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The Common Application

What Is the Common Application?

The Common Application is a non-profit organization that offers the Common App, a college application shared by over 900 member schools. The common app is meant to streamline the college application process; students only need to fill out details like their name, address, education and activities once. Students may still need to complete supplemental information for each school.

Some colleges that accept the Common App also accept applications via their own website. No preference is given to which application you file, but you should only file one or the other.

What Does the Common Application Do?

The Common App streamlines the application process to its more than 900 member colleges. This helps to reduce the burden on students because they only need to complete the common application once, rather than completing an individual application for each school.

The Common App can be used for both first-time college applicants as well as transfer students.

Common Application Essay

Every two years The Common Application reviews the Common App essay prompts. The prompts are intended to allow the applicant to shine and share their unique take on the topic. Essays are limited to 650 words. Start your application early to have plenty of time to work on the essay and avoid typos. Make sure to check with the colleges you are applying to, to see if an additional essay is required.

Do All Colleges Accept the Common Application

No. Though the Common App is accepted by more than 900 member schools, not all colleges use it. It’s best to check with the college you are applying to as part of your application preparation, and note those that use the Common App. This is also a great time to make note of any additional essays or requirements the school may have in order to apply.

How to Fill Out the Common Application for College

The Common App does not need to be completed in one sitting. Once you set up your account, you can start the application and save your progress as you go.

Commonapp.org, the site where you will complete the Common App, also provides an application guide for first time students, as well as an application guide for transfer students, and an abundance of resources to help you complete your application.


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