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The Common App: Four-Year Colleges and Universities

Why should you use the Common App for these applications? 


Common App is a widely-used platform for first-year applicants as well as transfer students accepted by over 900 schools.  It allows your application to be sent to multiple schools without additional effort on your part, but please be aware that some colleges and universities have individual requirements even though they accept the Common App.   It is free to use, but individual schools may charge you application fees that should be waived.   You can turn to your homeless liaison or the National Association of College Admissions Counselors for help with these fees.

Does the Common App solve all my college application issues?

No.  You are not required to use the Common App; there are other similar platforms.  Your school may insist on you using another platform.  Be aware that some schools allow students to apply either through the Common App or through the school websites, and other schools only accept applications through their own school websites. Finally, some states have application system that students can or must use in order to apply to colleges.  Note that the ten schools Marcus considered for a four-year business degree all accepted applications through the Common App.

What are the individual elements of the Common App?

There are seven parts beginning with Gathering Materials and continuing with Creating an Account, Supplying Your Colleges,  Leaning on Supporting Individuals, Understanding the Requirements of Each College, Planning and Writing Essays, and Submitting the Application.  You need to begin in August of your senior.  Together all the elements should take about six weeks to complete.

Where do I get help to complete the Common App.

First, access this website (www.  and create an account.  The site has detailed step-by-step instructions plus videos.

Secondly, contact your school counselor on the first day of school and ask about enrolling in a Common App workshop at your school.  If there is not one scheduled, ask a teacher if he or she would lead one.  The real value is to be in a group of a dozen seniors working through the steps.


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