3 Reasons the Common App is Helpful for Students

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Kristen Seikaly
Kristen Seikaly

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If you’re applying to college, chances are you’ve heard of the Common App. You may still have questions about it though; more specifically, you may be wondering what it is and why you would choose to use it to apply to college. Applying to college through the Common App has a numerous advantages. As a result, there are a number of reasons you would want to apply through it (or through a similar program). Here are three reasons the Common App is actually really helpful for college applicants!

First, it hosts nearly 700 member colleges

There are so many colleges who have applications through the Common App. Even if you apply to a long list of schools, you could theoretically only need to complete one: the Common App. In fact, some member schools require their applicants to use the Common App to apply to their school. 

Most of the schools that use the platform are private institutions, but they contain a number of elite schools including Yale, Princeton, and Stanford. The Common App also features a number of international colleges. If you’re curious to see what schools use the Common App, you can search through their website and add schools to your list. Don’t worry – colleges can’t see which schools you add to your list. 

Second, utilizing the Common App means one universal application

In essence, the Common App means you only need to fill out one application to apply to a number of colleges. Most schools will require some unique supplemental information, but the information that never changes, such as your personal information, test scores, and even some essays, needs to only be submitted once for multiple schools. Think of all of the time and energy you’ll save.

Not to mention money: one application also means one application fee. Additionally, you may qualify for a fee waiver through the Common App. You have to meet one of the listed criteria, but if you do, it could mean no application fees at all. This would certainly help you save money during the college application process. Saving money is one of the biggest reasons the Common App is a lifesaver for college applicants.


It’s also worth noting, although the Common App is one universal application, you can create up to 10 applications within it (although most people create 3 or less). You can also access your application the following year should you want to use it again. This can be helpful if you want to transfer, or if you deferred from going to college for a year. 

And third… there’s more than one “version

The Common App is not the end-all to the one application, multiple colleges platform. There are a number of other versions. The Common App’s most direct competitor is the Universal Application, and it boasts 42 colleges through its platform.

There are also applications for schools that have a common thread. The SUNY application is a good example of this. You can apply to any of the New York state schools through one application. There’s also the Common Black College App, which is an application for historically black colleges. If you’re looking to apply to a number of schools that have similarities in demographics and aren’t covered by the Common App, you may want to see if there’s another kind of mass application like these.

In summary

Now, in some cases, you may be required to use the Common App. On the other hand, in other cases, you may find that the Common App isn’t for you. Knowing your options always pays off, though! And the Common App offers a lot of options that are worth knowing about. These are some of our top reasons the Common App helps students every year.

If you want to know more about these options, a good college counselor can always provide you the information you need, and direct you towards the application formats that will best serve your needs.

Questions? Let us know!