College Application Essay

It may be hard to believe, but it’s mid-July already, and for high school seniors, that means it’s time to start work on college applications. With that in mind, host Elizabeth Heaton provides a jam-packed hour of tips and insight. In this episode of Getting In: A College Coach Conversation, Beth helps listeners understand a great way that they can use social media in their applications, discusses financial aid options for students looking at community colleges, and provides some tips for getting started on the Common Application.

Social Media and the College Application

First, Beth welcomes Alan Katzman, Founder and CEO of Social Assurity, an organization whose goal is to provide social media education for high school students, college students, and young professionals. While a lot of attention has been paid in the press to what not to do on social media when applying to college, in this conversation, Beth and Alan focus on how to positively use social media—particularly LinkedIn—to enhance your college application. Students can use their LinkedIn profile to highlight activities, interests, and/or causes that they care about and have worked on. Beth and Alan spend some time discussing how to create your profile and what types of information to include. While not everyone needs to use social media to supplement their college application, it can be another outlet for students to showcase their talents, experience, and interests.

Financial Aid at Community Colleges

For the next segment, Beth welcomes back to the show college finance expert Jeanne Mahan. In addition to her previous work as a financial aid officer at Tufts University, Jeanne also worked in the financial aid office at Quinsigamond Community College, and it’s this particular experience that she speaks about today. She provides some vivid detail about her day-to-day work there, discussing the issues unique to financial aid in the community college environment. She helps to answer some important questions: Is there financial aid available for community college students? How much? Where does it come from? And what are the stipulations/requirements to keep that aid? The bottom line: Financial aid is available to assist community college students, and Jeanne provides some great tips on how to approach the process.

Common Application: Getting Started

For the final segment, Beth and former USC admissions officer Emily Toffelmire encourage high school seniors to get started filling out their Common Application. To set the stage, Emily explains a bit about the Common App and how to create an account. Emily suggests getting familiar with the platform and filling out some of the basic nuts and bolts demographic information now. While students can (and should) start working on their college application essay over the summer, they should do that offline, not in the app, and should only upload a final copy of the essay to the app when done. Emily rounds out the conversation with some tips for other key sections of the common application, from test scores to the activity section.

Lots of helpful advice and action items for students in this week’s episode. In between application preparation, save some time for our next show, where host Sally Ganga will discuss first semester college course selection, how financial aid works at the Ivies, and everything you wanted to know about the SAT Subject Tests. Happy listening!


Written by Julia Jones
Julia Jones is a member of College Coach’s team of college admissions consultants. Julia previously worked as a senior admissions officer at Brandeis University and was the director of admissions at Chapel Hill-Chauncy Hall School. Visit our website to learn more about Julia Jones.