What Is The Common Application?

The Common Application, frequently referred to as the Common App, is a comprehensive all in one university application process.

The non-profit organization has an online application that hosts over 1,000 member colleges and universities in the U.S.

The Common App takes the daunting process of applying to institutions one by one to a convenient process of up to 20 at once.

What's involved in the Common App?

The online application process is simple, straightforward and is well laid out. Most importantly, this application process saves time in order for students to focus on other priorities such as choosing a major, organizing funding, preparing for entrance exams etc.  

The concept of the Common App came about in 1975 where 15 universities participated in a paper based pilot program to ease the tedious application process.  

Success was generated with this new process which led the Common App to go online in 1998.

The Common App includes public, private and even Ivy League institutions, and can be found at commonapp.org.

How do I create an account?

One of the great things about the Common App is that you can start the process as soon as possible by creating your account.

This is a step that requires no preparation but that will help you set up your profile so that you can start to receive alerts and updates via email.

Once you input your basic profile information, you can add schools to your list and browse the specific requirements so that you know what to expect.

When you have done this, you can see how requirements vary between different schools.

You can also set up a requirements tracker so that you are prepared to submit everything the admissions tutors want to see.

What do I need to submit my Common App?

There might be college-specific requirements, but there are also universal requirements that you are going to need to fulfill before you can submit your admissions application anywhere.

These requirements include:

  • high school transcripts
  • list of extracurricular activities
  • entrance exam test scores
  • test dates and
  • legal guardian details.

Other benefits of using the Common App

You can do more than just prepare your application and track deadlines through the online college planning app.

You can also use the app as a trusted partner in the admissions process by using a virtual counselor tool. It will give you the guidance that you need and the advice that you want when you are choosing a college, applying for aide, or even selecting a major.

Applying to attend college can be stressful. You want to attend a school with the right culture and activities that will keep you engaged, but applying to multiple schools can be time consuming.
Take a look at the member schools on The Common Application and see if schools you would like to attend are listed.

Further information

For more tips and advice on putting together your common application for college, please see: