As the current health crisis unfolds, we continue to look for opportunities to support the counseling community. One small way we can do that is to continue the work we had already planned for next year - work that includes significant and frequently requested enhancements to the Common App for recommenders.

The Common App for recommenders is a tool that helps counselors, teachers, advisors, and mentors manage their role in the college application process. We’re excited to roll out some key enhancements to the system in August 2020, including a new mobile-responsive interface, improved recommender workflow, and easier access to applicant information and submission status.

We wanted to ensure that updates to the Recommender System closely resembled those in the application to create a better experience for all users. Updates you’ll find include:

  • Accessibility - working to ensure all users, including those with disabilities, have a positive experience in the system
  • Responsiveness - providing a more responsive experience on mobile devices and tablets
  • Modernization - delivering a modern system that directly meets counselors’ evolving needs
  • Branding - ensuring that the updated experience is easy to digest and adopts a consistent look and feel to match Common App’s other platforms.

Recommenders will experience a variety of enhancements in the new system, including:

  • Updated role management remembers what role you used last and lets you know if a student has invited you as a new recommender.
  • An enhanced student list makes it easier to scan and get a snapshot of your progress for each student's forms.


  • New sorting capabilities and search filters help you more easily find students based on deadlines, colleges on their lists, graduation year, application progress, and submission status for required forms.
  • A “to-do list” allows recommenders to see a snapshot of how many deadlines are coming up and what is left to submit for each student.
  • Improved navigation makes it easier to find the information and tasks you need to do.
  • Help and guidance at the top of the Profile and other forms ensures you always have context for why a section needs completion or why a form might need to be submitted.
  • An “update” button so you can update all of your unsubmitted forms with new Profile information.

Student Information Page:

  • Birthday and Common App Identifier (CAID) are visible for each student so that you always know you’re in the right place.
  • Detailed display of each student’s Common App status, including whether or not they will need to complete the Courses & Grades section.
  • A more scannable college list that confirms when an applicant has applied.

College Information Page:

  • New, expanded view of each recommender’s form requirements and status for each college
  • Easily view whether your students have invited & assigned all necessary recommenders

We recognize that there’s a great deal of change going on around us, especially in the lives of our school counseling community. Over the next several months, the Common App team will host comprehensive webinars, provide video demonstrations, and publish updated blog posts on the changes to come to help you prepare. Stay tuned for more details in the coming months.