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The Ultimate Guide to the Common App: Everything You Need to Know

The Common Application, or Common App, is a widely used platform for college admissions. As a high school student applying to college, you may have questions and concerns about how to navigate the Common App effectively. In this blog post, we'll address some frequently asked questions to provide you with clarity and guidance. From understanding submission deadlines to managing supplemental essays, we've got you covered!


Q1: What is the Common App, and how does it work?


The Common App is an online platform that simplifies the college application process by allowing students to apply to multiple colleges and universities using a single application. It serves as a central hub where you can enter your personal information, academic achievements, extracurricular activities, and essays. Once completed, you can submit your application to multiple colleges with ease.


Q2: How do I create a Common App account?


Creating a Common App account is simple. Visit the Common App website, click on "Apply," and select "Create an Account." Choose your student type: if you haven’t yet attended college, select “first-year student.” Follow the prompts to provide your personal information and create a username and password. Once your account is set up, you can begin filling out your application.


Q3: What are the main components of the Common App?


The Common App consists of several sections:

  1. Profile: This section covers your basic details like name, address, and contact information.

  2. Family: Here, you can provide information about your family members, their education, and occupation.

  3. Education: Here, you'll provide information about your high school, courses taken, and grades.

  4. Testing: In this section, you can report your standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT.

  5. Activities: This section allows you to showcase your involvement in extracurricular activities, including clubs, sports, community service, and work experience.

  6. Writing: The writing section includes the Common App essay (personal statement), where you can share your story and experiences.

  7. Courses & Grades: This section will appear only if you have added a college that requires it.


Q4: Can I use the Common App for all colleges and universities?


The Common App is accepted by over 1,000 colleges and universities worldwide. However, not all institutions accept the Common App. It's important to check whether the colleges you're interested in participate in the Common App. You can find the complete list of participating colleges on the Common App website.


Q5: Are there specific deadlines for the Common App?


Yes, each college sets its own deadlines for the Common App. It's important to research and note the application deadlines for each institution you're applying to. Some colleges have Early Decision or Early Action deadlines, which typically fall in November, while Regular Decision deadlines are often in January or February. Be sure to check the requirements and submit your application by the specified deadline.


Q6: Is the Common App essay important? How should I approach it?


Yes, the Common App essay holds significant weight in the admissions process. It offers a chance to showcase your personality, experiences, and aspirations. Approach the essay as an opportunity to tell a compelling story that highlights your unique qualities. Be authentic, choose a topic that resonates with you, and use your voice to express yourself effectively. Seek feedback from teachers or mentors to polish your essay.


Q7: How do I manage supplemental essays and other requirements for each college?


While the Common App streamlines the application process, individual colleges may have additional requirements, such as supplemental essays or specific questions. When exploring colleges on the Common App, carefully review each institution's requirements. Note any supplemental essay prompts and deadlines and plan your time accordingly to ensure you meet all the necessary criteria.


Q8: How should I approach the Activities section on the Common App?


Your activities say a lot about you! It's important to be selective and highlight those activities that are meaningful to you and demonstrate your passions, leadership, and personal growth. Provide concise descriptions — there is a 150 character limit — and focus on your responsibilities, achievements, and the impact you made. Be sure to prioritize quality over quantity and include activities that align with your interests and intended area of study.


Q9: How do I assign my recommenders?


Once you've added your Teacher or Other Recommender to your "Invite and Manage Recommenders" list, you get to choose which colleges receive their recommendations. This helps you share the right information with each school. Just assign your recommenders to the colleges you want, and the Common App will send them an email invitation.


Q10: Can I make changes to my Common App after submitting it?


Once you submit your Common App to a college, you can't make changes to it. However, you can make updates and modifications to your application before submitting it to other colleges. Review your application thoroughly and make necessary edits or additions before hitting that submit button.



The Common App simplifies the college application process by allowing you to apply to multiple institutions through a single platform. By understanding the ins and outs of the Common App and addressing common questions, you can approach the application process with confidence and clarity. Remember to pay attention to deadlines, put effort into your personal statement, and tailor your application to meet individual college requirements.


At Uprooted Academy, our mission is to empower students like you as you apply to college. To ensure you have all the tools you need for a successful college application process, we offer a FREE Step-by-Step College Advising Video Course. This invaluable resource will guide you through the entire process, giving you the knowledge and insights to navigate it with ease. You can access the course on our website, Google Play, or the App Store, so you can start taking steps towards your college goals right away.


As you begin crafting your college list, don't hold back—dream big and aim high! Embrace the opportunities that lie ahead, challenge yourself, and explore colleges that align with your passions and aspirations. To learn more about potential schools, make sure to visit our upcoming virtual college fair on Saturday, September 9. This event will connect you with representatives from a wide range of colleges, offering valuable insights that will help you find the perfect college fit.


So, don't miss out on this chance to register today and take the next step toward discovering the right schools to add to your Common App. Your future awaits, and we're excited to be a part of your college journey. At Uprooted Academy, we're here to support and guide you every step of the way. Together, let's make your college dreams a reality!


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SAVE THE DATE 10/19: VIRTUAL COLLEGE FAIR

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