The more than 500 public and private colleges and universities accepting the Common Application released new application formats and requirements in August 2013. While this has led to trepidation among college admissions professionals, for high school seniors who haven’t previously submitted a Common Application, the newly launched online application management and submission process proves highly intuitive and navigable.

Participating colleges and universities have agreed to a holistic and standardized application process designed to promote equity and access in first year and transfer college admissions. While many members also accept alternate applications, over 200 member colleges and universities accept only the Common Application. Some of these have established and adhere to common deadlines for form submission and other elements of the application process as well. This standardized application system helps to alleviate a great deal of the stress associated with applying to college. The newly launched requirements and formats further streamline applying to the growing number of participating colleges and universities.

Students applying to schools that accept the Common Application begin by visiting the Common Application website ( and creating an account. The account allows you to search member schools for full application requirements and deadlines and to manage your applications. Your account also enables you to invite your counselor and selected teacher(s) to submit recommendations through the online system on your behalf, and you will be able to track when they have been submitted. If your high school uses Naviance as part of its college counseling program, the Common Application has been designed to accommodate and interact.

The Common Application website also offers application completion and submission support. The organization’s Facebook page provides a tip forum. And of course, your high school college counselor and/or an independent consultant can further guide you as you manage your applications to member colleges and universities.