How To Apply To College With The Common Application
The common application is widely used by over 850 universities big and small from all across the globe. Understanding how to properly use this tool can help you apply to schools faster and more efficiently.
A practical guide for using the common app
The common application is widely used by over 850 universities big and small from all across the globe. Understanding how to properly use this tool can help you apply to schools faster and more efficiently. This is not only for future college students but it’s useful for transfer students, parents, and counselors to know and understand the common application and on this page we’ll show you exactly how it works and how you can get started today!
How does the common application work?
The common app can make applying to school much easier for students because it allows them to consolidate everything into one place. Hundreds of colleges and universities accept the common application so everyone from high school students to transfer students use it each year. Learn exactly how it works here…
What is the common application?
The common app is a single online application form that students can use to apply to many schools rather than having to apply to each school individually. But there’s a catch, nearly half of the participating schools require that students submit additional unique information along with the common application. So here’s the thing, it’s not just an easy work around to apply to college because each school requires some unique information. However, the common application helps students “automate” the submission of all of the most common information that schools require.
Create a profile at CommonApp.org and add or subtract colleges that you want to apply to so you can keep track of deadlines.
Fill out your common application with all relevant information like name, address, extra curriculars, grads etcs.
Add any supplemental information required by each school. These will be specific questions or essays prompts that are unique for each school you’re applying to.
Instead of refilling out the same information over and over again, students can submit their repeat information to each school with just one submission.
Colleges will receive your common application information as well as your additional information. HTe admissions offices will begin to review your application.
After collecting and reviewing all of your applicant information the school will either decide to accept or deny or wait-list you as an applicant. If you applied for financial aid you will also learn about your aid options and receive your financial aid package offer.
Who should use the common application?
Parents, students and counselors all have questions about the common application and even if you are familiar with it, you’ll have some questions. Below are the most important questions about the common app and if you still have questions you can check out the common application help center guide.
Who is the common application helpful for?
High School Students: The common application can help high school students stay on track and monitor their progress and deadlines for each school. Through the common application system they can check on things like letters of recommendation submissions, transcripts, and track additional materials that are required for acceptance.
Transfer Students: Transfer students who are currently enrolled in another educational institution and looking to advance their education elsewhere can benefit from the common application as well. It’s a great way to submit applications to multiple schools while tracking every step along the way which is perfect for busy transfer students.
Parents and Guardians: The common app is great for parents and guardians especially when it comes to financial aid applications. Many colleges will ask for detailed financial information that parents need to fill out and that information can be securely submitted to multiple schools. The parents or guardians can also check in on progress and deadlines as well.
Do I have to pay for the common application?
The common application itself is free but colleges may charge an application fee. Around 250 colleges and universities that accept the common application, do not charge a submission fee but a great majority do. These fees can vary anywhere from $25 to almost $100 depending on the school. Submission fees may be waived due to financial aid reasons and fee waivers may be available through the common app, the college board, or the National Association For College Admissions Counseling.
What do I need to fill out on the common application?
The main thing that you’ll need to fill out on the common application is your transcripts. If you are a high school student you’ll need your high school transcripts and a transfer student will need high school and college transcripts. All applicants will also need to submit their standardized test scores meaning things like the SAT or ACT.
Do you need to write an essay for the common application?
One of the most important things on the common application is the essay. On average the essay will be about 600 – 700 words but please check the rules and requirements for the essay and make sure that you meet the requirements for all of your specified schools. Some colleges have different essay requirements so always double check. Besides the essay there are other important components of the common app.
The student profile: The student profile contains information about the students demographics like name, gender, race, address, phone etc. Family background and some additional information will be part of your profile” section.
Student academic history: The common application will require students to submit their transcripts and in many cases their course load. This is especially true for transfer students who are currently enrolled in colleges. Along with the academic background this is where students will add letters of recommendation from particular teachers and acquaintances. Make note that some colleges will require that you submit your academic background directly to the school, outside of the common application.
Standardized test scores: This section is dedicated to test scores including but not limited to standardized tests like the ACT and the SAT. This section may include application and credit tests, advanced placement and subject test scores and any other test scores the applicant wants their prospective college to see. However, applicants must also submit their test scores through the college board and or the ACT even if they are included on the common application.
Extracurricular: In this section the prospective student wil add any extracurricular activities or accomplishments. This includes clubs, volunteering, sports and or any notable contributions to society outside of school. Highlight special achievements can go a long way in the application process as colleges like to accept well-rounded applicants.
Supplemental materials: Some colleges and programs may need to see something specific to their campus, such as an applicant’s eligibility for a specific scholarship or additional essay questions. These materials vary from school to school.
Should I fill out the common application for online classes?
If you are planning on taking online classes that don’t count towards a degree, filling out an application may not be required, however, if you are going for a degree most schools still require that you fill out an application.
If you plan to apply to a bunch of online schools make sure you check the application fees for each school (if they have an application fee) because you may end up sending a lot of money on application fees without realizing it. The common application makes it really easy to apply to online colleges as well.
Can I create different versions of my common application?
The answer is yes, you can create around 12 versions of your common application but the whole point is to have one application that you submit to multiple schools so creating multiple versions may be defeating the purpose. You will have to submit specific additional information to each school based on their unique requirements so make sure to use the common app to satisfy the general information request and then supplement with your other required documents.
The common application is for online students and on-campus students.
The common app was created to help students apply to more schools with less effort and struggle. The founders noticed that students spent too much time delivering the same information to different schools and they decided to condense it all into the common app and then simply distributed it to the right schools.
Whether you’re planning on going to online college or on-campus college the common application can help and right here you can access a list of over 850 schools that currently accept the common application.