Common App Guide: Everything to know about it

Common App helps you to create a single application pack for every University and college

Common App eases the long application process for college and University students. It is a platform where you can access tools to apply for multiple colleges with a single go-to application pack. 


Common Application helps you to upskill your creativity in essay writing and personal statements for scholarships in the US. The app provides a multi-purpose platform to get admission to a top-ranked University.  

This guide will give you a full ride to the Common Application usage. 

So, make your application journey smooth with Common App through the guide! 

10 Things to Know about Common App 

1.What is a Common App?

2. How to sign up for Common App? 

3. How to Use Common App?

4. How to write an essay on Common App?

5. What are the essay prompts for Common App 2023?

6. What are the Opening dates of Common App?

7. What are the deadlines to apply through Common App?

8. How to Add Recommenders at Common App 

9. FAQs about Common App

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1. What is Common App? 

Common App is an online college application system that links students, and counsellors to US colleges and Universities. It provides easy application access for hundreds of Universities in the USA, Colombia, Europe as well as China and Japan.  

The common application is associated with 960+ colleges and Universities around the world. Where you can get in by preparing your application in Common App. 

It means common app provides a shortcut to apply for different colleges at same time. 

It is a genius initiative of multiple universities and colleges that collaborated to make education accessible to Students. US nationals and International students can apply to all Ivy League Schools, Stanford, Caltech, University of Chicago and hundreds of other Universities through Common App. 





2. How to Sign Up for Common App?  

The sign-up process takes less than a minute to create your account at Common App. However, you need to work on your profile afterwards. You can create an account on a Desktop browser as well as a Mobile application. 


2.1. Select Category 

Firstly click on “Start new application” Then you need to select your category whether you are a first-year student, counsellor, transfer student or Parent.


2.2. Add Information 

Add your basic information like Email address and Password for this application. Then create your account and Log In to it.  

You need to add this information to create an account: 

Account info, personal info, contact details and Acceptance of privacy policy.  




2.3. Go to login Page

After creating an account go to the login Page, where you can log in to your account and start preparing for the application. 

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After Signing in to your Common App, It displays the home screen that has different Tabs including Dashboard, My Colleges, Common App, College Search, Financial Search. 

Each Tab includes specific fields that are explained below.   



3. How to Use Common Application for Applying to US Colleges? 

Common Application is an easy platform where you can edit one-time information for every college application and identify specific requirements of each college.  

The application includes different tabs where you can put in information and search for colleges.   


Firstly, search for College in “My College” Tab so that you can get details of desired college. Then add your basic information to “Common App” tab.  


Here we’ve covered the sections that are displayed on Common App Homescreen after logging in.

3.1. Dashboard 

3.2. My College 

3.3. Common App

3.4. College Search  

3.5. Financial Aid Resources


3.1. Dashboard 

The dashboard includes colleges you’ve selected to apply to. It includes specific details of each college and your application status for that college. 

The dashboard helps find all your desired colleges and your application progress. 




3.2. My Colleges  

In this tab, you will find a range of colleges. You can search for colleges under the search bar and add them to your list. This tab will show you specific details of each college, You can add particular details required by the college here.  

See the screenshot




3.3. Common App 

This section includes your Profile, Family information, Education background, Testing, Co-curricular activities, courses and grades.  

  • Profile includes your address, contact, nationality, language etc 
  • Family information includes your parent and siblings’ information  
  • Education background requires your all previous academic records 
  • Testing section asks for SAT / ACT scores
  • Activites section requires your previous co-curricular activities 
  • Grades and Courses include previous record of your academics    

See the screenshots  




3.4. College Search  

This section provides you the option to search for your desired University or College. You can add it to your dashboard by clicking the “Select” button 



3.5. Financial Aid Resources 

If you have lower-income background, you can apply for Fee waivers for applications under this tab. There is specific information given on the tab to apply for financial aid.  


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4. How to write an essay on Common App?  

The application allows you to craft Common App essay that is usually a Personal Statement. It makes your profile more alive with essay prompts. It also has additional and supplemental essays.

Common App essay is all about your personal story that makes you distinct as a person. These essays help the selection board to evaluate candidate on the basis of their personality instead of grades. 

The common application essay has a 650-word limit to sketch your story. You can utilise the Common App essay prompts they unveil every year. These prompts help in crafting your Common Application essay in a specific manner with connectivity and an essay with details and rich ideas. The Common App essay carries 10% to 30% of the application’s weightage 


Tips to Write an Effective Common App Essay 

  • First, take a look at what builds or breaks your impression. The first thing anyone would notice in your essays is your hooks. These are the introductory paragraphs of your story. 

The first paras are extremely notable because College Admission Officers spend no more than 15 minutes on your entire application. If you fail to grab their attention in the first 2-3 minutes then they’re gonna skim through your application file even faster. 

  • Utilise the common app essay prompts in a productive manner. These prompts will help you brainstorm the most amazing phases of your story 
  • Make sure to build a well-structured scenario while keeping the prompts in mind. Talk about your goals, achievements, accomplishments, ideas, experiences like a story 
  • Never discuss something in your conclusion that you have talked over earlier, you just have to be present in the moment. Lastly, add a critical fact or a major fact




5. What are essay prompts for Common App 2023-2024?  

There are different essay prompts to make best out of your Common App essay. Common App Essay Prompts for 2023-2024 is a brief list to make a comprehensive and attractive essay for college application. 


A short display of these prompts by Common Application for US colleges 2023-24 is here: 

  • Share your story that links to your background, Identity, interest or talent that makes your personality incomplete  
  • Write about any challenge, obstacle, setback, or failure you faced in life and how did you tackle it?
  • Talk about any idea/belief you ever challenged or questioned. Conclude the outcomes of it 
  • Write about anyone who did something that made you happy or thankful. How did it appear as a gratitude or sense of motivation 
  • Discuss an accomplishment/event/acceptance that helped in your personal growth  
  • Write about a topic/idea or concept that was engaging enough that you lose all track of time 
  • Share an essay you already written or structured earlier by yourself 



6. What are the Common App opening dates? 


Common Application registration started on 1st of August 2023, for students who want to start college in fall 2024. It usually opens from August to September every year. 

You can register an account or use your previous application account in Common Application if you took a gap previously. 

The closing date is November 2023. You have to keep in mind that it’s clearly nine months before the decision for admission takes place. 

Also, the deadlines for each category of admission are different. The best approach to check the opening and closing dates of the admission call is to check the website of your desired college.

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7. What are the deadlines to apply through Common App? 

The application process in Common app usually takes place from November to January each year. It depends on type of admission you are applying for. 

However, in each period of the call for admission, Every college sets a different deadline for applications. 

Here we brought tentative deadlines for different types of college admission in the USA


Type of Admission  Call for Application  Deadlines
Earlly Decision  15 October 1st November 
Early Action 1st November  15 November
Regular Admission  1st January  15 March 
Rolling Admission  Over to colleges —-


7.1. Types of College Admissions in the USA  

             The common app opens on the 1st of August but the colleges have different types of admission. These admissions and decisions include distinct features.

7.1.1. Early Decision   

This type of early admission usually starts earlier in the tenure. It gives students a higher chance to get accepted while it restricts them from accepting the decision at any cost. Therefore, student’s agreement is binding and It can not be reverted back. 


Early decision is a good opportunity for those who keep a single dream school in mind. They can get into their desired University through Early decision.  


7.1.2. Early Action  

Early action is also an admission call just like the early decision. It begins in November and calls for early admissions. It does not restrict you to apply to only one University. You can apply to many schools at a time as the decision of early action is not binding. 


Early action has a higher acceptance. It’s decision comes out in January or earlier.  


7.1.3. Rolling Admission 

Rolling admission helps students to apply for different schools without waiting for the decision. The application is not compared with other candidates. It reviews each application as soon as application arrives on the board.  

You should apply as early as possible in a rolling admission.  


Note: Rolling admission has priority deadlines to consider applications for scholarships. Each school decides its own priority deadline. 


7.1.4. Regular Admission  

Regular admission is the type where all the applicants apply for schools. It usually begins in January and lasts till March. 

It is the last call for students who wish to enrol in a college. In Regular admission, the applications are reviewed after deadlines. The decision is made after a strict evaluation and comparison of each candidate. There is a tough competition to get acceptance because of the overcrowded application pool. 


Lastly, May 1 is the decision day to accept any one college in the USA. You can not take a decision after May 1. It is required to take decision as early as possible for further proceedings. 




8. How to Add recommenders at Common App?  

You can add recommenders at Common App, by selecting your college. These are the steps to follow: 

My College Tab > Select a College > Application > FERPA > Agree > Invite recommenders 

You need to agree upon the laws of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FEPRA). It is a law that protects student’s education records and allows letters of recommendation to be reviewed by the student.  



9. FAQs about Common App 


9.1. What is the SAT/ACT for college admission in the USA? 

Scholastic Assessment Test also known as SAT is an exam conducted by the College Board USA. It is conducted all around the world to evaluate students for College admission in the US. It is a multiple-choice exam that is up to 3 hours.  

SAT score is an important parameter to evaluate a candidate’s profile.  


ACT is also a testing exam for College Admissions in the USA and Canada. It is conducted by the non-profit organization ACT Inc. This test includes English, Maths, scientific reasoning and reading. 


9.2. Why is the SAT or ACT important to complete the application process? 


SAT/ACT is like an entry test to colleges and Universities. It is conducted to evaluate candidates and compare them with others. The score of the SAT/ACT assess the selection committee to make a relevant decision.    

Common App application has a separate section to add SAT/ACT scores for the application submission in each college.


9.3. How much does the common app cost for an application?  

The common app costs nothing for the application services However, different colleges in the USA require an application fee that is $30 to $ 70 for US citizens while International students may have $100- $120


9.4. Can I apply for a Fee waiver in Common App? 

 Yes, you can apply for a Fee waiver in common app by applying for financial aid on the common app tab. To get a fee waiver you need to have a lower income background and specific documents required there.

9.5. Can I add my SAT/ACT score later? 

You can add the SAT/ACT score later if the college you are applying has allowed. You need to check out the detailed requirements of your desired college. 


Khizar is a good man. He knows stuff. He usually spends his day discussing weather updates & supporting cats online. His blood group is pizza & his favorite singer is John wick.


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