The Common Application

The Common Application is otherwise know as the Common App.

I recommend creating a FREE account ASAP.  I found it was a great way to research schools and you do not have to ever submit an application through them unless you want to.  It's a great research tool.  You can start completing the general application part August 1 of your junior year.  The essay questions for specific years will also be available August 1 of your senior year.  Some schools start accepting applications September 1 of your senior year but most deadlines are in the November to December time frame.  

This is your one stop shopping for hundreds of colleges!  For all of you parents that applied in the 80's and 90's...Remember the days of requesting an application packet...Waiting a month to receive it in the mail...  Typing out each application form...Agonizing and typing multiple essays...Collecting typed recommendations...Mailing it back...etc.  No more of that!!!  

Fill out one online application for all colleges.  Answer one or two essay questions from a pool of 6-8 questions to use for all colleges.  Answer a few questions specific to that university.  Request recommendations be submitted online...Submit and pay!  Then poof, -confetti flies across your screen!  Don't misunderstand me!  This is not a fast process.  It's just faster!!

Once you create an account you can search for any school that participates.  Don't forget to use the new student email I recommended!  (See post: "You've Got LOTS of email").  When you log in you will end up on the mailing list of any school you put on your "Dashboard".   You can put up to 20 schools on your dashboard for easy clicking.  You can add and delete at any time.  There are links to their websites,  how many recommendations, how many essays and deadline dates etc. Once you put a school on your dashboard and select "Early Admission" or "Regular Admission" (See post: "Timing is everything") you can sort your dashboard by application due date!

After you create an account you can view all the schools that participate.  I don't have a complete list of schools.  If you want to check to see if a school accepts it with out creating an account just go to the school website and under admissions and it will tell you if they accept the Common App.   From my personal experience, I know that state schools in California and Washington do not participate in the Common App.  They have their own similar state applications. 

Your guidance counselor will send out info. regarding submitting official transcripts to you fall senior year.  

Some schools will ask you to send official school transcripts and SAT scores directly to them. When you register for the SAT you can enter 4 schools for your scores to be sent to directly for FREE.  If you do a bit of research you can figure out which ones need them sent DIRECTLY and put those first.  Any additional request to send scores are charged a fee.

Other schools will have you "self report" scores and grades through the Common App.  If you are accepted and commit to that school, they will then have you send scores and grades directly to verify.  To self report grades you will need to be able to see a copy of the student transcript (use ASD Q/parent connect under "marks") because you will list each semester by Course Title, Level (Honors, AP etc.),  credit hours, grade, scale (4.0 or 5.0).

2020 COVID caution:  Some schools are waving the requirement for SAT/ACT scores.  Others are making it optional to report scores.  The benefit to this is you can take it and if you don't like your score don't report it.  If they don't use the SAT score for consideration they will weight the scoring rubric differently and put more emphasis on the other areas.

I recognize the Common App isn't for everyone!  Some will argue it "looks better" to go directly to the schools website and complete their direct online application.  To each their own!  The Common App worked for us!  Some students will apply to one school.  Others want to apply to 10 or 20.  Schools do charge a fee for each application you submit.  Sometimes coupons are sent with fee waivers.  Read your emails and mail.  They will offer deals if you apply by a certain date or when deadlines are approaching and they are recruiting hard.


Pit Falls to avoid:  

Application Deadlines are usually Eastern Standard Time not Alaska time. A deadline may have been missed working down to the midnight wire.  If you are a procrastinator try to get it done the day before or at least early in the day.   Better yet a week ahead. Haha!

Make sure you click the "Save" or "Submit" tabs for all writing prompts and pages.  Racing to complete due to procrastination an answer was not submitted . So the application moved from the "Early Application" pile to the "Regular Application" pile.  That was the difference in being notified by January 1 versus April 1. Sad!

The Common App

Feel free to comment and share your experiences or ask questions.

Thanks for spending time with me!

<> Sandra


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