The big news? It’s free of charge. You can get your copy here.
Why did we decide to give this guide away?
We make our living working with families who hire us to help them manage their college application process. We work really hard to be great at what we do, we don’t charge more than we think is fair and reasonable, and we’re proud of the difference we make for those families. Previous versions of our Common App guide were priced at $10-$15, and we’ve sold nearly 10,000 downloads since we first released it in 2011, many of them to families who likely couldn’t have worked with us because of geography or economics.
But we’re also out to make a big difference in the college admissions world. We want students and parents to have access to good college planning information even if they can’t afford to pay for it. We want counselors and teachers to have more tools at their disposal to help kids get to where they want to go. And most importantly, we want to be a bigger part of those solutions. Between my blog, our free newsletter, and the hundreds of free presentations we give at schools and in our communities every year, we’ve always been committed to this goal. But we can do more, and we want to show the educational community that we’re doing what we can to walk our talk. Giving our guide away feels like the right thing to do.
Here are a few suggestions for how you might use our guide:
- If you haven’t started your Common App, complete each section with our help. We think your app will be stronger, and you’ll actually spend less time on the application by just getting it right the first time.
- If you’ve already finished your Common App, use our guide to do a line-by-line review before you submit.
- Struggling with just a particular section or two? Our guide can probably help.
- If you are the official college application reviewer in the house, use our guide to review your student’s Common Application (kids should always complete their own college applications even if a parent will review them).
High school counselors
- Looking to brush up on your Common App knowledge? Spend an hour with our guide and you’ll be a virtual expert.
- Do your students come to you with questions about the Common App? Keep a copy of our guide on your desk (or bookmark the link to save a tree), and use it whenever you need a second opinion.
- Share it with colleagues, teachers, and students.
- Post the link on your website or in your student newsletters.
- Our guide will teach you exactly what to look for when reviewing each of your students’ Common Applications.
- Share the link with your students for them to use at home while they complete their applications.
- Do you have partners, employees, or interns who work with students? Our guide makes a great training tool.
We’re not sure yet whether we’ll make future versions of this guide available for free, but this decision will stay in place for the 2015-16 version. We’re proud of it, we’re excited to share it with a wider audience, and we really hope you and your students enjoy it.