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What Colleges Use The Common App

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Is There A Common App For Scholarships

COMMON APP: How to apply to Colleges using Common app

Similar to the college application process, applying for scholarships can take a significant amount of time and energy. The Common Application offers financial aid resources, including access to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation’s scholarships.

Users can also connect their accounts to the College Board’s scholarship search to save time on individual applications. This free service operates similarly to the Common Application and shares reusable information with scholarship providers.

Do All Colleges Use The Common App

When you head down the road in your college admissions journey of deciding to embark on completing your college applications, you sit down, open up your computer and stare at your screen, wondering where do I begin? Dont worry. Its not as complicated as you would think. Well, maybe it is, but, they say starting is always the hardest part. So, where do you start?

First, you need to determine where the schools that you want to apply to house their applications. This is not necessarily on their website. They may use a general application in their admissions process.

Brainstorm Essays Ahead Of Time

As a student, take time to brainstorm essays. The Common App questions have been released several months ahead of its annualAugust 1 launch. Therefore, being able to have an idea of what to write aboutcan make the overwhelming application process much more enjoyable. This alsoinvolves planning drafts before a students senior year break.

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Conquering The Common Application Essay

The Common Application essay is where applicants have their best chance to show admissions officers at colleges who they really are. Beyond the standard information like grades, test scores and extracurriculars, applicants can use the essay to tell a unique story that helps them stand out. Instead of dreading this portion of the Common Application, use some of the tips and tricks below to craft a strong, concise essay.

Consider the Choices

The Common Application essay has multiple prompts which applicants can choose from. The prompts can be found here and cover a variety of topics that allow for innumerable unique essays. Try brainstorming responses to each prompt instead of settling on one immediately.

Start Early

The application process is time-consuming, even with the Common Application, so be sure to set aside plenty of time for completing the essay itself. The essay should be thoughtful and show your capabilities and potentials, not likely something you want to simply churn out in a few hours. Applicants who feel they do their best work under the pressure of a deadline can work with counselors, teachers and others to create personal deadlines independent of the Common Apps due date.

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What Is The Common Application Form

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The Common Application form is actually a collection of materials that you must both gather and complete. This will include an array of documents such as transcripts and diplomas or degrees supplementary materials including letters of recommendation and admission essay and completed forms, which includes forms posing questions common to every college application, as well as forms posing questions specific to each college on your application list.

The Common Application helps streamline the process of gathering all of these materials in a single place, organizing them for submission, and reducing many of the redundancies that come with the traditional application process. The Common App is paperless, which means all materials must be gathered and all information submitted through the online portal.

As noted above, there are two different Common Applicationsone for first-year students and another for transfer students.

The primary difference between these applications is that the transfer student application includes a place to submit existing college transcripts and requests more information specific to your degree program. If you are a transfer student, it will be important to determine that the Common App is accepted not just by your target university, but also by your intended degree program.

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Thoroughly Word Your Honorsections And Your Activities

Activities and honors sections should be formulated with caution. Thereare 150 characters to define each behavior and award, which is not much,particularly if the student has numerous achievements and tasks. Ensure thatexplanations are well-measured and be as descriptive as possible. It is notrequired to put down everything that has been done. Thus, if there is notenough room for everything, students only need to list down the specifics andachievements that stand out.

What Does The Common App Cost

The high costs of attending college doesnt start your first day of school. While using the Common App is free, submitting to the schools you want costs money, and can range from $30 to $75 per application. The good news is 42% of member schools dont require an application fee, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Although the University of People has some fees, were still much cheaper than any other university. Best of all, were still a tuition-free university, which may be worth considering as an option before beginning your college applications through the Common App.

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What Can A Student Do To Make Their College Application Process As Smooth As Possible

  • Stay ahead of the deadlines. Every school has a different set of deadlines and requirements, and it’s up to the student to manage all of those expectations. Create a calendar or schedule for yourself to make sure you are meeting the deadlines for each institution.
  • Find ways to make yourself stand out. What are you doing that no one in your immediate peer group is doing? Why did you choose that particular activity or experience? What did you learn from it?
  • Proofread, check it, and check it again. Then have someone else look over it. Don’t let grammatical errors or small mistakes distract from the overall application you are presenting.
  • Keep in touch with your guidance counselor and college admissions counselors. We are your advocates and want to help you be successful, not only in completing the application but also in securing admission and scholarships. Ask questions, make sure you have the complete answers, and stay present with those individuals.

Onetwowhich Application Is Right For You

Our Top Tips on Applying to College with the Common App!

The University of South Carolina accepts two applications: The Common App and the UofSC App. Learn more about each application!

It’s application season! Where did the time go? One minute youre walking into high school for your first day of class and the next you’re getting ready to apply to colleges. While applying to colleges may be a lot of work, its such an exciting milestone!

At the University of South Carolina, we accept two different applications: The Common App and the University of South Carolina App. Let us break them down for you so you can determine which one is your best fit.

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Do I Have To Use The Common App To Apply To College

The short answer to Do I have to use the Common App? is No.

While it certainly may be more convenient to do so, as long as the school youre interested in applying to accept applications through their own website, you will not necessarily need to use the Common App. In fact, some schools will require that you do that and may not even exist as an option on the Common Application, anyway.

On the other hand, there may be schools that require you to apply through the Common App, so it just depends. Be sure to read the instructions on your prospective schools website before applying.

Were Committed To The Pursuit Of Access Equity And Integrity In The College Admission Process

More than 40 years ago, a small group of colleges and universities got together to reimagine the college application process. One application, 15 forward-thinking institutions. What began as an experiment to simplify the admissions process has evolved into a global college access movement.

Today, Common App is a non-profit membership organization representing more than 900 diverse institutions of higher education. We connect applicants and those who support them to a wide array of public and private colleges and universities across all 50 U.S. states, and 20 countries.

Each year, more than one million students â a third of whom are first-generation â apply to college, research financial aid and scholarships, and connect to college counseling resources through Common App. But the path to higher education has changed. While everyone can go to college, not everyone does. In order to help all students reach their goals, weâre dedicated to:

  • Lowering the logistical and systemic barriers to college access
  • Supporting those who support students
  • Serving a diverse group of students and institutions
  • Leveraging data and insight to inform our member institutions

We do this by making the application simple, the process logical, and the experience joyful. Together, weâre forging a direct path to higher education for all students.

The Common Application

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What Is The Purpose Of The Common Application

The Common Application streamlines the application process, making it possible for a student to complete and submit a single application to up to 20 schools. The purpose is to reduce the amount of time and effort spent responding to the standard application questions for items such as biographical information, family information, and academic performance materials.

The Common Application also creates a single portal for applying to more than 325 schools which charge no application fee. This means that the Common App can serve as a portal to free simultaneous submission to a large number of schools. By making it easier for students to submit multiple applications at once, and by offering a single portal for discovering schools without application fees, the Common Application aims to make the application process more accessible, equitable, and consistent.

Meredith Lombardi explains that The mission of the Common App is to increase access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. With over 900 member colleges in the US and around the world, students have access and exposure to a wide range of institutions. For students applying to multiple institutions, the Common App streamlines the application process by eliminating the redundancy of filling out multiple applications. Our application provides students with the necessary tools to showcase themselves and their talents while providing a unique picture of who they are as an individual.

What Colleges Use The Common Application

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At the time of writing, more than 900 colleges and universities accept the Common Application. Schools are located predominantly in the U.S., spread across 49 states and the District of Columbia. There are also a number of participating colleges and universities in Canada, China, Japan, and parts of Europe.

Of participating schools, Common App identifies:

  • 204 public colleges and universities in the U.S.
  • 62 international colleges across 18 countries
  • 12 Historically Black Colleges and Universities
  • 325+ schools without an application fee and
  • Nearly 250 test-optional/flexible schools

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Demonstrate Excellent Written Communication Skills

A key quality that colleges look for in applicants is excellent communication skills. This means that not only your essays, but also your descriptions for activities, need to be perfectly written and structured. Make sure your essay is clear, coherent, and concise, with a compelling intro and conclusion, and a logical flow. Your essay should present a cohesive narrative of you as an applicant, while being further supported by the rest of your application components.

Ensure you review every component of your application for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, coherence, structure, flow, and so on. Nothing can turn off an admissions committee as quickly as glaring spelling errors in a college essay. Remember that in Common App, you dont have the option to go back and edit essays once your application is submitted. So dont submit your essays till youve triple-checked your work and feel 100% sure about the content.

What Are The Common App Essay Prompts And How Can I Find Them

The topics for essay prompts may change slightly from year to year. All of them have a 650-word limit, which may be one of the trickiest parts. There are seven options and you can find the essay prompts on the Common App website blog.

Some essay prompt examples are, Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? Another is, Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.

These essays are meant to give the college an idea of who you are and why youd be a good fit for their school, in addition to the academic qualifications.

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When Does The Common App Open & When Are The Applications Due

Each year the Common App opens up to students on August 1st and closes on January 1. If you want to stay ahead of the rush, you create an account and fill out general information prior to August 1 and send in your application after August 1st.

Application deadlines can be confusing. Depending on when you aim to apply to universities, the deadline may vary. On the Common App, you have three deadline options. If you wish to apply in advance, you can choose between Early Action and Early Decision. The deadline for these applications is generally November 1st.

If you wish to apply early, it is important to understand what option â Early Decision or Early Action â is the best option for you. While both options ensure that if youâre accepted, your spot is secured early , there is a critical difference between the two. If you are admitted through Early Decision, you must attend that university regardless of any other universities you have applied to or your financial status. Early Action, however, is not a binding decision. Acceptance to a university doesn’t mean you are required to attend. You have the freedom to choose between various options and apply to more universities in the Regular Decision round.

If you don’t want to apply early, the deadline for general admission is typically January 1st . You can track deadlines on your Common App account and determine what route you want to take when applying to a university.

Checking Your Application Status

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Once you submit your application through the Common App, you will receive an email from Penn State Undergraduate Admissions directing you to go to MyPennState to complete the Self-Reported Academic Record . You may feel that you completed this step as part of your Common App, but you must complete the Penn State SRAR via MyPennState in order for your application to be reviewed. Once you submit all materials for your Common App you should regularly check its status and receive an admission decision in MyPennState.

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Which Schools Accept The Common App

The Common Application works with more than 900 schools, including institutions in Canada, Europe, and Asia. Prospective students can apply to online, Ivy League, public, and private colleges and universities. Some schools prefer to work with the Common Application over their own application processes, although candidates can still independently apply to any school that uses the Common App.

For schools that don’t accept the Common Application, students should look into whether similar platforms are accepted, like the MyCoalition application and the Universal College Application. Keep in mind that some institutions just require candidates to send their applications through their own platforms, and don’t accept any kind of universal application at all, so it’s important to research the preferred process at your target school.

Determine Where Youll Get Your Letters Of Recommendation

Counselors, teachers, and recommenders will submit these papers on your behalf. Here are the types of recommenders you can invite to the Common App.

  • Counselors Counselors share their perspectives using the context of the entire graduating class. They also submit the School Report and transcripts.
  • Parents Parents will only need to submit a form if you apply using a colleges early decision deadline. They will fill out part of your early decision agreement.
  • Teachers Teachers give a firsthand account of your intellectual curiosity and creative thought.
  • Other Additional recommenders are usually non-academic recommenders like coaches, employers, and peers. They offer insight into your interests and activities outside of the classroom.

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What If I Need To Stop Working On The Application

You are not required to complete the Common App in a single sitting. If you cannot finish your application, save your work and come back another time. When you are ready to work on your application again, go back to and login with your username and password. Do not create a new account or start a new application.

Gather Materials Before Starting The Common App

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Make sure you have all the information and materials you need before you make an account and start filling out the personal fields of the Common App. Examples include high school grades, extracurriculars, and family information such as demographics and salary. You should have:

  • A copy of your high school transcript
  • List of extracurricular activities, volunteering, or work
  • Parent or legal guardian information
  • Test exam scores
  • Academic honors and achievements

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Who Can Use The Common App

The Common Application is for first-year students, transfer students, and students who may be returning to school after a long hiatus. Of course, the other group of people that can use the Common App or those who want to apply to a school that accepts the Common App!

Photo by Matt Ragland on Unsplash

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