What is Common App?
The Common Application, commonly referred to as the Common App, is a non-profit organization that provides an online college application platform used by over 900 colleges and universities in the United States and around the world.
It was established in 1975 to simplify the college application process for students and streamline the admissions process for colleges.
The Common App allows students to apply to multiple colleges using a single application, reducing the need to fill out individual applications for each institution.
Using the Common App can save students time and effort during the college application process and provides a standardized format for colleges to review applications.
However, it’s essential to remember that not all colleges participate in the Common App, and some institutions have additional supplemental application requirements.
Therefore, students should research each college’s admission requirements carefully to ensure they complete all necessary steps for each school they are applying to.
Here’s a comprehensive guide to using the Common Application (Common App) for your college applications:
Step 1: Create an Account for Common App
- Visit commonapp.org and Create an Account.
- Provide your basic information, including name, email, and date of birth.
- Choose a username and password for your account.
- Verify your email address to activate your account.
Step 2: Add Colleges to Your Dashboard for Common App
- Log in to your Common App account.
- Click on “College Search” to find colleges you’re interested in applying to.
- Add colleges to your “My Colleges” list to include them on your application dashboard.
Step 3: Review Application Requirements for Common App
- Once you’ve added colleges to your list, review their specific admission requirements, deadlines, and any additional materials they may require (e.g., supplemental essays).
Step 4: Complete Profile and Family Information for Common App
- Fill out your profile, including personal, academic, and family information.
- Fill in accurate and up-to-date information.
Step 5: Fill Out the Activities Section for Common App
- List your extracurricular activities, community service, work experiences, and leadership roles.
- Provide details about your involvement, including a description, position, and time commitment.
Step 6: Write the Personal Essay for Common App
- Choose one of the Common App essay prompts (or write on a topic of your choice if allowed).
- Craft a compelling and authentic personal statement that showcases your personality, values, and aspirations.
- Ensure that you thoroughly revise and edit your essay to achieve clarity and coherence.
Step 7: Request Recommendation Letters for Common App
- Ask teachers and counselors for recommendation letters well in advance.
- Use the Common App’s recommendation system to send invitations to your recommenders.
- Follow up with your recommenders to ensure they submit their letters on time.
Step 8: Review and Submit Common App
- Review your entire Common App application thoroughly for accuracy and completeness.
- Pay attention to spelling, grammar, and formatting.
- Submit your application to each college on your list before the respective deadlines.
Step 9: Pay Application Fees or Request Fee Waivers
- Some colleges require application fees. Pay these fees using the Common App’s payment system.
- If you qualify for a fee waiver, apply for it through the Common App.
Step 10: Track Your Application Status
- Use the Common App to track the status of your submitted applications.
- Monitor your email for any communication from colleges or universities.
Remember, the Common App is just one part of the college application process.
Be sure to check each college’s website for specific admission requirements and any additional materials they may need.
Give yourself plenty of time to complete your application to avoid last-minute stress.
Avoiding common mistakes in the college application process is crucial for presenting yourself in the best possible light to admissions officers.
Here are some mistakes to avoid for Common App :
- Procrastination: Waiting until the last minute to start your applications can lead to rushed and subpar submissions. Start early, and give yourself enough time to reflect and revise.
- Ignoring Deadlines: Missing application deadlines can jeopardize your chances of admission. Create a calendar with all the important dates for each college and stay on top of them.
- Overlooking Supplemental Essays: Some colleges require additional essays or short responses. Don’t forget to complete these, as they are essential for demonstrating your interest in the school.
- Writing Generic Essays: Avoid generic, one-size-fits-all essays. Tailor your personal statement and supplemental essays to each college, showcasing why you are a good fit for their specific programs and values.
- Disregarding Instructions: Follow the application instructions carefully. Some colleges have specific requirements for submitting documents or formatting essays. Not adhering to these guidelines can reflect poorly on your attention to detail.
- Sloppy Proofreading: Spelling and grammar errors can make a negative impression on admissions officers. Always proofread your application thoroughly or ask someone else to review it for you.
- Plagiarism: Never plagiarize any part of your application, including essays and recommendation letters. Admissions officers are skilled at identifying plagiarism, and it can lead to rejection.
- Focusing Solely on Grades: While strong academic performance is essential, colleges also look for well-rounded students. Showcase your extracurricular involvements and passions beyond academics.
- Lack of Authenticity: Be genuine in your application. Avoid exaggerating achievements or presenting yourself as someone you are not. Admissions officers value authenticity.
- Including Irrelevant Information: Only include activities and experiences that are relevant to your college application. Avoid listing every minor involvement you’ve had; focus on quality and impact.
- Solely Relying on the Common App: Some colleges use their application platforms or have additional requirements. Research each college’s website for specific instructions and materials.
- Forgetting to Submit Required Documents: Ensure all required documents, such as transcripts, test scores, and recommendation letters, are submitted on time and in the correct format.
- Disregarding Optional Components: If a college offers optional components, such as an optional essay or an arts supplement, consider submitting them if they can enhance your application.
- Using Inappropriate Email Addresses or Usernames: Create a professional email address and username for your Common App account. Avoid using nicknames or unprofessional names.
By being proactive, thorough, and thoughtful in your college applications, you can avoid these common mistakes and increase your chances of standing out positively to admissions committees.
Remember, applying to college is a significant process, so take the time to make your application the best it can be.
What is Common Application Fee?
The application fee for the Common Application (Common App) varies depending on the college or university to which you are applying.
As of the last update in September 2021, the typical application fee for each college ranged from $25 to $90. However, some colleges offer application fee waivers for students with financial need or who meet specific criteria.
It’s important to note that the Common App itself does not charge a fee for creating an account and adding colleges to your application list.
The application fees are specific to each college and are used to cover the cost of processing and reviewing applications.
When researching colleges and preparing your application, make sure to check the specific application fee for each institution on their website or within the Common App itself.
Additionally, if you believe that the application fee may present a financial burden for you and your family, you can inquire about fee waiver options or financial aid resources offered by the colleges you are applying to.
Many colleges have provisions in place to support students who face financial constraints during the application process.
Common Application Deadlines
The Common Application (Common App) allows colleges and universities to set their own application deadlines, which can vary from one institution to another. As of the last update, the Common App generally provides the following deadline options:
- Regular Decision Deadline: This is the standard deadline for most colleges. The regular decision deadline usually falls between January 1st and January 15th for the following fall semester’s admission.
- Early Action (EA) Deadline: Some colleges offer an early action option, allowing students to apply earlier and receive their admission decision sooner. Early action deadlines typically fall in early November.
- Early Decision (ED) Deadline: Early decision is a binding option, meaning if you apply and get accepted, you are committed to attending that college. ED deadlines are often in early November as well.
- Rolling Admissions: Some colleges have a rolling admissions process, where they review applications as they are received and notify applicants of their decisions throughout the application period. There is usually no set deadline, but applying early is still beneficial.
It’s essential to check the specific deadlines for each college on the Common App or the college’s official website.
Additionally, be aware of any additional requirements or deadlines for specific programs or scholarship opportunities at each institution.
Keep in mind that application deadlines can change, so always verify the most up-to-date information on the college’s website or through the Common App itself as you begin your application process.
Applying early and meeting deadlines promptly can give you a competitive advantage in the college admissions process.
Good Luck with your college applications!