Tomorrow is August 1, a significant date in college admissions. It’s essentially the “kick off” date for the college application process – the day the Common App goes live. Common App you say? What’s that? Let’s review some frequently asked questions:
- What is the Common App?
To put it simply – it’s a college application form used by nearly 900 colleges in the US and around the world. You can fill out just one “Common Application” and submit that same application form to all (or many) of the schools on your list.
- Are there any schools that do not use the Common App?
Yes – some common examples include colleges in the University of California System (UC Berkeley, UCLA, etc. use the UC Application), along with many public universities in Texas (UT Austin, Texas A&M, etc. use the Apply Texas application). A wide variety of colleges and schools accept other application forms like the Coalition Application, or only accept their own application form just for their college. It’s best to check on the college website or in GuidedPath to find out what application form is required for each college on your list.
- What about the application essay?
One of the benefits to using the Common App is the opportunity to write just one college essay. The Common App provides seven essay prompts – you choose just one and write a single college essay that you will send to all the schools that accept the Common App. However, some colleges do require an “Application Supplement” specific to their college. Some of these application supplements require an additional essay. So again – check on the college website, the Common App, or GuidedPath to verify application essay requirements.
- How do I get started?
As of tomorrow, August 1, you can log on to the Common App and create an account if you don’t already have one. From here you can begin to fill out your student profile – essentially this is the application. You’ll record everything a college will need to know about you – demographic, academic, and co-curricular information. In addition, you can start adding colleges to your Common App list – this will become the list of schools that you apply to using the Common Application. And finally, check out those essay prompts. It’s never too early to start (or finish) your Common App essay. That will be one more thing checked off your list before senior year begins.
This year Common App has a new look and feel, and a more mobile friendly application so hopefully applying to colleges will be even easier. If you created a Common App account in the past, you should still be able to log in to the new site but you’ll likely notice that the application looks different than it did before.
Use GuidedPath to determine which schools on your list accept the Common App. You can see this on the List Summary screen under the Colleges menu. If you are applying to any Common App schools, create your Common App account and start your profile and your essay(s) soon.