Common Application


Click here to access the Common Application website!



A copy of your high school transcript

In the Education section you will enter your high school grades and current courses. Some colleges also need you to self report your high school transcript. You can check out your Courses & Grades section to learn more.

A list of your activities, work, and family responsibilities

You can share your interests and who you are outside of the classroom in the activities section. You can share information about things like work, hobbies, clubs, and community engagement. And don’t forget, family responsibilities can be important to share as well. This is the place to show colleges what makes you unique!

Test scores and dates from your college entrance exams (SATs, ACTs, etc.)

You may self-report scores for any standardized tests in the Testing section. Every college has different testing requirements. Some colleges will always need your test scores. Other colleges may be flexible or have a test optional policy. Be sure to check the Testing policy of the colleges on your list.

Parent/Legal guardian information

Many colleges collect this information in the Family section for demographic purposes. We will ask for your parents occupation, employment status, and education level. If applicable, we will also ask which college(s) they attended and how many degrees they have earned.

Academic honors and achievements

The Activities section isn’t the only place to show your passion and where you excel! You will also have the chance to share any academic honors or achievements from high school.



  • Go to Common App website
  • Choose your registration type.
  • If you are applying to college for the first time you’ll select the “First Year Student” button.
  • Provide your login credentials.
    • Make sure you use an email address you check often. This is the email the Common App and colleges will use to get in touch with you.
  • Complete your registration information.
    • We will need some basic information about you like your name, home address, phone number, and date of birth.
    • Be sure to use your legal name as it appears on official school documents and standardized tests. This will make sure colleges can match documents to the correct person.
    • At the end, you will adjust your communication preferences and accept the Common App privacy policy.
  • Select “Create Account” to complete your account



The College Search tab is where you will search for and add the colleges you want to apply to. If you have a school in mind you can search by name. If you want to keep exploring, you can use the more filters button. Some filters include:

  • State or country
  • Distance from a zip code
  • Enrollment term
  • Application deadline
  • Application fees*
  • Writing requirements
  • Standardized testing policy
  • Recommendation requirement

Adding a college is easy! You may add a college using the add button in the search results list. You can also select a college and add them using the “Add to My Colleges” button from their info screen.

Once you’ve added colleges, you can see them on your Dashboard and in your My Colleges tab. Keep in mind you may only add up to 20 colleges. You may adjust your list of colleges at any time.

* While some colleges may charge an application fee, others have no fee to apply. And, many will offer fee waivers under certain circumstances, including financial need, veteran status, and more. (If you qualify for free/reduced lunch you qualify for a fee-waiver)



Inviting and Assigning Recommenders. Talk to teachers/ other recommenders ahead of time to find out if they will write a letter for you. They may ask for a list of your accomplishments/ extracurriculars so they can better highlight your achievements.

  • From the My Colleges tab select a college and open their “Recommenders and FERPA” section.
  • If you have not done so already, you will need to complete the FERPA Release Authorization. (FERPA are laws protecting your information – like grades- you will need to give the school permission to share that information with your prospective colleges)
  • Invite recommenders using the invite button from each section. You may also use the “Invite Recommenders” button at the top.
  • Select the type of invitation you would like to send. For each invitation you will need information like their name and email address.
  • After you add a recommender, you can view their info using the Manage Recommenders button.
  • Note that teachers, parents, and other recommenders will not receive an email invitation until you assign them to a college. To assign these recommenders, go to their section within this screen. Select their name from the dropdown and use the assign button.

In general, each college has their own recommendation requirements. For example, one college may need two teacher recommendations. Some colleges may not want any teacher recommendations. Colleges can also determine what kinds of other recommenders they want. Some may allow for any recommender type, whereas others only allow an employer recommendation.

Types of recommenders you can invite on the common app






  • Sometimes writing essays can feel like the biggest part of your application. With a little bit of planning, organizing, and drafting, we can help you make this task more manageable. Organize and plan for your writing prompt.
  • Colleges can either make the personal essay optional or required. In the writing section of your Common App tab, you will see a table that lists each college’s requirements.
  • Many colleges include short answer questions or essay prompts within this section.
  • Some colleges use a separate writing supplement. Not all colleges have a writing supplement. Some colleges only request this supplement based on how you answer other questions. You can find more information about writing supplements on the Dashboard or your My Colleges tab.
  • Feel free to ask teachers/mentors to look over your essays and help you submit a quality essay. Colleges are looking at your writing ability along with finding out more about what makes you unique. Think of it as an opportunity!



Each college needs you to complete common questions and add counselors. Beyond that their applications vary. You will find the additional requirements in the specific school’s tab. Each college can determine their unique requirements for:

  • Deadlines
  • Application Fees
  • Personal Essay
  • Courses & Grades
  • Test Policy
  • Portfolio
  • Writing Supplements
  • Recommendations



  • Submission is a three-step process:
  • Reviewing your application.
  • Paying the application fee.*
  • Submitting your application.

What Is "College"?

College is all post-secondary education including certificate programs, trade schools, community colleges and 4 year colleges and universities. Learn More