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What is the College Common Application?

Before you can attend college, you have to apply for college. And how you apply to college – or, most likely, multiple colleges – is a pivotal part of the process. An inefficient college application process creates needless headaches, unnecessary delays and mounting frustration. A streamlined, simple college application protocol ensures you’ll get the best possible return on one of your most valuable resources: time!

Thankfully, there’s an easy way to apply to many colleges with one application: the Common College Application. This user-friendly tool, sometimes referred to as the “common app,” was created in 1975 to help incoming college freshmen with their application process. Initially designed to simply the application itself, technological advances quickly opened other avenues for high school juniors and seniors. Instead of filling out a single application for each college, the Common Application enabled any student to easily apply to multiple higher learning institutions.

Today, there are nearly 700 colleges that utilize the common app. This blog will look at how the Common Application can benefit today’s university-bound high school students, along with some helpful tips for applying.

Why Use the Common College Application?

Many prospective college students – including a few we’ve helped here at Reality Changers – think the Common College Application isn’t for them. According to these students, why should they bother filling out a form for more than one college, when they have their sights set on one particular educational institution?

Here’s why they’re wrong, plain and simple: There’s a chance they may not get into the college they want.

Now, that sounds like basic common sense, but for ultra-focused high school juniors and seniors, common sense and becomes a little fuzzy, especially if a student never considers a Plan B. And the Common College Application is the ultimate Plan B – in fact, consider it the Plan B through Plan Z!

Getting Started with your College Application

The college common application includes an easy 5-step process to get started:

  1. Create an account – just some basic info (including a valid email address) is all you need to get started.
  2. Add schools – you can populate your desired school list from a list of over 700 private and public universities throughout the United States.
  3. Use the School Requirement Worksheet – this part of the application is really the only part that requires school-specific info. However, a handy worksheet is included to minimize confusion.
  4. Collect your info – here’s where the College Common Application is all about you. Your grades, activities, references and other information should be gathered before moving on to the final step.
  5. Enter your info – now that you have everything ready, it’s time to fill out the actual application. Even if you get stuck, there’s an Applicant Solutions Center and Virtual Counselor to help out!

Reality Changers recommends the common app for any high school student looking to simplify the college application process. While the Common Application is just one part of the entire college application process, it’s an important one!

Thanks for reading the Reality Changers blog! For more information about our non-profit organization, click here. If you’re interested in making a donation to disadvantaged San Diego youth in search of higher education, please visit our donations page.