Getting Started With Your Common App

Posted on 09.4.2014 in ApplicationCollege Counseling  (Taken from – September 2014) 

You’re ready to get started with your Common App, but there’s one small problem: you don’t know how to get started with your Common App.  Don’t worry. We’re here to help. You can start the process today or when you are ready later this fall.

These 4 steps will get you on your way…

1. Create an account  — Your username will be your email address, so make sure you use one  that you check … on a regular basis. You’ll also be asked to set up a password. Write it down in a place where you will be able to find it when you need it.

2.  Add some colleges to your list —  After you log in, click on the College Search tab to add schools to your My Colleges list. If you have specific schools in mind, you can search by name. You can also search for schools based on additional criteria such as location, deadline, or distance from your home.

3. Know what each college will require of you — The information you share through the Common App will tell colleges a lot about you, but colleges will also have additional questions that are unique to them. You can get to each school’s “Questions” from your Dashboard, where you’ll find them listed under Application and Writing Supplement. (Not all schools will have a separate Writing Supplement.) You can also search for deadlines, Teacher Evaluation requirements, and other information on the searchable, sortableRequirements Grid.

4. Gather what you need —  The Common App is divided into different sections. As you move through them, you’ll find that it will be helpful to have a few items close at hand:

    • a copy of your high school transcript,
    • your senior year courses,
    • a list of your activities both in and out of school,
    • dates and scores from any college entrance tests you’ve taken or plan to take,
    • and some details about your parents such as their educational background, occupations, and employers.

And now you’re ready to begin. Print a copy of the Common App Basics  guide, and keep it handy as you move through the process. (If you misplace it, you can always come back here or download it from the Applicant Help Center.)

Good luck!


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