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On August 1, rising seniors across the US will be off and running as the Common Application goes live. Students will log on to www.commonapp.org to register by creating an email ID and password. Yet, words to the wise…before anyone begins work on the application, think about your “presentation strategy”. This is not part of a marketing gimmick as some media outlets may suggest but rather a way for you to distinguish yourself from other applicants. Decisions on essay topics, extracurricular activity lists, college majors and more should indicate a clear path to where your natural interests and strengths lie. In this way, the admissions offices will find it very easy to understand how you will contribute to their campus communities. What about the optional essay found on many supplemental applications? It’s not optional! Writing additional information about your accomplishments, perspectives and or intellectual curiosityprovides a more complete personal profile. And, with thousands of applicants in the pool, taking the extra time and effort to write the essay demonstrates a serious interest to the admissions committee.