Common Application not as common as you might think

ScottMokris I just finished the first hurdle on my road to becoming a college student. I successfully applied to the colleges I would like to attend.
At first, I was excited about applying to college, and I wanted to finish the Common Application as soon as possible. According to www.commonapp.org, the Common Application is “a not-for-profit organization that serves students and member institutions by providing an admission application – online and in print – that students may submit to any of our 415 members.”
My excitement faded as I used the Common Application more and more, and I started to become very annoyed with it.
The first thing that annoyed me was the redundancy of the information I was asked to submit. Although it seemed efficient at first to have a universal application that most colleges would accept, every school I applied to had its own supplement with another essay and some questions that were very similar, if not exactly the same, as questions on the Common Application.


I didn’t really mind writing the 10 essays for six applications because I thought of them as more ways to show the schools that I was qualified to attend and would succeed. However, I was very annoyed with the prompts for some of the essays. Several of the prompts were vague, and I had difficulty pinpointing what the schools wanted me to write about. It was almost as if the schools wanted me to fail by giving me these prompts.
Once I was ready to submit my Common Application, I ran into another problem. One of the colleges wanted me to pay for applying and submit its supplement first before I submitted the Common Application, while the other schools required submission of the Common Application along with my payment. This added several steps to the process.
I was also frustrated that the Common Application would not allow me to pay for all of my applications as one payment. Instead, I had to pay for each application separately.
All in all, the Common Application is a good idea with a lot of bugs. Maybe if the colleges got together and agreed on how students should apply, the application process would be easier on the schools and the students.
In case you are wondering, Penn State University, York College and Harrisburg Area Community College have individual applications without required essays and do not use the Common Application.
Sources: www.commonapp.org,www.ycp.edu,www.psu.edu,www.hacc.edu
— By SCOTT MOKRIS, home-schooled

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4 Responses to Common Application not as common as you might think

  1. Becca says:

    Did you have to do the CSS Profile? Even worse. The entire College Board site is probably one of the least user-friendly things I have ever come across.

  2. Scott Mokris says:

    Yes, I did have to submit the CSS Profile to five of the colleges I applied to. It was a pain as well.

  3. Mrs. Mokris says:

    The common application is not part of the college board site. The College Board actually has a new address, so maybe you will find it easier to navigate, collegeboard.org, I believe.
    The bad news about the CSS Profile…your college will probably require you to do it every year!

  4. Becca says:

    No one said it was… I’ve been on and off the College Board site ever since I took the PSAT for the first time and it hasn’t improved. If anything, it’s gotten worse. My school sent my SAT scores to schools with my transcripts, but I had to go through the College Board to send them in to the National Merit Scholarship. It insisted I had never taken the SATs, or the PSATs for that matter, unless I took a convoluted back way through the site. I’m pretty sure the Riddle of the Sphinx was in some way involved. All these online applications were meant to make our lives easier, but I’m still happiest when given a paper form with some bubbles to fill in.

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