A Complete Guide to the Common App

Back in the day, applying to college was regarded as a very monotonous task, and rightly so, as the applicants had to fill out the application forms of each college individually. However, over 40 years ago, a group of 15 colleges and universities came together to found what has today become an international college application platform – a quick and effortless solution to the tedious chore of college application. The Common Application, also known as the Common App, is an online college admission application system that facilitates over a million students each year applying to college, scholarships, and financial aid for research.

Representing nearly 900 higher education institutions, Common App connects applicants and their supporters to an extensive range of colleges and universities located not only across the 50 U.S. but in 20 countries as well! Common App aims to streamline the application process and help students achieve their goals by reducing the systemic barriers involved in college application and serving a diversified range of students and institutions. By using the Common App platform, first-timers and transfer applicants alike can apply to several institutes right away.

What are the benefits of using Common App?

  • Common App helps you save a lot of time as you are required to fill out the form only once, after which it is automatically made available to be sent to any of the member colleges you wish to apply to.
  • Apart from college applications, Common App helps you track the deadlines and other requirements of your potential schools, which also helps with the timely submission of your application and supplemental documentation.
  • Colleges that you apply to regard the applications made through Common App and the traditional ones as the same; hence, the conventional, school-specific applications are not preferred over other options.
  • By taking out the stress associated with the application process, Common App allows students to channel their efforts to other tasks, such as focusing on their college essays, visiting schools, making preparations, and actually getting to college.
  • Common App brings over 900 higher education institutes together on a single platform, allowing applicants to choose those that best suit their needs and aspirations, effortlessly.

When Should You Start Preparing Your Application Via Common App?

The application season on Common App commences from August 1 every year. For most schools, the decision deadline tends to be January 1; however, due to variance in application deadlines depending on the institute, students should remain attentive to their desired colleges’ important dates and requirements.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Applying Through Common App:

  1.   Gather all the requisite information to complete your applications, including your high school transcript, entrance exam test scores, guardian information, honors, and achievements, etc.
  2.   Create your Common App account by choosing registration type, providing your login credentials, and completing your registration information such as your name, date of birth, address, and contact number.
  3.   Explore and add your desired colleges that accept the Common App. College search can be done using various filters like state/country, application fees, enrollment term, standardized testing policy, etc.
  4.   All colleges have some kind of recommendation requirements, such as official school forms or letters of recommendation. Thus, you will need to collaborate with your teachers, counselors, or other recommenders, who will submit these forms on your behalf by inviting them to the Recommenders section of a college on the Common App platform.
  5.   As each college’s requirements vary from the other, you must keep track of these unique requirements such as deadlines, courses, and grades, personal essays, application fees, test policy, etc.
  6.   While keeping up with your colleges’ documentation needs, it is important to organize and plan your essays. Common App also aims to make the task of writing essays more manageable by helping you with their planning, organizing, and drafting.
  7.   The final step in this process is the submission of your application, following its thorough review and the payment of any application fee, if applicable.

In this way, you can apply to your desired colleges via Common App in a hassle-free manner, in seven simple steps!


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