The Common App: Everything You Need to Know

Applying to college is a slow and often stressful method for seniors and their parents. In computing to completing their last year of high school, teens are also shuffling the SAT or ACT, college tours and administrations for various schools.

The Common Application, which is held by more than 750 schools, including any located outside the U.S., benefits to streamline one part of the admissions process for undergraduates.

Through the platform, first-time and instructions applicants can apply to many colleges at one time. So students only have to fill out portions that most schools need, like name, location, parental employment and learning, and extracurricular ventures, once.

“The idea behind the Common App is to work and reduce the barriers that students face when referring to college,” says Jenny Rickard, president, and CEO of The Common Application.

Despite its reputation, the Common App may be difficult for some families who are different to the college application process . The lead below can help guide students and parents through the application.

When Can I Begin Working on My College Application Through the Common App?

The new version of the Common App opens on Aug. 1 every year. However, students can build an account at any time and give their data into the new app when it opens.

Students can download the Common App’s mobile app to have a track of deadlines, invite recommenders and set notes.

Students don’t have to relinquish their applications during the summer. But beginning in August gives them the chance to review the terms for schools they’re considering, draft articles and get some of the slow background information furnished before they get bogged down with homework and projects, Warren says.

Starting early also enables students to get the advice they need at the start of the school year, she says.

How Long Does it Take to Fill Out an Application?


The time it takes to fill out an application will change based on a school’s claims, experts say. However, students require to give themselves at most limited six weeks to get everything they want for college applications, says Christine Chu, a premier college admissions guide with IvyWise, an education advising company based in New York. That’s two weeks to fill out any experience information and at least a month for other needed certificates.

What Are the Common App Essay Indicates?

The Common App essay prompts for the 2018-2019 school year will be identified as the seven prompts practiced this year. Applicants have a 650-word limit for articles.

There is some difference between the subjects. A few ask students to reflect on their participation and share examples of training or personal growth. But students also can share an essay on any subject of their choice or simply explain a topic that fascinates them.

Where Can I Find Them?

Candidates can view the essay prompts on the Common App’s blog. The group studies the prompts each other year.

With seven titles, it doesn’t mean which prompt is accepted, if it’s one that provides an applicant to give insight into his or her identity in ways that aren’t shown in other parts of the application, authorities say.

You never need to echo what’s in any of these other pieces,” says Bonnie Casson-Deweese, leader of the college match for KIPP Houston Public Schools. She helps students to look beyond academics to ponder about what makes them unique. For example, being a high school scholar when pertaining to Harvard University isn’t important because just about everybody who uses is at the top of their class, she says.

Not all schools need students to yield an essay. Some institutions may demand students to submit supplementary essays or information. Applicants can view the requirements for all schools on the Common App when people login to their student records or download a PDF from the Common App’s website.

Students can also preview supplemental problems for schools ere they begin their applications through the platform’s Applicant Solutions Center.

What Should I Do if I Run Into Difficulties With the Common App?

Students who have issues about filling out the questionnaire can ask their high school counsellor and the colleges they’re referring to for help, authorities say.

The Common App also has a kind of resources to help make the application method easier.

In addition to video tutorials throughout the request, the platform has year-round professional support available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Students can find solutions to frequently asked questions or present a question in the Applicant Solutions Center. Answer times will vary, but the average wait time for an acknowledgment is 20 minutes, according to Common App agents.

Do I Get Fee Waivers for the Common App?

The Common App is easy to use and about 45 percent of the member schools don’t require application fees, Rickard says. Students who are using to colleges that have an application fee will have to give that cost when presenting their applications.

Applicants who pass for fee waivers – those who meet the standards established by the National Association for College Admission Counselling – will be ready to make that known through the application.

“A student only requires showing that they have financial hardship already in the application, and that fee reservation can be applied to any school they use to,” Rickard says.

Students who have issues about whether they qualify for fee waivers can give out to their high school teachers or directly to the colleges that they are appealing to, experts say.

What Tips Can Make Filling Out the Common App Easier?

Don’t wait till 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 1 to finish applications, specialists say. In 2018, 1,270 students submitted applications through that last-minute through the Common App. Schools will still receive applications that are a few seconds late, according to Common App agents, but the pressure that comes with fighting on the clock isn’t worth it.

Besides causing early, experts help students to take benefit of the Common App preview that allows students to evaluate their application before submission.

Students can also hire advisers who can see parts of an application and the process they’ve made.

Do I Ought to Accept the Common App to Apply to College?

Students are not expected to use the Common App. While the program is popular, it isn’t the just one for college applications.

Many schools enable students to use online through their websites. Some nations have application systems that students can or must do to apply to schools. For example, Texas has a state-wide system for offering applications, though some Texas schools also take the Common App.

Some well-known own institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown University in the District of Columbia only receive applications through their school websites. Many competing colleges and schools, such as Harvard University and Amherst College, take applications through the Common App.

Other platforms held by some schools hold the Coalition Application and the Universal College form. And while there are amazing differences, many schools that use these platforms also use the Common App.

Do Colleges Care if I Use the Common App or a Different Platform?

Colleges that enable students to submit applications for various platforms don’t have a choice on which one is used, but high school instructors might. The Common App’s combination with Naviance, a college and job readiness software provider, performs it simple for counsellors to submit documentation for universities, experts say.

But students should present one application utilizing the platform that operates best for them.