The Common Application

There are currently 600+ colleges (as of April 2016) that accept the common application. This can save you time and confusion and save you from having to answer many different applications questions for different schools.

The Common application is basically what it sounds like, a standard application that has standard questions on it that every college usually asks for anyway. In order to make the process a little easier, the Common Application was developed to give students the ability to submit one application to a number of schools, rather than filling out 10 or 15 applications with repetitive information.

For more information on the common application visit

The web site also has a list of what schools have online applications, mail applications, and early decision and early action programs. There are a few schools that only accept mailed applications still, so you need to be aware of this.

The Common Application also has a standard list of Essay questions. In the past, one of the most difficult tasks students had was handling and writing 8 or 10 different essays for schools they applied to. The common application solves this problem.

The essay questions for 2016-2017 are as follows

Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?

Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?

Describe a problem you’ve solved or a problem you’d like to solve. It can be an intellectual challenge, a research query, an ethical dilemma – anything that is of personal importance, no matter the scale. Explain its significance to you and what steps you took or could be taken to identify a solution.

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.

NOTE: Schools that require a supplement application with the Common Application may in most instances have an additional short essay question of their own.

Will the Common Application give me the same chances of getting into a particular school?

Schools accepting the common application have sworn to give all applications that are submitted to them equal and unbiased consideration no matter what application method students who are seeking acceptance use when applying to a particular school. This means that students applying via common application, standard application, by mail, or online are all treaded the same.