Wondering when to start working on those Common Apps? In this post, I’ll be going through some tips on when you should begin working on these applications to save yourself some stress.

Start During the Summer

I usually recommend starting Common Apps the summer before senior year. Most of the supplemental essay topics won’t be available until early August, but the 2017-2018 Common Application Essay Prompts have already been released with a few important changes. Further, the “what’s (app)enning?” blog by the Common App is the best place for more application updates. As such, you can start brainstorming, and even working on drafts, during the summer when you have more downtime.

Jumpstart Your Drafts

If you know which particular schools you’re interested in, you can also look up typical admission essays and get a jumpstart on drafts. Don’t freak out if you “guess” that a topic will roll over and it doesn’t. Often, the process of generating ideas for essays will be important in the long run because you’ll find stories you can use and reuse in a variety of supplemental essays. Composing rough drafts also comes in handy when you get back to school because you’ll be prepared to meet with counselors for revision. Receiving feedback on your drafts early in the game will be helpful as you continue working on them.

Get a Head Start

Students often underestimate the amount of time it takes to fill everything out, so getting a bit of a head start would be beneficial.  If you start too early, though, you’ll have to go back and fill in more information on your planned courses and activities. However, it’s usually a little easier when there’s less information to add in later. On a similar note, if you write your essays too early, you may be shortchanging yourself; your writing skills generally improve over time, as will your perspective on life.


The bottom line is that if you get most of it done before heading back to school, you’ll save yourself some stress once the academic year starts. Good luck!

For more posts regarding college and college admissions, check out these below!

Popular Colleges that Superscore the ACT and SAT

5 Activities that Don’t Help Your College Application

SAT Subject Tests – What Top Schools Require


Photo by JuralMin under Creative Commons.