If you've been following news about the rollout of HealthCare.gov, you know that launching a new website for the masses can sometimes have its hiccups. Just like many who were eager to apply for health insurance have encountered problems with that site, we’ve heard from several students, counselors, and teachers who have faced some problems completing the Common App this fall. Since Gonzaga exclusively uses the Common App as our application for admission, we thought it might be helpful to update you about what's going on and to offer some tips if you’re having problems with it as you’re trying to apply for our Early Action deadline on Nov. 15.
First, let's start with the basic facts about what's going on. The Common App implemented a complete overhaul of its web infrastructure in August. Their goal was to make applying to colleges through the Common App more user-friendly and efficient. Unfortunately, they're still ironing out some of the kinks in their new system.
These are some of the problems we've heard about so far:
We're less than a month away from our non-binding Early Action deadline of November 15. My colleagues and I have chatted with a lot of you in person so far this fall about your applications and have offered tips about how to make them as strong as possible. However, we sadly can't have these conversations with every student who applies to Gonzaga. So, in an attempt to cast our net a bit wider in spreading the word, I thought I'd put some of these bits of advice up on our blog.
First things first. We're a Common App-exclusive school. That means our only application for admission is through the Common App. What's the Common App? Basically, it's a generic college application that many colleges and universities, particularly private ones, use. One of its main purposes is to save you, the student, time by reducing the number of different applications you need to complete. If you're planning to apply to multiple schools who are Common App members, essentially you can do one basic application to all those schools. Each school has some unique items (sometimes an additional essay or short answer question, for example) on its Member Page. However, most of the application is the same for all member schools. So, you can begin the process of applying by creating an account for yourself on Common App.
To avoid reinventing the proverbial wheel, though, please check out the previous posts that we've done on this topic here, here, and--the granddaddy of them all--here. Keep in mind, too, that we offer an optional admission interview, which is also considered when we review a student's application. There's some advice and info about that here.
Okay, if you've read through all that, but you're still desperate for even more pearls of application wisdom from us... well, how could we turn you away? Here are a few more quick nuggets for you:
Today I received an e-mail from a mom who had just visited Gonzaga with her son. Both of them had done some pretty extensive research about Gonzaga before coming up to visit. (The mom even mentioned reading this blog--yay!) In her e-mail, though, she made some perceptive comments about the unique value of visiting campus. During their visit, they were able to get a tour from a current Gonzaga student, discuss the admissions process during an admission interview, and meet with a professor. Reflecting on the visit, she wrote, "Most of all we loved the people."
We consistently hear our current students echo this point: the sense of community at Gonzaga just feels like nowhere else they've ever been. And that is a testament to the incredible students, faculty, and staff who are part of this community here.
However, this sense of community isn't easily transmitted through glossy brochures, videos, or blog posts. It's something you have to experience in person. We in Admissions try to capture it in flashes and glimmers here and there, bottle it up, and bring it to you in other ways. But all our efforts pale in comparison with the real thing. This is why visiting campus is such a vital part of the college search.
We especially encourage you to come on a Preview Day. These are kind of like "open house" days at Gonzaga. On a Preview Day, we offer most of the stuff you can get on a normal visit day (campus tour, meeting with an admission counselor), plus more:
Now that it's fall, we've resumed our usual gallivanting around the country looking to meet with prospective students at high schools and college fairs. Miraculously, earlier this week for a couple days, all of our staff was here in Spokane working in the Admissions office. But that didn't last long.
Here are the states we're visiting this fall:
Yesterday on campus, Gonzaga’s main pedestrian thoroughfare looked kind of like a college fair—and a pretty happening one at that. Tables lined the edge of the campus’s main pedestrian thoroughfare as student clubs and organizations recruited new members and promoted what they do on campus. And, thanks in part probably to the beautiful weather, GU students came out in droves to check it out.
Gonzaga student Dane and honorary Zag, Claire would like to take you on a tour of Gonzaga's campus as they perform their original song 'Chicken Scratch'.
Earlier this month, the Peace Corps ranked Gonzaga No. 1 nationally among small colleges and universities for the number of alumni who currently serve as volunteers. Gonzaga currently has 24 alumni serving across the world as Peace Corps volunteers. (It was actually a clean sweep for the state of Washington, as the University of Washington and Western Washington University claimed the No. 1 rankings for the large and medium size school categories, respectively.) In its history, Gonzaga has had 311 graduates volunteer in the Peace Corps.
So we’re now in late January, which means that February 1 is just a little over a week away. And in case you haven’t heard, February 1 is kind of a big deal. Allow me to explain.
We’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately while we were busy reading Early Action applications. But now we’ve finished, and if you applied Early Action, you should have heard back from us by now with your admission decision.
Now marks a transition in our work here in the Admissions office at Gonzaga. We’ve spent most of the last two months traveling around the country meeting with students and families in your areas. But as of today, when we arrive at our Early Action deadline, we’ll be spending most of the next few months hunkered down at our computers reviewing your applications.