You are your child’s biggest fan and strongest supporter. We have the tools to help them get to college.

As you go through the college application process as a family, turn to Common App to help connect your child to nearly 900 colleges and universities, as well as the tools and resources you can rely on to get them to the finish line.

How should I discuss college with my child?

Whether your child will be the first person in your family to go to college or your child comes from a long line of college graduates, there are two truths about the application process that cause apprehension for families. First, with its many moving but interconnected parts, applying to college is complex. Second, every student advances towards college at his or her own pace.

If you sense that your child is reluctant to talk about college, try to discover why. It might be that your child believes that college is not for them, or they aren’t aware of the many opportunities it might offer. Our Why College Matters page can help explain the value of a college education – and so can an array of other advocates like school counselors, teachers, principals, advisors, coaches, community mentors, and college admission and financial aid officers.

How involved should I be in my child’s college preparation and application process?

Regardless of whether or not you’ve been to college yourself, you have an important role to play in your child’s journey to college. No one knows your child better than you, so you should follow your instincts and let past experience serve as a guide. If your child has a proven record of following through with responsibilities and obligations, that trend will likely continue throughout the preparation and application process. If your child is someone who requires structure and guidance, offer to help. But remember: there is a difference between helping and over-stepping.  College will require your child to be independent and self-reliant – and managing the process of applying to college is his or her first step towards a successful, fulfilling education. 

  • For more information on college preparation, visit our Plan page. 

If you have concerns regarding the financial aid process or your role in it, you are not alone. It can be particularly confusing to families who are encountering college for the first time. However, you have an army of advocates who want your child to go to college and are ready to advise you. Most of these advocates – school counselors, community mentors, advisors, and college admission and financial aid officers – will offer their advice freely and generously, so don’t be afraid to reach out and use their expertise. 

  • For more information on the financial component of your child's college education, visit our Paying For College page.

Why should my child use the Common App?

With nearly 900 member colleges and only one application, Common App is comprised of a rich and diverse membership – colleges that are public, private, large, small, secular, and religious. No other college application system matches the diversity of institutions accessible through Common App, which is why more than 1 million students, counselors, advisors, and teachers rely on us every year.

How does Common App work? Colleges request a large amount of information from applicants, and we simplify the process by collecting much of that information in one place. This prevents students from repeating the details of their background, education, activities, and testing over and over again, for every school on their list. It also enables students to stay on top of deadlines and manage school-specific tasks – without leaving our system. 

  • For more information about the application itself, visit our Apply page. 

For more information on how to navigate the application, check out our application guides for first year and transfer students.