Corinne Connor’s ‘College Apps Made Easy’ Makes College Applications Easier for Everyone
This post originally appeared in The Montclair Dispatch.
Transcripts. Essays. Extracurriculars. Career interests. Academic skills. These are just some of the elements that factor into the typical college application. The process is stressful and overwhelming, especially for busy high school seniors and their families. Lucky for today’s soon-to-be college kids, Corinne Connor’s College Apps Made Easy makes the application process . . . well, easy.
When Corinne’s daughter was preparing to apply to college, they were both in the same state of mind most of Corinne’s clients arrive in: confused about the application process and what it entailed. Back then, the Common App didn’t exist, and high school guidance counselors ironically provided little guidance on how to apply for different schools. But by the time Corinne’s son was ready to apply to college two years later, Corinne had it all figured out. This, combined with her kids’ absence after they went away for school, sparked the idea for Corinne’s business.
“The idea for College Apps Made Easy was born from the question, ‘What do I do now that I’m an empty-nester?’” says Corinne. “After my son’s graduation from high school, I began volunteering at IMANI’s College Advocacy Center (a local nonprofit which provides these same services to the community but with a different approach), where I used what I’d learned from helping my own children through the process. I discovered that I truly enjoyed working with the students and presenting them in their best light—especially those with weaker academic profiles.” Ten years after starting her own company, Corinne can still be found volunteering and helping students there realize their dreams of attending college.
This fall, approximately 20.4 million students will attend American colleges or universities. Few of those students know everything there is to know about the college application process. College Apps Made Easy has one goal: to make that process a little less painful. Whether the high school student or family in question has a few simple questions, needs to be walked through every step, or just requires a jump start, Corinne is there to help her clients succeed at one of the most stressful parts of anyone’s high school career.
Ivy League universities report an acceptance rate of 5.2 to 12.5 percent. The average acceptance rate for the nation’s top five public universities is 24 percent. For some high school students and their families, these numbers are anxiety-inducing. Those stressors become even bigger when students realize that the Common App, which allows people to apply to 731 American colleges using the same application, is multi-faceted and much more complicated than it sounds. This is yet another reason why Corinne started College Apps Made Easy—even those who are confident about applying to college may come across a part of the application that’s confusing or difficult to fill out.
As it turns out, a variety of clients come to College Apps Made Easy. “The students and families that come to me for help vary: single parents who don’t know where to even begin the process, parents who know exactly what help they need, and those who want to take what can be a stressful process out of the home and into a neutral environment,” says Corinne. “The older siblings of former students have returned for assistance with their applications to master’s programs at both local universities and Ivy League institutions. [My] being fluent in French has also attracted foreign students who need help navigating a system that is very different from theirs.” According to the website’s testimonials, College Apps Made Easy has vastly improved the college application process even for students who dreaded the first few steps.
Whether you’re applying to college this fall or you have a couple years to go, Corinne offers a few tips on preparing for the application process:
- Take the SAT or ACT. Most colleges require a test score from one or the other; some colleges require test scores from both. If you have the time, take the practice SAT or ACT well in advance so you can better prepare for your weaker points.
- Create a college list. Before and while applying to college, high school students should have a list of up to twelve ideal colleges—including a few “safety schools.”
- Become involved in extracurriculars. How students spend their time speaks volumes to college admissions officers. Join a sports team, an on-campus club, a local volunteer program, or another extracurricular group to show off your skills and another facet of your personality. But remember: quality over quantity. Instead of joining six clubs, put your time and heart into a couple causes you’re passionate about.