How to Fill Out The Common App: the Application and Activities sections EXPLAINED!!

hey guys are you applying to college and

wondering ah how do I fill out the

government application if so this video

is for you what I'm gonna do is I'm

gonna walk you through how to fill out

the common application activity sections

specifically as well as just the general

kind of stuff and I'm also going to give

you some tips on the biggest mistakes

that students make when they fill out

the activities section so stay tuned

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further ado let's get into things I'm

here at the common application so after

you create an ID you get here to this

dashboard and we're gonna walk you

through kind of how this works and the

things that you have to worry about so

the first thing that I'm going to show

you guys on the common application is

right here under profile I'm not gonna

go through all this like personal

information stuff but what I am gonna

show you is kind of how it works which

is once you've filled everything out in

a particular section you're gonna get a

little green check on the right-hand

side which means that you've filled it

all out and if you haven't filled it out

that won't be there and you have to go

into it and explain everything okay two

things I want to quickly point out that

you shouldn't overlook there's this

little thing on scholarship information

and you can tell them if you want to

receive information from colleges about

financial aid and scholarships and then

there's also this idea of a fee waiver

if you think you might qualify you can

check this out and click on this and

that's something to you can talk to our

counselor about at school let's get a

family this is just about your family

it's basic stuff it shouldn't be that

hard this is about your education you

just fill this out it's all pretty darn

self-explanatory other secondary schools

if you didn't know what that means

that's high schools so that's what

secondary schools means so don't put

like elementary schools don't put your

middle school those no count colleges

and universities if you've ever taken

coursework at a college or university

you're going to say how many and then


going to give you the ability to fill

that in I think you can include if you

want like summer courses if they were

for credit so if you have any questions

of whether this counts or not what I

would do is talk to the people at the

organization where you took your program

and ask them if it's accredited with a

college or university that's kind of the

question you want to ask some summer

programs are some summer programs aren't

and even college now or like Community

College stuff that would go here grades

graduating class size current or most

recent your courses so you just fill the

stuff out if you don't know the answer

to these questions talk to your guidance

counselor at your school okay and then

honors you're going to say have you

received any honors so this is the first

part I'm going to start to talk about

where you can fit interesting stuff in

with your activities here's the deal my

role with the common application is you

don't want to repeat unless you have to

repeat so one of the first places that

you can start to put in your activities

is actually under honors you want to

maximize how awesome you've seen and so

in order to do that you don't want to be

repeating yourself over and over again

so you might even put something here

like National Honor Society even though

it's like an activity because it's kind

of more of an honor do you get what I'm

saying this could be also like honor

roll right now when I do honors and this

is just a general rule of thumb I always

like to say start with a thing that's

most impressive so if your first honor

is that you were like a presidential

scholar right because that's national

and you put that one first because it's

more impressive honor roll is gonna be

less impressive

because chances are as long as you had a

3.5 average you made the honor roll but

my point is is try to put your most

impressive honor first try to put your

least impressive honor last and remember

there are some things that you could

finagle into honors that otherwise might

be a dopey activity but it's also kind

of an honor and so that's a way you can

save some space in the activities

section to pack more in okay so let's

talk about community-based organizations

so this is actually a spot where you can

acknowledge that you had help from a

community organization or a program with

assistance in your application process

that could be something like and there's

these organizations do you see how they

have a list of

that could be something like the Boys

and Girls Club that could be something

like ah Quest bridge I know a lot of

students work with Quest bridge that's

probably one of the most common ones and

then you can fill in like whoever your

mentor is etc from that but I know a lot

of students who are confused by this and

they think they should put their private

tutor or something or their aunt and

like no don't do that that's silly

so and then you go to future plans you

can do your career interest and you can

also do the highest degree you intend to

earn I don't think schools are

necessarily too caught up in what you

think you want to do aspirationally but

it does provide a little bit of focus

especially if you're not claiming a

major on your college application of any

sort I will say and we'll talk about

this in a little bit that there are some

schools in which it is much more

difficult to get into a certain major

than another major and that might come

into a part of your strategy when you're

applying to schools so in terms of this

I would say just be honest so let's jump

to the activity section this is probably

the section that most people screw up

besides the essays when it comes to

filling out the common application again

I just really quickly wanted to hit on

in your profile that piece of Education

where you can look at a words because

that's a place where you can create

balance with your activities so I like

to just show you guys that show you how

you can use that

okay so activities basic gist of

activities activities tips number one

don't type directly in boxes use a

document and the reason to do that is

that the interface is really finicky and

like if you press back or you move your

cursor the wrong direction it like

deletes everything and it's super

unnerving and it drives you nuts I just

did it like four times and I felt like I

wanted to smash my computer so be sure

to not type directly into boxes use a

document remember you have a hundred and

fifty characters and if you don't know

how to check for characters if you're in

Microsoft Word you can go to tools and

word count if you're in Google Docs

there's also a word count feature that

you can find I'm sure you can find it

and then you also have fifty characters

for the description okay number two

maximize your words so shove things

wherever you can okay if you run out

there is additional information

in the essay section that you can use

okay number three tip number three is I

want you guys to be consistent and what

I mean by that is if you're saying flute

right and then I put the organization

that I played the flute in right then

I'm gonna be consistent if I do it in

the reverse order I'm gonna do it in the

reverse order if I do actress costumer

right flute piccolo player you get what

I'm saying if I'm gonna use a slash here

then I want to use a slash here are you

with me people I want to be consistent


same thing with this if I'm just listing

stuff out if I'm going to use verbs I

want to be consistent with tense

so I usually recommend the past tense

right don't flip the present tense okay

so be consistent number four I want you

guys to put the most important stuff

first okay so that means more hours more

attention more passion and more


whatever has more of all these things

that's what you want to put first okay

and then number five I usually say put

low commitment stuff activities last

those are usually things like non

regular community service camps and

leadership programs am i telling you not

to put these on here absolutely not I

know some of you saw my activities that

colleges don't care about and you think

you shouldn't put them on your

application at all you should so that

they don't care about them at all it's

just that put the other things first

because they show more commitment and

put these little things last so not in

regular community service things that

are non-traditional maybe you help out

at your mom's shop or something or maybe

you teach private flute lessons to

random kids I don't know

so things that are non-traditional I

also will usually put down toward the

bottom and remember number six my tip

number six is think outside the box but

not too far okay and what I mean by that

by thinking outside the box but not too

far is it's totally cool if you have a


an activity that doesn't fit into a

normal activity sort of thing like let's

say you are taking flight lessons and

learning to fly planes that's freaking

cool you should put it on your

activities but does that mean that you

should put down that you walk your own

dog no walking your dog is like not an

impressive activity and I don't really

want to see it now sometimes I also have

people who want to put that they like

attend a religious organization if

that's really important to you and you

feel like you're involved and you feel

like it's a community for you and you've

accomplished something within that

structure then feel free to put that

down if it's just attending something

like once a week I would definitely keep

it toward the bottom unless you really

don't have other activities and and it

just is a matter of like how involved

are you and how much of an impact have

you made right or are you just a passive

observer in that context so you can

think outside the box but not too far

outside the box and let's round this out

with number seven what's my last tip is

proofread one of the biggest mistakes

the students make on the activity

section of the common tab is that they

don't proofread these they have a bunch

of people give them input on their

essays and they have no one read the

activities the reason that you want to

proofread is one if you're an

international student a lot of the time

and even if you're a domestic student a

lot of the time activities don't

translate and what I mean by that is

that you cause something even if it's in

English right you call some activity or

school something and in America we don't

call it that or we don't have that

position or we don't have that Club I

don't know what your superstar Club is

you get what I'm saying I don't know

what these things are and then the other

thing too is make sure you give it to

other people so they can read it people

who don't go to your high school so that

it's not a bunch of jargon and what I

mean by jargon is a lot of high schools

have particular ways of saying things

they have particular clubs that are

called particular things I may never

have heard of your school's random Club

so make sure that you say things in a

way that we get what the heck you're

talking about okay and then my final

comment to you guys is always use the

additional information if you can

because this is an opportunity to add

more in I've had people put in whole

other essays if you have another awesome

essay I've had people explain more

activities whatever you want to do but

you have this box you should use it this

is your attempt to get into college you


a few extra words I recommend that most

people use it if you have the time or

you have the wherewithal and that's it I

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ciao for now