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New Common Application about to be released

The online edition of the 2013-2014 Common Application will be released in just one week from today. Meanwhile, colleges that don't accept the Common App are also in the process of releasing their institutional applications on their admissions sites.

Rising high school seniors: what are you waiting for? You have plenty of time to get most - if not all - of your college applications finished before the first day of your senior year. Those who wait to complete applications during senior year are far more likely to get bogged down in the variety of tasks that fall upon the average senior - including completing senior year homework and cramming for the fall SAT, ACT, and SAT Subject Tests.

The Common Application and most other college applications require at least one essay and one detail-oriented extracurricular list from applicants. Are you ready to complete these tasks? Do you know what topic your essay will cover? Do you know how to keep the application reader's attention throughout your essay? Do you know how to structure your extracurricular list in order to put your best foot forward and stand out from the pack?

Even before the Common Application officially goes live online in a week, we know what this year's essay questions will be; therefore, if you are a rising high school senior, you have no excuse not to start your Common Application essay today. The sooner you do, the more likely your essay's final draft will be of top-notch quality and the more likely you will start off your senior year with the most difficult parts of your college applications wrapped up.

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Craig Meister is president of Tactical College Consulting, a Baltimore-based college admissions consultancy that specializes in giving students the tools they need to find and get into their best-fit college.