Get to Know the Common Application

Get to Know the Common Application

More than one million students apply to college each year using the Common Application. Why? It lets you apply to multiple colleges using one centralized application--and a whole lot more. Here’s a crash course in the Common App.

What is the Common App?

The Common Application is a free application platform accepted by more than 900 colleges and universities in the U.S. and abroad. Over the years, the Common App has evolved from a single form students could use to apply to several colleges into a large college application hub. Students now use the Common App to research colleges, build their college lists, request recommendations, manage deadlines, apply for scholarships, and more.

Where Can You Find the Common App?

Students can access the Common App at commonapp.org, and most colleges accepting it provide links to the application from their websites. Using the Common Application is free. You will, however, have to pay the college’s application fees, although application fee waivers are available through the Common Application for students who qualify.

When Can You Begin Applying with the Common App?

A new version of the Common Application is available every August 1, but you can create an account and start entering your information before that date. If you want to familiarize yourself with the Common App before you start applying to schools (which counselors recommend), you can create a “practice” account, which allows you to access all the features of the platform and complete a practice application without sending it to colleges.

Is there a Common App Essay?

Many, but not all, colleges that accept the Common App require a personal essay. The Common App features seven essay topics from which to choose and announces them in the spring prior to August 1. This is great news if you want to get a summer head start on your essay. (See How to Write Your Common App Essay for tips). You can customize your essay for different colleges and send different versions to different schools.

What about other requirements?

While you only need to create your application and personal essay once for all your colleges, some schools have additional requirements, such as multiple recommendation letters and additional essays. The Common App has some special features that help you keep track of these details and submit materials.

  • The Common App clearly lists the requirements for every college you are applying to

    . As you complete your applications, it parses out any additional questions or writing supplements required and keeps them front-and-center. The application will flag these items if you try to submit your application without them.

  • The Common App will notify your counselors, teachers and other recommenders

    when recommendation letters are due and send them recommendation and grade report forms to complete and return through the platform.

  • You can submit videos or portfolio pieces

    highlighting your skills and outside interests.

A Special App for Transfers

Students transferring from two-year or four-year colleges can use the Common App for Transfer to apply to more than 650 four-year schools. This platform provides and collects forms specific to the transfer application process and customizes the application experience based on a student’s age, goals and degree status.

How to Get Started with the Common App

Because the Common Application has so many features, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the platform long before you start working on your applications. Visit the Common Application's Student Solutions Center for more information and links to video tutorials.

Also, for more information, access CollegeData’s Common Application Guide (below), which shows you all the colleges on CollegeData that accept the Common App, as well as their application deadlines, fees, and the number of essays and recommendations they require.

What's Next?

Take a look at the Common App Guide below to review each college's application deadlines, fees, and requirements.

Use the College Chances Calculator to learn what it takes to get into these colleges.

See How to Write Your Common Application Essay for the current Common Application essay topics and tips for choosing the best topic for you.

Key

E:

College requires Common App essay

WS:

College requires Writing Supplement in addition to or in place of the Common App essay

E, WS:

College requires both Common App essay and a Writing Supplement

CR:

Counselor Recommendation required

TR:

Teacher Recommendation required

OE:

Other/non-academic evaluation required

School Report:

A description of your high school provided by your counselor, usually sent with your transcript

Midyear Report:

Grades from the first term of senior year

Search Icon
Admission Deadlines Fees Additional Forms Required
Early Decision Early Action Regular Admission Mail Online Essay/Writing Supplement Recommendations School Report Midyear Report
Adelphi University 12/1 Rolling $40 $40 Yes: E, WS Yes: CR Yes No
Agnes Scott College 11/1 11/15, 1/15 3/15 $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR, CR Yes No
Alaska Pacific University Rolling $25 $25 No No Yes Yes
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences 11/1 12/1 2/1 $75 $75 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR Yes No
Albertus Magnus College Rolling $35 $35 Yes: E Yes: CR Yes No
Albion College 12/1 Rolling $0 $0 No Yes: CR Yes Yes
Albright College Rolling $0 $0 No No Yes No
Alfred University 12/1 Rolling $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: CR Yes No
Allegheny College 11/15, 10/15 12/1, 2/1 2/15 $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR, CR Yes No
Alma College Rolling $0 $0 Yes: E No Yes No
Alvernia University Rolling $0 $0 Yes: E No Yes Yes
AMDA - American Musical and Dramatic Arts Academy - Los Angeles Rolling $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR Yes no
American Academy of Art Rolling $0 $0 No
American International College Rolling $0 $0
American University 11/15, 1/15 1/15 $75 $75 Yes: E, WS Yes: 1 TR, CR Yes Yes
Amherst College 11/1 1/3 $65 $65 Yes: E, WS Yes: 2 TR, CR Yes Yes
Anderson University Rolling $0 $0 No No Yes No
Anna Maria College 11/15 Rolling $25 $25 Yes: E No Yes No
Antioch College 11/15, 1/2 Rolling $0 $0 Yes: E Yes, 1 TR, CR Yes Yes
Appalachian State University 11/1 Rolling $65 $65 Yes: E No Yes No
Aquinas College Rolling $0 Yes: E
Arcadia University Rolling $0 $0 No No Yes No
Arizona State University Rolling $70 $70 No No Yes No
Arkansas Baptist College Rolling $25 $25 No No Yes
Art Academy of Cincinnati Rolling $0 $0 No No No No
Asbury University Rolling $0 $0 No No Yes No
Ashland University Rolling $0 $0 No No No No
Assumption University 11/15 11/1, 12/15 2/15 $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR, CR Yes Yes
Auburn University at Montgomery 12/1 2/1 $50 $50 No No No
Augsburg College Rolling $0 $0 Yes: E No Yes No
Augustana College 11/1 11/1 4/1 $0 $0 Yes: E No Yes No
Augustana University Rolling $0 $0 Yes: E No Yes No
Austin College 11/1 12/1, 2/1 3/1 $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR, CR Yes Yes
Austin Peay State University 8/4 $25 $25 No
Ave Maria University Rolling $0 $0 No No Yes No
Babson College 11/1, 1/3 11/1 1/3 $75 $75 Yes: E, WS Yes: 1 TR, CR Yes Yes
Baker College of Flint 8/10 $30 $30
Baldwin Wallace University Rolling $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: CR Yes No
Bard College 11/1 11/1 1/1 $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: 2 TR, CR Yes Yes
Bard College at Simon's Rock 2/1, 4/1 6/1 $0 $0 Yes: WS Yes: 2 TR Yes No
Barnard College 11/1 1/1 $75 $75 Yes: E, WS Yes: 2 TR, CR Yes Yes
Barry University Rolling $30 $0 No No Yes No
Barton College Rolling $0 $0 No No Yes No
Bates College 11/15, 1/10 1/1 $60 $60 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR, CR Yes Yes
Bay Path College Rolling $0 $0 No No Yes No
Baylor University 11/1 11/1 2/1 $0 $0 Yes: E No Yes No
Beacon College Rolling $50 $50 No Yes: 2 TR Yes No
Bellarmine University 11/1 Rolling $0 $0 No Yes: CR Yes No
Bellevue University 4/3 $0 $0
Belmont Abbey College 10/31 Rolling No
Belmont University Rolling $50 $50 Yes: E Yes: CR Yes No
Beloit College 11/1 11/1, 12/1 1/15 $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR Yes No
Benedictine College Rolling $50 $0 No No Yes No
Benedictine University Rolling $40 $0 No No Yes No
Bennington College 11/15, 1/15 12/1 1/15 $0 $0 Yes: E Yes: 2 TR, CR Yes Yes
Bentley University 11/15, 1/7 1/7 $75 $75 Yes: E Yes: 1 TR, CR Yes Yes
Berry College 11/1 1/15 $0 $0 Yes: E No Yes No
Bethany College Rolling $0 $0 No No Yes No
Bethel University Rolling $0 $0 No No No
Binghamton University 11/1 1/15 $50 $50 Yes: E Yes: CR Yes No
Adelphi University
Early Decision
Early Action
12/1
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$40
Online
$40
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E, WS
Recommendations
Yes: CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Agnes Scott College
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
11/15, 1/15
Regular Admission
3/15
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Alaska Pacific University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$25
Online
$25
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
12/1
Regular Admission
2/1
Mail
$75
Online
$75
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Albertus Magnus College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$35
Online
$35
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Albion College
Early Decision
Early Action
12/1
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
Yes: CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Albright College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Alfred University
Early Decision
Early Action
12/1
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Allegheny College
Early Decision
11/15, 10/15
Early Action
12/1, 2/1
Regular Admission
2/15
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Alma College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Alvernia University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
AMDA - American Musical and Dramatic Arts Academy - Los Angeles
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
no
American Academy of Art
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
School Report
Midyear Report
American International College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Recommendations
School Report
Midyear Report
American University
Early Decision
11/15, 1/15
Early Action
Regular Admission
1/15
Mail
$75
Online
$75
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E, WS
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Amherst College
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
Regular Admission
1/3
Mail
$65
Online
$65
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E, WS
Recommendations
Yes: 2 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Anderson University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Anna Maria College
Early Decision
Early Action
11/15
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$25
Online
$25
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Antioch College
Early Decision
11/15, 1/2
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes, 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Appalachian State University
Early Decision
Early Action
11/1
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$65
Online
$65
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Aquinas College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
School Report
Midyear Report
Arcadia University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Arizona State University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$70
Online
$70
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Arkansas Baptist College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$25
Online
$25
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Midyear Report
Yes
Art Academy of Cincinnati
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
No
Midyear Report
No
Asbury University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Ashland University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
No
Midyear Report
No
Assumption University
Early Decision
11/15
Early Action
11/1, 12/15
Regular Admission
2/15
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Auburn University at Montgomery
Early Decision
Early Action
12/1
Regular Admission
2/1
Mail
$50
Online
$50
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Midyear Report
No
Augsburg College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Augustana College
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
11/1
Regular Admission
4/1
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Augustana University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Austin College
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
12/1, 2/1
Regular Admission
3/1
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Austin Peay State University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
8/4
Mail
$25
Online
$25
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
School Report
Midyear Report
Ave Maria University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Babson College
Early Decision
11/1, 1/3
Early Action
11/1
Regular Admission
1/3
Mail
$75
Online
$75
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E, WS
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Baker College of Flint
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
8/10
Mail
$30
Online
$30
Essay/Writing Supplement
Recommendations
School Report
Midyear Report
Baldwin Wallace University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Bard College
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
11/1
Regular Admission
1/1
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 2 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Bard College at Simon's Rock
Early Decision
Early Action
2/1, 4/1
Regular Admission
6/1
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: WS
Recommendations
Yes: 2 TR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Barnard College
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
Regular Admission
1/1
Mail
$75
Online
$75
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E, WS
Recommendations
Yes: 2 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Barry University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$30
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Barton College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Bates College
Early Decision
11/15, 1/10
Early Action
Regular Admission
1/1
Mail
$60
Online
$60
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Bay Path College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Baylor University
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
11/1
Regular Admission
2/1
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Beacon College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$50
Online
$50
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
Yes: 2 TR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Bellarmine University
Early Decision
Early Action
11/1
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
Yes: CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Bellevue University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
4/3
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Recommendations
School Report
Midyear Report
Belmont Abbey College
Early Decision
Early Action
10/31
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
Online
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
School Report
Midyear Report
Belmont University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$50
Online
$50
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Beloit College
Early Decision
11/1
Early Action
11/1, 12/1
Regular Admission
1/15
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Benedictine College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$50
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Benedictine University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$40
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Bennington College
Early Decision
11/15, 1/15
Early Action
12/1
Regular Admission
1/15
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 2 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Bentley University
Early Decision
11/15, 1/7
Early Action
Regular Admission
1/7
Mail
$75
Online
$75
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: 1 TR, CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
Yes
Berry College
Early Decision
Early Action
11/1
Regular Admission
1/15
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Bethany College
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No
Bethel University
Early Decision
Early Action
Regular Admission
Rolling
Mail
$0
Online
$0
Essay/Writing Supplement
No
Recommendations
No
School Report
Midyear Report
No
Binghamton University
Early Decision
Early Action
11/1
Regular Admission
1/15
Mail
$50
Online
$50
Essay/Writing Supplement
Yes: E
Recommendations
Yes: CR
School Report
Yes
Midyear Report
No