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Blog / Everything You Need To Know About The Common App

Everything You Need to Know About the Common App

Written by Seza on Sep 25, 2023

Everything You Need to Know About the Common App


When it comes to applying for college, the process can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are tools and platforms that simplify the application process, and one of the most widely used among them is the Common App. In this article, we’ll explore what the Common App is, its benefits, the schools that use it, key application components, alternatives, and conclude with some valuable insights.

Everything You Need to Know About The Common App

What is Common App?

The Common App, short for the Common Application, is a user-friendly online platform designed to streamline the college application process for students. It allows applicants to apply to multiple colleges and universities using a single, standardized application. By providing a common framework, it simplifies the often complex and time-consuming task of applying to various institutions.

The Common App offers several advantages. First and foremost, it saves time and effort. Instead of filling out separate applications for each school, students can complete one application and send it to multiple institutions. Additionally, it provides access to a wide range of resources, including tools for tracking application progress and managing submission deadlines. This simplification makes the college application process less stressful and more manageable.

List of Schools that Use Common App

One of the major strengths of the Common App is its extensive network of member institutions. Over 900 colleges and universities in the United States and around the world accept applications through the Common App. Here is the complete list of the schools that use Common App:

National Universities

Liberal Arts Colleges

Everything You Need to Know About The Common App

Key Application Components of Common App

The Common App consists of several essential sections that help colleges evaluate applicants comprehensively:

A. Personal Information Section

This section collects basic personal information such as your name, contact details, and demographic information. It is the foundation of your application.

B. Academic History and Transcripts

Here, you’ll provide details about your academic background, including your high school courses, grades, and standardized test scores. Many colleges also require submission of official transcripts.

C. Extracurricular Activities

In this section, you can showcase your involvement in extracurricular activities, clubs, sports, volunteer work, and other non-academic pursuits. This allows colleges to understand your interests and passions outside the classroom.

D. Essays and Writing Requirements

The Common App typically requires an essay or personal statement. This is your opportunity to express your personality, goals, and experiences in your own words. Some schools may also have additional essay prompts.

E. Letters of Recommendation

Many colleges request letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors who can speak to your academic abilities and character. The Common App provides a convenient platform for submitting these letters.

F. Standardized Test Scores

In this section, you can report your SAT, ACT, or other standardized test scores. Some schools have adopted test-optional policies, so be sure to check each institution’s requirements.

G. Application Fee Waivers

The Common App offers fee waivers for eligible students, making it more accessible to those with financial constraints. These waivers can significantly reduce the cost of applying to multiple schools.

Alternatives to Common App

While the Common App is widely used, it’s not the only option for college applicants:

A. Coalition for College

The Coalition for College is another application platform that includes a diverse group of colleges and universities. It emphasizes access and affordability and offers tools to help students plan for college early in their high school years.

B. Universal College Application

Some colleges, although fewer in number, use the Universal College Application as an alternative to the Common App. It offers a similar convenience of applying to multiple institutions with a single application.

C. School-Specific Applications

Certain colleges and universities have their own application systems. These school-specific applications may have unique requirements, so it’s crucial to research and meet each institution’s criteria.


Each application platform has its strengths and weaknesses. The best choice depends on your preferred colleges and individual circumstances. Take the time to compare the platforms and consider which one aligns with your goals and needs.

Final Word


In conclusion, the Common App is a powerful tool that simplifies the college application process. It offers numerous benefits, including a broad network of participating institutions, fee waivers, and streamlined applications. However, it’s essential to research alternative options like the Coalition for College or school-specific applications to make the best choice for your unique college admissions journey. Regardless of the platform you choose, remember that careful planning and preparation will ultimately lead to success in your college application process. Also, Jack Westin’s expert advisors are here for you if you have any questions. Feel free to check out our website and YouTube channel for more information. 

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