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  • Writer's pictureMarcia Farias

Applying to universities with the Common App in 2024/2025

Tips and updates you need to know about this super platform for applying to universities

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What's new in the Common App in 2024

Your son or daughter has done their best in high school and now it's time to start applying to college!


To send applications to universities, your student will possibly create an account on the Common App, one of the most used platforms for applying to universities around the world. With over 1000 universities registered, this platform is certainly the most useful for students to apply to universities in the United States, but it also contains applications to a few universities in other countries.


In this post, I'm going to give you some super important information for those who are going to use the Common App in 2024/2025 to apply to universities, and also offer some updates on the platform, gathered from the latest Common App webinar for education professionals, held last week.


 

UNDERSTAND THE COMMON APP

  1. THE COMMON APP IS NOT JUST A FORM

Firstly, it is important that your student understands that the Common App is not just a form that must be filled out in order for a university application to be submitted.

This is the first mistake that many international students make when applying to universities abroad: opening their account and start writing directly on the platform.

The material to be sent to universities through the Common App must, quite to the contrary, be meticulously prepared in other files, then reflected and well revised, before being pasted or uploaded into the Common App to be sent to universities.

A piece of golden advice is: don't let the first person to read your student's application be the university admissions representative!


2. AMONG THE 15 COUNTRIES THAT SENT THE MOST APPLICATIONS TO UNIVERSITIES THROUGH THE COMMON APP IN 2023/2024, BRAZIL IS THE ONLY ONE IN LATIN AMERICA, AND ONE OF ONLY 3 IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE

This means your Brazilian student has competition - and lots of it! Don't underestimate the difficulty of being admitted to very competitive universities - our students are not "rare" like, for example, Uruguayan students. Knowing how to prepare a successful application is very important. Equally important is to carefully choose the universities to apply to using the Common App.


3. SOME DOCUMENTS ARE SENT THROUGH THE COMMON APP BY PEOPLE OTHER THAN THE STUDENT

School counselors, teachers, and other people outside the school who prepare documents and write letters of recommendation will upload documents to your student's application. It is important that these professionals are prepared to carry out their tasks - and therefore, that your student contacts them well before August 1, 2024, the date on which the Common App opens for new applications.



ACCOUNT ROLLOVER: CHANGES TO THE COMMON APP ACCOUNT

  1. WHAT EXACTLY IS ACCOUNT ROLLOVER

Every year the Common App adds new member universities and undergoes an update. This update includes, for example, questions for the Common App Essay (which received a new essay topic during the COVID-19 period), and also university-specific questions - supplemental essays. In 2024, the account rollover will be on July 28th for first-year applications and July 29th for transfer applications.


2. WHAT CHANGES AND WHAT DOESN’T CHANGE

Knowing what changes and what remains after this update is important because your student should not wait for August 1st to start their applications. Filling in biographical and educational information, for example, takes time, and this can be done long before August 1st - one of the best ways to optimize the time available after that date.

What doesn't change, and what your student can do now:

  • create their account and password

  • choose universities and prepare the list of universities in Common App

  • answer all questions in the Common App tab: profile, family, education, testing, activities, the Common App essay, courses and grades

What changes:

  • university-specific essays: even if the university does not change its questions, the answers are deleted from the Common App on the account rollover date

  • FERPA authorization: this authorization needs to be done so that the student can invite their recommenders through the Common App

  • inviting recommenders through the Common App


Other changes in 2024

1. FRAUD POLICY

When creating your account, the student must agree to the Common App fraud policy. Examples of fraud are:

  • submitting false transcripts

  • submitting false test scores

  • submitting essays written by someone other than the applicant

  • lying about their family circumstances or qualifications


2. THERE WILL BE NO CHANGES IN ESSAY PROMPTS

When writing their essay, the student can choose one of 7 prompts. These prompts will remain the same in the 2024/2025 cycle.

It is interesting to know that the open essay prompt was the most chosen by students in the 2023/2024 cycle (28%); and the prompts "Challenging Ideas" and "Gratitude", those chosen by the fewest students (3% each).


3. IT IS POSSIBLE TO SAVE MONEY BY SELF-REPORTING YOUR ENGLISH TEST GRADES

Some universities allow students to report their grades in the English test on the Common App, and require an official result - which costs $$ to send - only if the student is accepted. Check the university's policy on the English proficiency, a requirement normally only applicable to international students. What's new this year is that the Cambridge test can now also be reported by the student.


4. EACH UNIVERSITY’S PAGE LAYOUT WILL BE A LITTLE DIFFERENT

The Common App promoted a new design for college pages, which will be easier to read.


Did you like this post? Ask me in the comments section what else you want to know about the Common App in 2024/2025.

Get in touch if you want to prepare a successful application with College Admissions International!






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