The Common Application

What is the Common application, how do you use it, and what college accept it?

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 Common Application essay questions for 2017-2018 are as follows

1. 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. [No change]

2. The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? [Revised]

3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome? [Revised]

4. 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. [No change]

5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. [Revised]

6. Describe a topic, idea, or concept you find so engaging that it makes you lose all track of time. Why does it captivate you? What or who do you turn to when you want to learn more? [New]

7. Share an essay on any topic of your choice. It can be one you’ve already written, one that responds to a different prompt, or one of your own design. [New]

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.