Create Your Account
There is no preparation required for this step (we promise), so you can create your account as early as you’d like. All you’ll need is some basic profile information – like your name, date of birth, address and phone number. And of course, you’ll need to provide a valid email address.
Note: Your email address will become your username and the Common App’s primary method of sending you updates and reminders, so make sure that you provide an email address that you check on a regular basis.
Add Schools To Your List
The Common App presents you with the opportunity to search from nearly 700 schools (private, public, large and small), find the ones that meet your needs, and then add them to your My Colleges list – an all-in-one convenient place to track the work ahead of you.
Once you log in, simply click on the College Search tab to find schools based on their name, location, deadline, or distance from your home. You might discover a terrific school you would’ve otherwise never known about, and the Common App will connect you to the institution to apply directly.
Need help figuring out which schools are right for you? Visit the Virtual Counselor for advice.
Understand Your Schools' Specific Requirements
Just like every student is unique, so is every school. We know it sounds cliché, but it’s true. No two schools will have the exact same requirements – therefore your application process will vary for each school on your list.
How will you keep track? We’re here to help. Check out our Requirements Grid and download the Requirements Tracker worksheet. These resources will ensure that you’re ready to submit everything your schools require by the deadlines they require it.
Gather Your General Application Information
While every school has a different list of college-specific requirements, the general application information (for the Common App) will remain constant for all schools on your list.
You’ll be asked to list your high school grades and courses, along with your activities, entrance exam scores and exam dates, and parent or legal guardian information. Get a head start and save yourself time by collecting this information before you fill out the application. You’ll be glad you did.
Need help understanding the app lingo? Visit the Application Dictionary.
What You'll Need For Every Application:
A copy of your high school transcript
A list of your extracurricular activities both inside and outside of school
Test scores and test dates from your college entrance exams
(SATs, ACTs, SAT Subject Tests)
Parent / legal guardian information
(educational background, occupational information, employer information, etc.)
Not familiar with the app lingo?
Our dictionary highlights all of the terms you'll need to know to complete your Common App.
Frequently Asked Questions
- How do I add colleges to my list?
To add a college to your list, do so from your results list under the College Search tab. Check the box beside the college name, then click the Add button located at the bottom right of the page. To add all colleges from your result list, click the box beside Member Name in the top left area of the grey menu bar. You can also see specific college information such as phone numbers, deadlines, fees, and recommendation requirements by clicking the school name link from the results list.