This article is published in the 2014 I’m First Guide to College

What is the Common Application?

The Common Application is a web-based application accepted by over 500 schools in the United States and internationally. It allows you to complete one application to send to all the schools on your list rather than sending individual applications out to each one.

How do I know if a school I am applying to accepts the Common Application?

You should be able to find this information on the individual school’s website. To see the full list of schools, go to and click on “Member Colleges & Universities.”

The school I’m applying to accepts both the Common Application and their own application. Is there an advantage to doing one over the other?

More and more schools are starting to accept the Common Application exclusively because it makes the admissions process go more smoothly on both ends. Schools that offer both their own and the Common Application probably don’t have a preference either way, but you can always call and ask the admissions office. In short, there are no disadvantages to using the Common Application, and the major advantage is that you’ll save yourself time.

The school that I’m applying to accepts the Common Application but has a supplement. What is that?

Some schools want more information (and particularly additional essays) than the Common Application asks for. These schools provide their own additional section for you to complete on the Common Application. Once you select the schools you are applying to in the Common Application, the individual school supplements will automatically be added onto your application.

Below you will find all the information that is needed to fill out the Common Application. Information needed may change from year to year, but generally the information listed below will be required.


Be sure to click on the Common Application Requirements graphic to zoom in, and get a closer look!