The impact of Common App is well-documented. Millions of students. Hundreds of member colleges and universities. Hundreds of thousands of recommenders and advisors around the world. However, what's often lost are the stories behind those numbers. For that reason, we spent some time talking to recent applicants, counselors, and college admissions professionals about the real impact Common App has had on their lives. 

"You would think it's too simple, or that it couldn't have that big of an impact, but by taking a lot of stress and anxiety out of the process it allows students to open up all kinds of doors and opportunities that then they can channel their energy to other things like actually getting to school and getting through."

That's how Ann Marano, the CollegeBound Advisor at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School describes the impact that Common App can have on student's lives. Part of Dallas ISD, Irma Lerma Rangel is a member of the Young Women's Preparatory Network, a nonprofit organization that partners with public school districts to operate the largest network of all-girls’, public, college-preparatory schools in the nation. All YWPN schools feature a STEM-focused curriculum, and a majority of students are economically disadvantaged. The core values are college readiness, leadership and wellness life skills. 

For Ann Marano, that means introducing students and families to options and opportunities they never would have imagined. To help accomplish this goal, she relies on Common App to help her students navigate the college application process. 

"It's hard to quantify the impact that a student who is first-generation going to college," says Marano. "It changes everything."

One of the primary obstacles Marano observes is students thinking of themselves as college-ready and college-bound. In her estimation, Common App helps educate students, families and counselors that support them on what they need to make that dream a reality. Afterall, Irma Lerma Rangel's school creed starts with the powerful statement: "I believe in the beauty of my dreams."

Mirka Estrada, a senior at Irma Lerma Rangel, the benefit of having the application process centralized really helped to ease a lot of the anxiety associated with going to college. By her estimation, the ability to track her progress and documents in one place really made the entire more transparent and accessible. Estrada will be attending Wellesley College in the fall.

Senior Ashleigh Ekwenugo agrees. Her biggest fears entering her senior year included figuring out where she wanted to go to college, and she could pay for college. Ekwenugo will be attending Wake Forest University in the fall. 

Most of Irma Lerma Rangel's graduates go on to complete their post-secondary degrees, and mostly at Common App member institutions, according to Marano.

While the impact of streamlining the application process is clear for applicants, there are benefits for the colleges and universities looking to recruit best-fit students as well. One example is Southern Methodist University (SMU). As a founding member of The Common Application in 1975, SMU was looking to have a wider reach and they found Common App as being a way to connect with students that may not have otherwise considered the institution. 

According to Elena Hicks, Dean of Admission at SMU, the institution now works with students from around the world with an emphasis on students that will have an impact on their community. For Hicks and her admission staff, using the Common App to evaluate applicants gives them the ability to see well-rounded and complete application information that allows them to quickly glean if they are a good fit for the student. 

Jackie Romero. Assistant Director for Undergraduate Admission at SMU, works as part of Hicks' team. She uses Common App when helping students apply to the institution and review them for admission. In fact, as a first-generation student and graduate of Irma Lerma Rangel, Romero actually used Common App herself when applying to SMU. According to Romero, Common App not only helped her on her journey, but it offers opportunities to students worldwide as they look to apply to college. 

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School Creed

I believe in the beauty of my dreams.

I believe  hard work and resilience are the

the pathways to success. 

I believe in the pursuit of excellence.

I believe I am my sister's keeper

I believe I am a leader and I can make a

difference in my community and the world.

I believe in living a healthy and safe lifestyle.

I believe in myself.

Girls Today, Women Tomorrow, Leaders Forever