Apply to college

Whether you're applying to college for the first time or transferring to complete your degree, here’s how to get started on your college application.

Two students sitting on the floor in a library

Apply to college

Whether you're applying to college for the first time or transferring to complete your degree, here’s how to get started on your college application.

How it works


Create your profile

Your Common App profile is your chance to shine. It’s everything you want a college or university to know about you - from your academic coursework to your extracurricular activities.


Add colleges to your list

Now you get to decide what’s most important to you in a college or university. Search through the characteristics and add colleges that align with them.


Gather requirements

Once you’ve decided where you want to apply, make a checklist of everything required. Each college and university is different, so make sure you stay on top of their application requirements.


Submit applications

Be sure to take a moment to celebrate this huge accomplishment! And remember to finish the academic year on a high note, apply for financial aid and prepare for the future.

The application guides

Now that you know what to expect from the process, you’re ready to apply. We’ve created two simple guides, one for first-year and one for transfer applicants.


For first-time students

Use this guide if you’re in high school and intend to apply as a first-time full-time freshman. It will walk you through the application from start to finish.

View the first-year applicant guide

For transfer students

If you’re looking to transfer to a four-year institution or intend to restart your college journey, this is the place to get started.

View the transfer applicant guide

Explore colleges on Common App

Search more than 1,000 member colleges and universities using Common App. See application requirements, access virtual tours, learn about academic programs, testing policies and student experience on campus. Get started today to add colleges to your My Colleges tab in application.

Search for colleges

Get Common App on your phone

Take Common App with you where ever you go. Our mobile app helps you track your progress, stay on top of application requirements, and manage deadlines.

Learn more about the mobile app
Download Common App for mobile

Whether you're at home or on the go, we're here to support you throughout your journey in applying to college. 

Download Common App for mobile

Explore the COVID-19 question

We want to make sure you have the opportunity to provide details about how COVID-19 has impact you personally and academically on your college applications. If you need it, there is a question on the Common App this year and you will only have to complete the question once. The question is located in the Additional Information section of the application, and will allow colleges and universities to better understand your experience. Your school counselor will also have space in the Common App recommender system to talk about how the pandemic affected your school.

Learn how to plan for the question, and if responding to the question is right for you, by visiting our blog.

Start your college essay

Wondering how to approach the college essay? Common App's Scott Anderson offers his timely advice on sharing your personal and academic experience. Learn more on our blog.

Start your application today

Create a Common App account