When Should I Start the Common App?

Applying to college? Learn when to get begin the Common Application with four quick tips to get you started.

If you are applying to colleges, chances are high that you’ve heard of the Common App. And if you’re an incoming high school senior or community college transfer student, you know it’s coming soon. But when should you actually start it?

Short answer — now.

Long answer — as soon as you possibly can.

While the Common App has streamlined the process of applying to college, it still takes considerable time to fill it out, and fill it out well. The Application officially opens August 1st, but you can actually create an account any time to gather the materials and information needed to get started when the first of the month arrives. Giving yourself extra time can save you from a lot of stress down the road, when school starts in the fall, and with it the craziness of classes, activities, and tests begin — not to mention the fun that comes with the pinnacle year of high school or community college.

Here are four quick tips to get started, and for a complete download, go to our guide on the common app here.

1. Your Common app account

Start the Common Application by setting up your account here.

2. Your required information
required information

Compile all the requirement information you’ll need to fill out your application when the time comes. Expected requirements includes include your high school transcript, parents’ information, test scores, and extracurricular achievements. The best way to see this information of your coursework and achievements in once place is your RaiseMe portfolio. Click here to learn how you can easily download and print your RaiseMe portfolio — a resume of your education achievements, extracurriculars, work experience, and community service to-date.

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3. Your College Essays and Letters of Rec

Writing your college essay and asking your teachers or mentors to submit a letter of recommendation for you can be intimidating tasks. But getting started early thinking about what to write in your essays and who to ask for your letters will help you tackle them both with confidence. In fact, your portfolio page is a great place to jumpstart your brainstorming for your essay, and to print and share your printed portfolio for your recommenders.

4. Your College List

You can apply to up to 20 schools with the Common Application. Determining what those schools should be is an imperative part of your college journey. Take your time to give this part the proper research it deserves by using our college discovery tool.

You’re now ready to go forth and conquer the Common App!

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