What is the Common Application?

The Common Application is the college admissions application used by many colleges and universities as part of their admissions process. The Common Application, often called the Common App, was designed to streamline the application process by allowing students to fill in standard information once rather than multiple times when applying to multiple schools. For example, many schools require the same family information, (parent and sibling names, address, etc); rather than having a student fill this out ten times for ten different schools, the Common Application is filled out once and then sent to the schools chosen by the student.

The Common Application premiered in the 1975-76 school year with 15 colleges. As of this printing, it is used by almost 500 participating post-secondaryschools. There is a link at the bottom of this post to the Common Application Member Page which details which schools accept the Common App.

The Common App is part of the process used to evaluate both freshmen and transfer students, however, applications are different for freshmen and transfers so students should be certain to choose the application that works for them.

The Common Application is now accepted in both online and print format although online submissions are often easier and preferred. When filling out the Common App for online submission, it is a smart idea to answer questions in a Word or other document and then copy and paste them into the appropriate boxes. Printing the application out and asking others to review your writing, especially your essay, prior to submission, is often a good idea.

While the Common Application is helpful to most students and many colleges, it is often only part of the application process. Many schools require supplemental essays as well as interviews, recommendations, extra curricular activities, and, most importantly, transcripts. Be sure to find out what else you may need to submit along with the Common App by going to the Common Application website or to the websites of your schools.

To find out if the Common Application is accepted at the schools you would like to apply to as well as any supplemental material required by your schools, go to the Common Application Members Page.