The common application is the application process used by the majority of top colleges and universities to get into an undergraduate program, and is the most helpful thing I’ve used to find and compare colleges. When I use the Common Application, I legitimately feel like I’m actually making progress towards my educational goals. You can see location, offered majors, tuition, and much more. If you enter information about the major you’re looking into, the area code you want to be near, and the parts of college that are most important to you, the Common Application will even show you colleges and the percentage you match up with them. To prepare to fill out the common app you must first make an account. It’s also helpful to have a major in mind, and to know what kind of school you’d like to attend. I’d personally want to major in art with a possible double major in psychology, and attend a small liberal arts school. It’s incredibly important to research colleges before you apply. If you don’t know the kind of college or what it offers, it’s a waste of your money and application time if you end up realizing it’s not what you had in mind. For instance, I probably wouldn’t want to attend Cornell University because I feel more comfortable in small, intimate teaching settings, and would like to be closer to home. One of the most essential things in applying to colleges is submitting a strong college essay. The top two factors colleges take into account are high school GPA and your admission essay. In many colleges, admission essays are held more important than SAT scores. So if you aren’t a strong test taker, you can still help your chances of getting into a college by writing a solid essay. I’ve realized that I write the strongest essays when I’m writing something I’m passionate about, or something that is deeply personal. Luckily, unlike many high school essays, the Common Application asks for just that. They want to know about you, and what you are going to bring to their campus. This is your chance to not only flaunt yourself (for the best possible reason), but also to really speak about what is close to your heart. So write about something you would fight for. Write about something that people need to know. Write about something that is important- to you. And write about it with the same passion that you have in yourself.