Key Innovations for 2017-2018 Common Application

Apr 10, 2017

Key Innovations for 2017-2018 Common Application

This year alone, more than three million students, parents, counselors, and teachers have used the Common App platform to apply to college, explore financial aid and scholarship options, or submit supporting recommendations. Through the various questions and features, the platform lets our students, a third of whom are the first in their families to go to college, highlight their talents and aspirations. For others, the Common App serves as the one system they use to learn (or teach) about admission and financial aid while accessing 24.7.365 support in the process.  

As one student said, @commonapp Thank you for making the application portal [so] comfortable. It didn’t only help me apply to college it helped me know myself!

Understanding the needs of our users, and building on over 4 decades of experience, we continue to add innovative solutions to this already powerful platform to further reduce barriers for all. Many of the changes for next year’s application stem from the feedback we received from the admissions, high school, and CBO counselors on our applications and outreach advisory committees and from the suggestions of the students and counselors who have used our platform.  

Take a look at just a few of the exciting enhancements coming your way in the 2017-2018 Common App. 

You can also watch and download the "What's New with the Common App" webinar. 

Google Drive Integration: Students will now be able to easily access and upload documents, resumes, and school assignments while completing the Common App and the college-specific sections of the application. We know that many school districts have adopted Google Docs and Google Drive to enable their students and teachers to create, collaborate, and access shared documents from any internet connected device. We also recognize that some students do not always have personal computers at home but use Google Drive on school or library computers to store their documents. We want to meet students where they are. By incorporating the tools that they are already using, we are making the process more accessible for students.


Advisor and Recommender Enhancements: Students receiving support from advising and community-based organizations will be able to work with those counselors just as they work with their school-based counselors and teachers within the application. These individuals will then be able to manage their caseloads and view student progress within the Common App system. In addition, any student who wishes to do so will be able to share a view of their in-progress application (read-only) with their school counselor, advisor, or mentor. If a student chooses to invite an Advisor, that action will remain private. The Advisor invitation and profile information will not be visible to a student's colleges or any other invited Recommender.


Courses & Grades: Many students are required to submit self-reported high school academic records when applying to some colleges and universities. With Courses & Grades, students will be able to fill out their self-reported transcript information as part of their Common Application. By integrating the Courses & Grades section into the Common App, those students who are already sending this information will be able to complete and submit it with their Common App, making the process of self-reporting transcripts more standardized and streamlined for students, counselors, and colleges. Six Common App member colleges plan to use Courses & Grades in the coming year.


Spanish Language Resources: Key information for using the Common App has been translated so that students, parents, and other family members who speak Spanish as their first language can better understand the college admission process. These new resources will also benefit counselors who work with these families and need Common App materials in Spanish.


These are just a few of the innovations that students, counselors, and colleges can expect. The application and supporting services will include numerous enhancements designed to make the college application process more seamless for all. Keep an eye out for presentations, webinars, and workshops in the upcoming months to learn more about these great enhancements and how you can use them to expand college access for your students.