EducationUSA Mentorship Program


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The Application Form is YOU. It is meant to describe YOU in front of the admissions officers. Think of it as the the bridge between YOU and the PEOPLE who will decide whether you get in or not. Think of it not as separate questions, but as A WHOLE.


Yvonne M.R. Da Silva from University of Pennsylvania says that universities want the answer to three questions somewhere in the application: “Who are you? What do you want to do? and “ Why will this institution get you where you want to go.” Collectively the application should answer these questions.


The application is the picture that represents you – who you are as a person, student, a friend, son or daughter, citizen, thinker, believer, activist, athlete, artist, any part of you that makes the whole of you.  It is that painting that best describes you – it provides enough big stroke, detail, color, texture, style, etc. to form a complete picture of you.


Applications can be submitted online or in paper format. Look at your university and see what application they use – paper, online or both.


The Common Application Form


Many universities these days use common application form, which is what it says: an online application which you can submit to different universities. One application, many universities. It saves you preparation time.


More than 500 universities in the U.S. accept the Common Application. For the complete list, click here.


Here are some things you need to know about Common Application


  • Some universities (“exclusive users”) use ONLY this option or format of an application. Complete list of these you can find here.


  • Some universities also accept other formats. Basically, all format want to know the same – who are you. They just ask it differently.


  • You can keep changing info until you hit the submit button. So don’t worry. You can go back and make changes.


  • Each university may have different deadlines. If you pass it, you’re out.


  • The application is smart which means that it may be different for different applicants. It may be different for someone born in the US and someone whose parents have PhD. It will lead you the right way.


  • As you fill the application, you will see tips on the right-hand side. These will help you.


  • As a general rule, if you cannot select and answer from a drop-down menu, you will need to provide your answer in a separate section.


One of the exercises we plan for the workshop is the completion of the common application form. Once you have done it, you realize it is not as difficult as it seemed in the beginning.

January 22, 2015

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