The days filling out by hand or typing your responses on to the college application are long gone. Of the nearly 5,300 colleges in the U.S., almost all of them require students to submit their admissions application online. Over 750 of U.S. colleges use the Common Application. While the ‘Common App’ provides their service to the largest number of colleges, there are other companies like the Universal College Application and the Coalition Application used by other institutions. Additionally, a number of states, like California and Texas, maintain their own electronic application service for their state schools.
All of the electronic applications generally require the same information to be entered (i.e. Profile, Family, Education, Activities, etc.). The Common App allows individual colleges to customize some fields or prompts. These are typically the essay prompts a student is required to answer. Many colleges have also opted to include a specific field for students to include digital content. A student could use this field to add a link to their MeSheet digital portfolio, YouTube video, photo sharing, or Word Press/blog site. In the event that a specific college does not include a field for digital content, students can paste the URL to their MeSheet in the Additional Information sub-section of the Writing section on the Common App.
The Additional Information section allows for 650 characters, and is intended as a place for a student to provide an explanation on grade or test anomalies, write about a specific challenge not addressed in an essay prompt, or offer supplemental information on one or multiple Activities listed in the preceding section, for example. There are similar ‘additional information’ sections on the other electronic applications.
A student is able to copy/paste the URL to their MeSheet in this section as well, with the added advantage of including a description. Depending on the school or involvement in a specific activity, a student’s MeSheet can include all high school activities to date or be tailored to address a specific topic with a short description appropriate for whatever the objective may be.
Many schools won’t guarantee that they will click on or review digital content in the event that an electronic application does not have a dedicated field. However, school admissions officers have stated that it also isn’t a negative in situations where links to digital content were included in nontraditional areas on the application. The need to differentiate amongst students who look similar academically is growing as more electronic applications are landing in the In Box of admissions offices.
Including your student’s MeSheet on any electronic application is an opportunity to stand out where digital content is optional as well as in situations where curious admissions officers choose to review all supporting information.