about changes that undoubtedly will affect them.

Juniors (and underclassmen) – you have nothing to fear.  Dan Ferraiolo ‘14 said it best:  “Without a little guidance writing a college application essay can be pretty overwhelming. Mrs. Feeney gave us the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’ of the Common App which will help our writing process.”

The biggest change comes in the form of the essay and since responses will now be limited to a hard 650 words, this will be brief. Essays will be more restrictive as the open ended question is now eliminated; however, students have the opportunity to really show their writing skill . If a student can write in 650 words what he could have written in 800 with a focused topic, the level of scholarly writing greatens.  The Common App board also saw word count and length as a problem and have now set “a limit, not a goal.”  In order to best stand out, applicants must reveal as much as they can about themselves in a small amount of words.

Junior Mike Vermeil said, “It’s ironic how it is called the ‘Common App’ and yet the goal is to not sound common at all. Mrs. Feeney did a great job of preparing us for what is to come and how to approach it.”

Thanks to Mrs. Feeney’s presentation, many students feel a lot more comfortable as the Common App becomes CA4 in the new digital world.  CA4 also promises other changes. Starting next year, students will not be able to mail the Common Application.  The application will need to be filled out and submitted online. For all the anxious rising seniors, the Common App opens up online for completion on August 1, which is also the date some colleges look for application through the “rolling” process.

Now that we have Mrs. Feeney on our side, a little change isn’t so bad. The entire Guidance Department is always here to help. Be sure to be on the look out for the upcoming summer sessions for help writing the “Perfect College Essay.”

(By the way – this article?  496 words.)