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The New Common Application Is Live, College Advisors at International College Counselors Weigh in, Offer Advice

The Common Application (CA4) is now available online at the Common Application website. College advisors at  International College Counselors say this means students can enter their information, final school essays and, soon, their supplements.

The Common Application Online launched on August 1, 2013.

Once completed online, copies of the Application can be sent to any number of participating colleges. Currently, there are 488 member schools that accept the Common Application.

“The Common Application makes it easier for students to apply to a greater number of colleges and universities,” said Mandee Heller Adler, CEO and founder of International College Counselors.

“For a successful college application submittal, students need to make sure they follow the directions,” she added.

Deadlines for sending in the application vary depending on the school. Make sure you know these deadlines!

The main Common Application includes one essay: a 650-word essay answer to one of five topics. It needs to be cut and pasted, or typed into a box.

Students can make unlimited edits to the application — with the sole exception of the essay. The Common Application website will only allow a person to edit the main essay three times and then it’s locked to avoid excessive customization.

Many colleges require additional information, including more essays that allow them to probe deeper into applicant qualifications and interests. Colleges may ask the Common App’s extracurricular question or for a personal resume that provides details the first part of the application simply cannot accommodate.

Colleges can also make provisions for uploads of papers or scientific abstracts. And they can ask the kinds of quirky questions—both short answer and full-on essays—that require an element of self-reflection on the part of the applicant.

A college’s Writing Supplement is submitted after the basic form and payment have been received.

At a later time, a college’s Writing Supplement will appear in My Colleges as soon as you add that college to your list. As of August 1, this section was unavailable and a message on the “My Colleges” tab for Writing Supplements said “Questions Not Yet Available.” Your username will be your email address. (Three cheers for simplicity!)

Make sure you are aware of the word limit and follow directions. Resumes can only be uploaded if colleges request them in their supplements.

Students will be able to hide these for future submissions but the Common Application website will not erase/change apps already submitted.

The 2013-14 Common Application has a new 20 college limit with one fee waiver counting for all schools. Students who want to apply to more schools will need to go to the individual websites of each additional school, fill out their application and pay their fee.

Get started on the application now. There will be a lot of work to do senior year and this is not a part of the application process to be “crammed.”

This year, college advisors at International College Counselors helped more than 200 students find, apply to and gain acceptance into the college of their dreams. The expert college counselors at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families successfully navigate the college application process.

Contact a college advisor at International College Counselors at 954-414-9986.