The Common Application: Should You Use It?

Should you use the Common Application when applying to collegesWorking on college applications can be a daunting process. It’s your senior year of high school and you have a lot on your mind (mainly the future) not to mention all the social events taking place.

And we all have those relatives–every time you’re at a family gathering it’s “where are you going to college in the fall, Johnny?” or “have you started applying to colleges yet, Susie?”, “what are you going to major in, Becca?”. You’d swear they wanted you to draw out your entire life on a timeline for them. But let’s be real, even if you could, they’d still come up with bizarre questions to ask you.

So I guess you’d better get started on those applications. But there has to be a simpler way, right? Well, kind of. It’s called the Common Application, and it’s a streamlined way to apply to all of the colleges on your list from one website.

So should you use it? Short answer–yes.

If you need a better reason, or still aren’t sold, keep reading and I’ll break down the 3 major reasons you should apply to colleges using the Common App.

1. Save yourself a ton of time

The best thing about using Common App is that you only have to enter all of your information once. What do I mean by “all your information”? Well things like your name, address, date of birth, high school attended, grades received (for every single class), ACT/SAT test scores, activities involved in, leadership experiences, volunteer hours logged, work experience–you get the point.

When you use the Common App, you will enter all of that information into your profile and of the 600+ schools that accept Common Apps, only the schools you apply to will be able to view it.

2. Keep yourself organized and on schedule

Using the Common App is also a great way to keep yourself on track. When you add a school to your list it shows up on your dashboard. Listed to the right is the application deadline, and the status of any supplemental materials you need to provide (transcript, writing supplement, etc.). If you’re working on it, the icon is yellow, if you’re done, it’s green.

Unlike paper applications, there’s no stack of essays, resumes, or applications to dig through and mail in. You simply upload the documents required for the application and submit your materials.

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3. Help out your teachers and school counselor

Using the Common Application doesn’t just benefit you either. It simplifies the process for everyone involved. If you need a school counselor or administrator recommendation for the college, they can upload them directly to your app. You’re also absolutely going to need a transcript sent in, and it can all be done online now!

The Common App also makes it easy for your teachers to upload letters of recommendation for you. However, just because it can all be done online does not mean that you don’t need to go to talk to the people you’re requesting letters from.

Word of Advice: If you’re expecting someone to write a letter of recommendation for you, go ask them in person first. 

Do yourself a favor and reduce the stress that comes with applying to college. It can be a crazy, terrifying, exciting time–make the most of it. If you need help with your applications or aren’t sure where you might be interested in applying to, set up a meeting with your school counselor. They’re there to help.

If you’re ready to start your Common Application today, click here. Or for more information about how it works, check out their website or FAQ page.

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