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. 

How do I search for colleges within the Common Application?

You have many options when searching for Common App colleges and universities. All of your searching will be conducted in the College Search tab. If you already know the name of a college that you’d like to add to your My Colleges list, you can type that name directly into the School/City field. You can also broaden your search to search a particular state or country, or search for schools within or away from a certain zip code. You also have the option to search by application term or by specific deadlines. When you're ready to perform your search, simply click on the Search button to view your results.

How do I create my Common App account?

It’s a simple process to create your account. Simply click on the Create Account button, then enter your email address and a password of choice. Make sure you use an email address that you check frequently, as this email address becomes your username. We will also need to communicate with you about the status of your application, so you’ll want to receive these notices from an email account that you use frequently. Remember to make note of your password, and keep that reminder handy (since you’ll need to log in each time you access the Common App). If you lose your login information, our Support team is always here to help.

Can I type my essay into the text box?

Yes, but it's important to understand that when typing your essay into the text box, the system does not see this as activity, and can timeout before you are finished typing (timeout occurs in one hour). To prevent losing your work, we recommend typing your essay into a word processor and then pasting it into the application's text box when you are finished. 

What do I do if I don't have information about one or both of my parents?

You may select "unknown" to describe any parent whose information you do not wish to provide. By selecting this option, questions about this parent will not be required.

How do I know what writing requirements are necessary for the schools I am applying to?

The Common App makes it easy to track each of your school's requirements through your student dashboard. From the dashboard, you can click on the Writing Requirements tab to view details regarding the personal essay and writing requirements for any of the schools you're applying to. Note: Some, but not all, colleges require the submission of the personal essay with your Common Application. You may submit a personal essay to any college, even if it is not required by that college. If not required by a college, you will be given the option during the submission process to include your essay (or not) for that particular college. 

What is the significance of the icons in my dashboard?

These dashboard icons present a visual indication of the status of your application. All green check marks signify that your work has been submitted to that college. Yellow circles indicate that your work is in progress and has not been submitted.

I had an account last year. Can I still access my information?

Yes you can. When you log into your account after August 1, you will be presented with the registration type options, "First Year" and "Transfer". You'll then be asked to select the year in which you intend to start either your first year or transfer year of college. You can find additional information about Account Rollover in the Virtual Counselor and on the blog

Where can I go to find more information about FAFSA?

For more information about FAFSA, visit their website and check out the U.S. Department of Education's blog post, Top 5 FAFSA FAQs


Can schools see what other colleges I've applied to?

A school cannot view any other schools on your My Colleges list and does not receive any information related to those schools (e.g. your selected terms for those schools).

Why is it taking so long for my information to appear after I roll over my account?

Since there is a significant amount of data that needs to come over from the 2015-2016 application, your answers may take some additional time to appear. If you find that a significant amount of time has passed and you are still not able to access your information, please reach out to the Solutions Center. We’re here 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: