Five To-Dos Before the Common App Launches

In less than two weeks, college application season officially begins. On August 1 the Common Application for students applying for fall 2021 goes live!  Seniors will be able to apply to the more than 800 universities and colleges in the U.S. and abroad that rely on the Common App as their primary application.

Has your student started to work on their application?  


Although most deadlines are in November or December, some Early Action/ Early Decision applications are due as early as October 15. We recommend starting NOW because when school starts, life will get even more hectic. 


What students and parents can do now:


1. Familiarize yourself with the Common App essay prompts and the supplemental essay prompts that have already been released for fall 2021 here


2. Get started with tips on how to write the Common App essay here


3. Understand the difference between Early Action, Early Decision and Regular Decision in this blog entry


4. Learn more about different colleges by taking virtual college tours. While not quite an equivalent substitute for a real visit, links to virtual tours can be found on a college’s website or try https://campustours.com or https://youvisit.com/collegesearch

5. Collect the following relevant informationprint it out, and put it in an expanding file folder or other file folder. You’ll need all of this information while filling out the Common App.

  • Student’s social security number or visa number 
  • Family information- Student’s parents’ or guardians’ legal names, addresses, occupations, employers, colleges they attended, years they graduated, and degrees they hold
  • Student’s high school’s information-address, your date of entry to the school, and your guidance counselor’s full name and contact information 
  • Scores on standardized tests, including the SAT or ACT and SAT Subject Tests, AP, IB, AICE, or TOEFL scores
  • Approximate graduating class size
  • A copy of your high school transcript, as the Common App asks for your GPA 
  • Your list of senior year courses 
  • A list of the college credits earned if taken through a college for credit. Some colleges may ask for a transcript of college credits earned, so find out how to request that your college transcript/s be sent to the universities to which you’re applying.
  • A list of summer jobs, extracurricular activities, honors and awards received
  • A credit card to pay for the application and to send the test scores. (Note: you may not have to pay to send scores, as many colleges now allow students to self-report scores on the Common App and then send official reports only upon enrolling. Check each college’s individual policy. Also, you don’t need to send AP scores to any college as part of the application. You can report those scores, but you don’t need to pay to send them.)

Students applying to public colleges as an in-state resident will usually need to provide a few documents for proof of residency. The Florida requirements can be found here and New York requirements can be found here


What else can you do now?
Register for a private consultation. International College Counselors offers a variety of services targeted to just what your family needs. Contact us to learn more about our comprehensive packages and a la carte services, from building a college list to writing the college essays.


To survive the stress of the college application process, the best plan is to create a plan of action.


For more information on the Common App or anything else pertaining to college admissions, please call or email us at International College Counselors: [email protected] or 1-954-414-9986. 

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