Common Application 2020-21

  • The Common Application (Common App) is located at  You will be required to create an account using a valid email address.  The email you use will be the email colleges will use to contact you, so choose something you will check regularly.  The full application becomes available on August 1.  Member colleges could update their school-specific sections at a later date.

    Member Colleges/Universities – the Common App is accepted by nearly 900 colleges/universities.  A current listing of the schools accepting this application is available on the home page of the Common App (

    Application Requirements – a database of the application requirements for each member college/university is available at the Common App home page.  This feature allows you to see required standardized testing and teacher recommendations, as well as application deadlines.  2019-20 Requirements Grid - this will update in August, but may be used as a reference until then.

    Common Application 2020-2021 Essay Prompts - Students select one of the seven prompts and provide a response between 250-650 words.

    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.
    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?
    3. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
    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.
    5. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.
    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?
    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.

    COVID Impact: COVID-19 has affected students in dramatically different ways. If you need it, the Common App has added a COVID-19 and natural disaster question in the Additional Information section. This is a place for you to describe the impact of these events.

    Common App Matching – Students applying to colleges using the Common Application must complete the Common App Account Matching process in Naviance.  A student is eligible to complete the Common App Account Matching process once they have created a Common App account on Common App, added at least one college on Common App and signed the Common App FERPA Release Authorization on Common App.  The process for completing this step will be shared in detail with all seniors in August.