How students can use CommonApp


High school students or those looking to transfer institutions can sign up for a free CommonApp account. Photo by Isabella Bonilla

Isabella Bonilla

The Common Application, otherwise known as CommonApp, is an online platform many colleges and universities across the country utilize for their application process. The platform itself is entirely free and various counselors encourage seniors to sign up, as there’s a good chance at least one college they’re looking at uses it.  

Students, whether in high school or looking to transfer universities, can sign up for the CommonApp and compile their prospective list. The platform outlines everything a student needs to do for that particular institution’s application, including any essays, questionnaires and some scholarship info. Deadlines for early action or regular decision are also prominently displayed underneath the student’s selected colleges. 

Students should check the application process on that institution’s website beforehand, as not every college or university uses CommonApp. Some use the Coalition Application, while others use a proprietary application (their own individual process). Colleges that use proprietary applications include MIT and University of Alabama, while schools such as University of Maryland use the Coalition Application. 

 Students only have to worry about ordering their transcript if they are not using a platform such as CommonApp, where the counselor will upload it for you. It’s advised that students applying to institutions not using a common application process talk with their counselors.

Manual counselors will be coming around to all senior English classes sometime in September to speak one on one with students about their college plans. It may also be useful for students to email their counselors or set up a conference if they have any urgent questions, concerns or clarifications. 

CommonApp Overview 

  1. Sign up
  2. Create your list
  3. Check all requirements
  4. Fill out questionnaires and supplemental info
  5. Write any essays and gather recommendations (also make sure to invite your counselor and any teachers/advisors through the invite button on the recommendation page)
  6. Submit any test scores (ACT, SAT, APs)
  7. Talk with your counselor about your plan
  8. Finalize, review and submit