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Over 1 million students apply through Common App every year. Here are some of their stories.

Common App sat down with Jemmy Marc, a first-generation student who is currently in his first year at the University of Florida. Jemmy was born in Haiti and has lived in America for 14 years. He loves to read, write poetry, and play basketball.

Tell me about your experience in applying to college. 

I came to the experience a bit more organized than my peers. At the end of junior year I started thinking about what schools I wanted to apply to. Even though I started early, there were times where it felt daunting. The summer before senior year I had 20 schools on my list.  I finally decided to apply to 9 schools total. The way that I worked with applying to schools was that I had already known the two teachers who were going to write letters of recommendation for me, so I worked my schedule around those letters. 

How did you go about choosing schools to apply to? What aspects/qualities did you look for in your search?

What I did for my schools is looked for research-heavy institutions. I asked myself if I was applying because I wanted to go there or if I wanted to go for the state of applying. I leaned on my family to see what school I really wanted to apply to. I also extensively researched schools, including rankings and financial aid.

Who did you lean on the most through the application process? What resources did you seek out to make sure you stood out amongst other applicants? How did you use the Common App through your application process?

Google was my biggest resource in researching schools. School websites were helpful, but I also used Reddit and Quora to hear directly from other students that attended that institution. 

What do you wish you knew before applying to college that you know now? 

Overall I was happy with the process. One of the things I wish I knew was that ’s okay to take a break, there are a lot of times where I sat at the computer screen and kept on going because I thought I had to. It’s okay to take a break. Enjoy yourself a little bit. When you’re working for so long you don’t become as productive. 

You have gone through and finished the application process. What are you most proud of?

My essays. When I was reviewing them with my teachers and friends. I was really proud of what I had written. The final product was all that work was culminated into this one essay that I was proud of submitting. I was able to show admissions offices them who I am as a person from a 3-D point of view.

My essay was about how my whole life I’ve been a bit overweight. My essay is about the periods where I have succeeded and where I have failed and how I’ve come to love myself while still allowing myself to be critical. 

Finding the balance between being critical of yourself and that change is okay. As long as you’re working towards your goal, it’s not about how that’s fast you get there.