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Learn about how to apply to college using Common App

Learn about how to apply to college using Common App

Did you know that you could apply for 900 colleges by simply filling out the Common Application? Here's a step-by-step guide to successfully complete the Common Application.

Step 1: Gather your materials. There are a few items you'll need to submit with your application: 

  1. Your high school transcript
  2. A list of your activities, work experiences, and family responsibilities 
  3. Test scores and dates from your college entrance exams (some schools are test-optional--check with your specific school)
  4. Parent/guardian legal information 
  5. Academic honors/achievements

Step 2: Create an account. Visit the Common App website and create an account. There is a box to check "First Year Students". Make sure to have your registration information handy: full legal name, address, phone number and date of birth. The sign up is easy and free!

Step 3: Browse and add college. There are over 900 colleges that accept the Common App; just add the colleges you are interested in applying to. You can see your full list by clicking on your dashboard.

Step 4: Talk to your supporters and request school forms. All colleges and universities require some official documents like transcripts, letters of recommendations. You can invite counselors, teachers, parents, advisors, and coaches to submit materials on your behalf!

Step 5: Understand the requirements. All colleges will ask you to complete the common questions and add your counselor. Beyond that, there are some additional criteria that will vary by college:

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

Step 6: Write your essays. Most colleges will require you to plan, draft, and write a polished personal essay. Some college will have more than 1 question or writing supplements. Give yourself enough time to craft something you are proud of before you submit!

Step 7: Submit your application. This easy three-step process includes reviewing your application, paying a fee (this might differ depending on your college), and submitting your application!


  • Common Application
  • college application
  • letters of recommendation
  • transcripts

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