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How The Common App Saves Time (And Money) When Applying to College

How The Common App Saves Time (And Money) When Applying to College

Written by Animesh Prasad

The journey on which Animesh embarked to become an engineer ended up with him turning into a content writer. As he progressed to his final year, he realized engineering isn't really his forte and pursued his love for writing. He has a deep interest in finance and loves traveling.

June 17, 2021

Applying for colleges when you are in your last year of secondary school is a mandate. Once you get started with this process, you will realise it is particularly very frustrating. There are several reasons for this. The first is that you will be balancing a lot of things at this time. You will be studying for tests such as the ACT and SAT, joining prospective college trips and applying to colleges and universities. Now the last part is often very complicated for many parents and students. On top of it, if you are asked to submit the same information repetitively, that’s strenuous for sure. In order to eliminate this problem of having to fill out identical information repetitively as a part of the application procedure for various schools, you have – Common Application. We will understand everything about this platform in this blog on – ‘Common App Saves Time (and Money) When Applying to College’.

Things To Know About Common App For College

The Common Application, also known as Common App, is a single online college application form used by a total of 900 colleges and universities. Instead of filling out the same general information —like your address, GPA, and extracurriculars— and uploading the same transcripts a dozen times, you only have to do it once. It allows you to apply to as many as 20 schools by entering your details and documents just once.

The Common App dashboard also helps you track necessary application documents (like your letters of recommendation) and important deadlines.

Apart from saving time, you might also save money by discovering you qualify for application fee waivers. Hence, it is said – Common App Saves Time (and Money) When Applying to College.

Common App Saves Time (and Money) When Applying to College

Started in the year 1975, the Common App claims that more than 1 million students complete college applications on its platform annually. 

If you’re a high school student, you can navigate the platform easily with or without the help of a parent, teacher or mentor. This platform provides application guides and checklists to plan, apply and pay for college, so you won’t have to know everything about aspects such as your expected family contribution before completing the application.

A major chunk of your work like building a college list and writing essays will be done on the platform. Thus, it is the one-stop solution for all your college application needs. 

NOTE: Although a large number of colleges and universities use the Common Application (916 as of February 2021), not all schools use it. For example, the University of California-Berkeley isn’t listed on the application. Hence, you must explore the 900-plus public and private schools at the beginning itself to avoid getting disappointed later on. 

3 Major Steps To Completing The Common Application

Once you have confirmed that the schools you are targeting are listed on the Common App, follow these three steps to complete the application process. 

1. Create your account and gather your documents

2. Add your target schools and understand their requirements

3. Start the application and submit your Common App essay

The next section of our blog on ‘Common App Saves Time (and Money) When Applying to College’ will explain each and every step in detail. 

1. Create Your Account And Gather Your Documents

To create a Common App account, you’ll need to enter just the basic information about yourself, including whether you’re a first-year or transfer student. The entire process takes even less than five minutes to complete.

When you’re done, you’ll be assigned a Common App ID (CAID). On the dashboard you can begin answering questions across these six categories:

  • Profile: Major part of this will be drawn from the account creation process.
  • Family: Basic information about your parents, siblings and household.
  • Education: Provide your high school record, including grades, as well as the degree and career you’re seeking.
  • Testing: Report your scores for exams like the SAT and ACT.
  • Activities: Add information about your extracurriculars to highlight outside interests.
  • Writing: Input a personal essay or complete the Common App essay, a 650-word response to one of seven prompts.

money-saving apps for students

The platform recommends gathering your documents before filling in these six sections, but feel free to browse through them. Information or documents you might need include:

  • High school transcripts
  • Details of your extracurricular activities
  • College entrance exam dates and scores
  • Information about your parent or legal guardian

You may like to read: Why Study in the USA?

2. Add Your Schools And Understand Their Requirements

More likely, you’ll be coming to the Common App with your college list already in hand. The best practice recommends adding your preferred school before completing any part of the Common Application, particularly the writing section. Using the platform’s college search function, you can find all the schools based on their application fees, essay requirements or other criteria. 

To add schools to your dashboard, you’ll have to click on a plus-sign. Afterwards, each of these selected schools’ application deadlines, fees, and requirements will automatically appear on the “My Colleges” tab of your dashboard. 

The best part is that the platform will also alert you about the upcoming application deadlines for each school.

Continuing ahead with our blog on ‘Common App Saves Time (and Money) When Applying to College’ let’s check the third and final step. 

If you are looking for scholarships then do check out: USA Scholarships

Things to Know About Common App for College

3. Start The Application And Submit Your Common App Essay

Once you’ve gathered all the information and documents, along with your list of schools, you’ll be ready to work through the six sections of the application itself.

Some of the categories will be easier to complete than others. You can work at your own pace, save and close out of in-progress sections.

You might assume that the writing section will take the longest to finish. However, it should actually be the quickest — as long as you have your college application essay written ahead of time in Microsoft Word. 

Recommended Reading: What Are Admission Essays?

Planning makes essay writing less of a burden. The Common App provides its essay prompts in advance, giving you time to brainstorm, outline, write and proofread. And you can easily upload documents to the platform.

Given the breadth of the application, you might not complete it in one sitting. But your dashboard will keep you updated on your progress, all the way to the finish line.

Money-Saving Apps For Students

Here are a few money-saving apps for you to help you stick to your budget. 

  1. Joy
  2. Tip Yourself
  3. Chime
  4. Qapital

In order to read in-depth about these apps and to find 16 more such amazing apps, continue reading: Top 20 Best Money Saving Apps

Time-Saving Apps For Students

Best time-management apps for students include:

  • myHomework Student Planner.
  • Trello.
  • Evernote.
  • Distraction-blocking apps.
  • To-do list apps.
  • Coach.me.
  • Google Keep

That’s it for this blog. Hope you now understand how the Common App saves time (and money) when applying to college.

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Thank you for reading this blog Common App Saves Time (and Money) When Applying to College. If you enjoyed reading this blog and would like to continue reading more about apps then do check out our following blogs.

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