Pros and Cons of Using the Common App to Apply for Colleges

An online college application form in an iPad.

Pixabay user geralt

While you’re applying for colleges, a term you may have come across is The Common Application, or better known as the Common App. 701 colleges and universities accept the Common App in the United States, Canada, China, and Europe. However, before using the application process, you should know a few pros and cons about using the Common App to apply to your potential schools.

Pro: The Common App Saves You Time

There’s no getting around it: the Common App is perfect at saving you time. With high school, work, community service, sports, and, of course, applying to colleges, you can always benefit from something that makes your hectic life just a bit easier.

The application only requires you to fill out the form once and then it is available to send to any of the schools that are a member of the system. If you have several schools that accept the Common App, that’s several less forms you will have to complete. Some universities also only accept the Common Application, so make sure to check the application process for every college/university you’re interested in before completing any.

Con: It’s Easy to Overdo It

While over 700 institutions accept the Common App, it doesn’t mean you should apply to all of them. It’s easy to forget this though and get caught up in the ease of applying to several schools at once. It’s important to still do your research and apply to colleges that align with your needs and goals.

On the other hand, don’t avoid applying to colleges that don’t accept the Common App just because it may be more difficult or time consuming. If you’re sincerely interested in attending the school, take the time to apply!

Pro: Tracks Important Info

In addition to applying to the colleges, the Common App can help you track your potential schools’ deadlines and requirements. This could help you submit your overall application, essay, and supplemental documentation, like letters of recommendation, on time. The dashboard provides you with all the information you could need.

However, while these are helpful tools, always double check the schools’ deadlines available on their websites. Not all information will be supplied on the Common App dashboard. You don’t want to submit something late by accident and be disqualified from the application process!

Pro: Schools Won’t Pay Less Attention

Some students worry that the Common Application may actually hurt their chances for acceptance. However, colleges and universities that accept the Common App sign a document stating that they will not favor the traditional, school specific application over other options.

If you’re still concerned though, you can always go the traditional route and save yourself any potential worry.

The Common App is a great tool to save you time during your senior year of high school. However, you should always keep in mind that research is your most important tool. Double check that the schools you want to apply to accept the application, track the deadlines for supplemental materials like essays and letters of recommendation, and only apply to schools that align with your goals. If you can keep on top of everything that needs to be done, the Common Application is definitely worth the time.

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