Should You Apply to College with the Common Application?

Find out if the common application can simplify your application process.

Public and private schools throughout the US accept the Common Application, including some in the Ivy League.

The Common Application is an online college application that can be submitted to more than 456 colleges and universities in place of the school’s individual application.

To find the college that’s right for you, you’ll want to apply to a range of schools and give yourself a few options. Think of the Common Application as a one-stop online application that will allow you to apply to many of the schools on your list with minimal time and effort.

Create your Common Application online account so you can access the school forms section and identify which teachers and counselors will be submitting transcripts and recommendations on your behalf.

Note: The Common Application is a standard college application used for undergraduate admission primarily at 4-year colleges and universities, so students applying to a community college, seeking online degrees through distance learning programs or pursuing a higher degree such as an MBA will need to use the school’s application.

Where Can You Apply with the Common Application?

Public and private schools throughout the US accept the Common Application, including some in the Ivy League. Among the colleges and universities that accept the Common Application are Yale University, University of Michigan, USC, Davidson University, University of Virginia, and the University of Notre Dame, to name a few.

The Common Application site features a current list of the colleges and universities that accept the application. As you’re conducting your college search, keep track of which schools participate in this program. All of these schools offer many of the courses and majors that may interest students, and furthering your education at any one of those schools can certainly put you on a solid path toward a number of careers.

Questions and Answers About the Common Application:

1. Is there an online application?
Yes, you can submit your application online or print it out and mail it in to the schools you’re applying to.

2. Is the Common Application widely used?
Yes. Last year, more than 2.5 million college admissions applications were processed utilizing the Common Application.

3. Is it valued as highly as the college’s own application?
All of the member schools have signed off and agreed on the standards for the Common Application. Some participating schools only use the Common Application as their application for undergraduate admissions.

4. What if I’m a transfer student?
There are Common Applications specifically designed for transfer students who want to enter into a major degree program at a new school.

5. Are there benefits to using the Common Application instead of a school’s application?
The primary benefit of using the Common Application is that submitting a standard form will save you time. If you find the college process stressful, the Common Application frees you up to focus on your college essays, visit schools or otherwise prepare for college.

Common Application Tips & Tactics

  • When looking for colleges, search Campus Explorer to narrow down your selections and find out each school’s admissions requirements. Some colleges require extra forms and essays that aren’t included in the Common Application.
  • Create your Common Application online account so you can access the school forms section and identify which teachers and counselors will be submitting transcripts and recommendations on your behalf. They will then be notified automatically with an email and can submit their information online.
  • Have more questions about the process? Watch the video tutorial on the Common Application website.

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10 College Application Tips You Need to Know
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Have You Submitted Your Online College Applications?

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