The Common App - What is It and Should You Use It

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Applying for colleges takes tons of time, effort, and sometimes a significant amount of money. The common app is a common application that colleges can choose to take instead of having their own college-specific application for admission. This system has come a long way in the last few years and is definitely worth looking into.

What is the Common App?

The Common App is a college application created when a group of colleges got together and decided that they are willing to take students who apply using this general application, rather than a specific one for each separate college.

What is the point of using the Common App?

Using the Common App can cut your application time down significantly if you are planning on applying to multiple colleges. If all of the colleges you want to apply to are a member of the Common App system, you would only need to fill out the application once and send it to all the colleges you are interested in. This prevents you from having to fill out 6 applications for 6 different colleges.

Is the Common App different from other college applications?

You still have to provide all the basic info on the Common App that you do on other college applications. You will need your transcripts, your standardized test scores, and any honors you have. You will still need to write an essay and some colleges will still require recommendation letters from teachers. You may also have to have an admission fee for each college.

Do all schools use the Common App?

No. Not all colleges accept the Common App. Some will require that you fill out an application specific to their college. If you have a particular college in mind it is worth your time to find out if they accept the Common App before filling it out. Do not assume that the school you are interested in will accept it, check first. Usually, a search of the college website should give you your answer.

While not always correct, a good rule of thumb to follow is that most private colleges will accept the Common App while many public and state-funded universities have their own application system that they require students to use.

How many schools take the Common App?

There are over 900 schools that currently agree to take the Common App, and more are being added to the system each year. There are schools in every state as well as several in other countries that will recognize it as means of application for entry.

How do I get started with the Common App?

If you have decided that the Common App is worth your time, you are going to want to visit the official Common App website. Here you will need to set up an account and start filling in your application. They do a good job walking you through the process and helping you get started, from entering your information to selecting the colleges you want to send the application to.

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