An Introduction To Common Application

Filling out the Common Application (Common App) is a critical step in applying to multiple U.S. colleges and universities efficiently. The Common App streamlines the application process by allowing you to submit one application to multiple institutions. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you complete the Common Application:

Step 1: Create an Account

  • Visit the Common Application website ( and create an account.
  • Provide your email address and create a password.
  • Verify your email address by clicking on the link sent to your email.

Step 2: Add Colleges

  • Log in to your Common App account.
  • Click on the “College Search” tab to find the colleges you want to apply to.
  • Click “Add” for each college you want to apply to.

Step 3: Complete the Common Application Sections

  • Once you’ve added colleges, you can begin filling out the application sections. These sections include:
    • Profile: Basic personal information.
    • Family: Information about your parents and siblings.
    • Academics: Details about your high school, courses, and grades.
    • Testing: Optional section for reporting SAT, ACT, or other test scores.
    • Activities: List your extracurricular activities, jobs, and volunteer work.
    • Writing: Write and submit your college essay (if required by the colleges you’re applying to).
    • Courses & Grades: Some colleges may ask you to self-report your coursework and grades or provide your high school counselor’s contact information for them to submit official transcripts.
    • Recommendations: Enter the names and email addresses of teachers or counselors who will provide recommendations. They will receive instructions on how to submit their recommendations separately.
    • Supplements: Some colleges have additional questions or essays in this section. Be sure to complete these for each college.
    • Payment: Pay the application fees (if applicable). Fee waivers may be available for eligible students.

Step 4: Review and Submit

  • Before submitting, review each section carefully to ensure accuracy.
  • Check for any errors or missing information.
  • Have someone you trust review your application for feedback and proofreading.
  • Click the “Review and Submit” button to finalize your application.

Step 5: Pay for and Submit Your Applications

  • Pay the application fees for each college unless you have received fee waivers.
  • Once the payment is processed, click “Submit.”

Step 6: Submit Supplemental Materials

  • Some colleges may require additional materials, such as official transcripts, standardized test scores, or portfolios. Submit these materials directly to the colleges according to their instructions.

Step 7: Track Your Application

  • After submitting your applications, you can track their status through your Common App account. You’ll see when each college receives your application and when they require any additional documents.

Step 8: Wait for Admissions Decisions

  • Admissions decisions will be communicated directly by the colleges. You may receive acceptance letters, rejection letters, or offers of admission to waitlisted status.

Additional Tips:

  • Start early to give yourself plenty of time to complete your applications.
  • Keep track of application deadlines for each college.
  • Be honest and accurate in your application.
  • Tailor your essays and responses to each college’s specific requirements.
  • Communicate with your high school counselor to ensure they submit transcripts and recommendations on time.

Remember that the Common Application is just one part of the college application process. Be sure to review each college’s individual requirements and deadlines to complete your applications successfully. Good luck with your college applications!


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