August 31, 2023

A Guide to the Common Application

Without guidance, the world of college admissions and the process of applying to multiple universities
can often feel like a labyrinthine challenge. Juggling deadlines, online university applications, and
essays can be overwhelming to the most organized student. Enter The Common Application. Thanks to
tools like The Common Application, the application process has become more streamlined and
accessible for students seeking an advanced degree.

A Brief Overview of The Common Application

The Common Application, which we often call the “Common App,” is a user-friendly online platform that
allows high school students to apply to multiple colleges and universities from a single application.
Started in 1975, the Common App was initially developed to simplify the application process and reduce
the workload for students applying to multiple institutions. Over the years, it has gained significant
popularity and is used by over 900 colleges and universities worldwide.

(Submitting applications is fun! Randy helped Morgan hit submit her Common App.)

Benefits of Using The Common Application

Time Efficiency
One of the most significant advantages of the Common App is the time it saves students. Instead of
laboring over separate applications for each college, students can complete one central application,
which is then sent directly to multiple colleges and universities. Essentially, work smarter, not harder!

The Common App ensures consistency across applications. Students provide their basic personal and
academic information, extracurricular activities, essays, and more in one place, making it easier for
admissions committees to evaluate applicants fairly.

Essay Flexibility
While many universities have their own specific essay prompts, the Common App includes general
essay prompts that can be used for multiple applications. This allows some students to only write one
essay that can be read by multiple schools.

Access to Wide-Ranging Institutions
The Common App partners with diverse colleges and universities, including public, private, large, and
small institutions. This allows students to explore a variety of options within a single platform. Many
institutions do not charge an application fee through the Common App which can increase access to
options students may not have previously considered.

Using The Common Application Effectively
  1. Create an Account
    Begin by creating an account on the Common App website. Gather all necessary information, including academic records, standardized test scores, and extracurricular details. Ideally,
    students should do this the summer prior to Senior year.
  2. Research and Shortlist
    Research the colleges and universities that are part of the Common App network. Create a
    shortlist of institutions that align with your goals. We always encourage Class 101 students to
    make these lists well ahead of application time but it is helpful to have this on hand and make a
    plan for your colleges on your list that are not included in the Common App.
  3. Gather Materials
    Collect all required documents, such as transcripts, letters of recommendation, and test scores.
    Be sure to know each institution’s specific requirements.
  4. Tailor Essays
    While the Common App provides general essay prompts, some schools have additional
    prompts or specific essay requirements. Tailor your essays to highlight your fit with each
    institution and be sure to answer any additional essays required.
  5. Proofread Your Essays
    We cannot stress this one enough! Proofread your application thoroughly to ensure accuracy.
    Grab a trusted family member or friend to help proofread all essays before submitting them.
  6. Submission Timeline
    Keep track of application deadlines for each college. Some colleges have different deadlines for
    early decision, regular decision, and scholarship applications.

Class 101 Quick Tips for Success
● Start early and begin the application process well in advance to avoid last-minute stress, errors,
and missed deadlines.
● Show authenticity by being genuine in your essays and letting your personality shine through.
● Seek guidance if you’re unsure about any aspect of the application and seek help from a
guidance counselor or service like Class 101.
● Utilize the “Additional Information” section wisely by thoughtfully explaining any irregularities
or gaps in your academic record.
● Stay organized by keeping track of deadlines and required materials for each institution.

Class 101 can help with the Common Application

Our Class 101 students are prepared and ready to hit “send” when the Common Application opens on
August 1st. By working closely with their Class 101 college advisor, our students are confident,
competitive, and receive college acceptances well ahead of the curve.

We’re here to help. To learn more and schedule a free consultation, reach out to us at one of our

Class 101 Brandon FL | Class 101 Carmel, IN | Class 101 Bloomington, IN

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