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What is the Common App?

Have you heard the words Common App and constantly wondering what it is? Read on to understand what it is and why it is important to know how to approach it, especially if you are a high school senior applying for college!

A caucasian student with blue finger nails types on her laptop with her left hand and  writes with a pencil in her right hand.
A student working on their laptop completing their college applications.

What is the Common App?

The Common Application, often referred to as the Common App, is a widely used college application platform in the United States and some other countries. It was established in 1975 with the aim of simplifying the college application process for students applying to multiple colleges and universities. The Common App allows students to apply to multiple institutions using a single application, streamlining the process and reducing the need to fill out separate applications for each college. Currently, over 1,000 Universities utilize this application to mainstream the process.

What information do you have to complete on the Common App?

The Common App requests all information a college seeks to evaluate the student on. Personal demographics, activities and extracurriculars, awards, sports, grades, courses taken, GPA, class rank, and optional test scores (dependent on school program requirements), are all components that would be requested. Additionally, the common app essay and any supplemental essays would be required on the application as well.

How many schools can I apply to at one time on the Common App?

Currently, you can submit as many as 20 applications to universities at one time. If you decide you want to apply to more, you will need to submit the entire application and then remove the schools and add the additional schools and then re-submit them again. Remember, each school has their own application fee they require. On average, you'll find each school costs about $50-75 per application. Some schools provide waivers or have times where you may apply for free during a specific period. It is always best to reach out to a program before you apply and inquire if there is an opportunity for you to apply for free.

When does the Common App open and close?

College applications go live on August 1 every year. You can sign on to Common App before then to start completing the basic personal demographic information. However, it is important to note that a few days before August 1 Common App will go down to prepare for the live application on August 1.

For more questions or if you would like assistance with making sure you are utilizing unique strategies when completing your Common App, reach out to today!


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