Good news from the Common App!
Update #1-The system is no longer purging accounts. They used to only allow seniors to create an account after August 1st and then delete those accounts every summer. But NOW, junior students can create an account after Jan 1st, a full year before many college deadlines. NO, you shouldn’t submit anything for the first six months, but it will let you poke around, add colleges of interest, see essay and writing supplement questions, and get started on those essays over the summer!
Update #2- Common App has created their own app. Yes, you read that correctly, there is now a Common App app. The mobile app, Common App OnTrack, will become a vital tool for students to view and edit their college lists, receive timely reminders so as not to miss any important deadlines, and view the status of submitted applications. For your information, we have posted a preview video of the mobile app.
Instructions and Steps for the Common App
Log onto www.commonapp.org. Create an account and write down your username (your email address) and password somewhere safe. (Please write it down; I’m already crying from the frustration you losing this info causes.) Common App will use this email address to communicate with you so be sure it’s an email you check often.
Get familiar with the Common App format:
Dashboard– Once you have added all of the colleges you like, click Dashboard and you will see your colleges in all their glory listed right there. The Dashboard is a snapshot of all of your colleges.
My Colleges- The next tab is My Colleges, which is a detailed view of each college’s requirements. first college in the list will be open.
The next tab is Common App. This is the actual application section for all of the colleges on your list. The information you add here will be submitted to every college you select.
The last tab is College Search, where you find and select colleges to apply to.
On the right side of the screen is Instructions and Help Center.
Before you get started, here are the things you’ll need
Writing Requirements for the Common App
First, you need to understand the lingo and different ‘writing requirements’ for the Common App:
1. The Common App essay. Students will be given a choice of prompts and will select ONE to write for their main essay. This essay will go to all colleges on your list. This essay is under Common App tab, click Writing. Here are last year’s prompts.
Update January 28, 2016- The Common Application has announced that the 2016-2017 personal statement essay prompts will be the same as the 2015-2016 prompts.
2. Additional Information is also listed under Common App tab, Writing, so it also goes to all colleges. You may use this section to share relevant information about yourself that is not elsewhere in the application.
3. Writing Supplements- Colleges may request additional essays or questions. These can be found in two different places: Under Colleges tab, click Questions or Writing Supplement. The ones under Questions can sneak up on you when you’re only expecting multiple choice questions such as your major of choice.
Suggestions for Writings on the Common App
Click on each college, each tab and copy and paste any questions with a text box into a Word document. Include any instructions, such as word limit, so you know exactly what to write. Since you should never write your essays into the Common App itself, always use Word to type and proofread your answers. (Brand College Consulting clients will then upload their docs for a professional review and edit.)
After writing and proofreading essays (hopefully over the summer), you can copy and paste your final answers into the Common App.
After August 1st, you can start completing the Common App itself. This section is pretty straightforward. Items with a red asterisk are required. Enter the data and you can click Continue or just click on the next section; it auto saves (nice). The little green checks appear in places where that section is technically done—but this is NOT exactly true from your standpoint! The checks mean that the section is either complete or that the data isn’t required in order for you to submit the Common App.
Submitting the Common App
When the Common App section has all green check marks, and when a college in the My Colleges section has all green check marks (for Questions, Assign Recs, and Writing Supp) THEN you are ready to click “Submission – Common App” for that college. You will submit your applications one at a time, when each college is ready. You will need to complete the sections of the Common App before you can submit the first college application, but you can go back and edit your Common App for future schools after you submit it to a college.