It’s finally here this year- CASPA season! There’s just over two weeks to go before this year’s cycle opens up. Let me tell you- the portal they use now is SO much better than when I first applied back in 2014- it got a massive face lift during the 2015-2016 cycle.
SO- full disclosure- I was a reapplicant last year. During my second time applying I had learned some things the hard way and I want to help make sure you don’t have to go through that yourself. Here are my quick intro tips to applying to CASPA :
- If you’re a first time applicant: APPLY EARLY. BE THOROUGH. When you get into the portal it looks like a lot- I suggest carving out a block of time set aside for just getting to know how the website works. Then take a break (it really helps I swear) and come back to tackle each piece at a time.
- If you’re a reapplicant- you know the drill now but STILL APPLY EARLY. Some programs work on rolling admissions and others don’t, but it never hurts to be ahead of the curve no matter what. Remind your references writing your letters that the cycle starts in TWO WEEKS- bug them again and again if you must. Last year I had my entire (*primary*)application submitted 6 days after the portal opened (and had my first letters of recommendation in an hour after I had reactivated my application) and while it took a lot of patience waiting to hear back from programs, it was so worth it to have it all wrapped up.
- Sidenote- some of you noticed I said “reactivated” just now. Using the “reactivate” feature of CASPA was the best move I ever made. I took a year off in between application cycles, so during the 2015-2016 cycle I created an application (this was when they made the portal switch so my 2014 data no longer worked) simply to just enter all my grades and experiences (these definitely take the longest). Then, when April 2016 rolled around I just had to reactivate my application and BOOM there it all was. Not all data rolls over though, so be careful (like your personal statement and letters of rec). If you’re considering taking this year off I HIGHLY recommend doing this. Seriously. DO it.
3. Make time for the application process and stay dedicated to that time. There will be days where the last thing on Earth you want to think about is how to write yet ANOTHER secondary application essay. But as someone who has spent countless hours on this process in two separate instances, I can tell you whole-heartedly it is ALL WORTH IT once you’re through the other side. Stay hungry and stay humble. Own the process, take responsibility, and make it happen for yourself.