How to Sign Up for Common App Certificate for Scholarship Programme

Some number of Universities in the USA has their common requirements applicants should have/meet for an undergraduate program, of which the “Common App” is one of it. Interestingly, there are also hundreds of universities outside the US that accept the Common App for study enrollment.

Apparently, getting the Common Application certificate is one of a major document you to have acquired if your intention is to study abroad.

About the Common App Programme

Common Application is a non-profit organization that offers a college application which is accepted my multiple schools. This innovative tool allows college-interested students to apply to their choice of 800+ schools with a single application, making the college application process easier and more efficient.

The Common Application is two things. First, according to their website, The Common Application is a “not-for-profit, member organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process.”

What people are usually referring to by “Common Application,” though, is the free online application offered by the organization of the same name. Colleges and universities join the Common Application organization as members, agreeing to accept the Common App from students who choose to utilize this free, online, one-stop application. Currently, more than 800 colleges and universities from 20 countries are members of the Common Application. Each year, more than one million students, a third of whom are first generation college students, apply to college using the Common App.

How to sign up for the Common Application Programme

Understand that it’s an online application process, therefore, you’ll need to first register to create an account with the Common App to get access to the application.

And the Common App account signup is totally free of cost.

  1. Go to the Common App Website (HERE)
  2. Then click on “Create Your Account” button and register using your correct details such as email address, name, etc.

Please note that You do not need to be a US citizen and Permanent Residents to Sign Up. Both domestic and international students can sign up, and you can be living in anywhere in the world.

  1. Ensure filling out different parts of the Common App correctly (without any mistakes)

Once you have created your Common App account, you can fill out your application. Here are some of the parts that you have to fill out to complete your application:

Student Information

Student Information section asks your personal information such as your contact details, education background, and parents’ education background. This section is the easiest to fill.


There are three types of essays in the Common Application: Personal Essay, Additional Information Essay, and School-specific essays.

Personal Essays (250-650 words)

This is a required portion of the Common Application. In the years 2017-2018, the essay prompts are as follows.

  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.”

Additional Information Essay (up to 650 words)

This is not a required part of the Common Application. It is perfectly fine not to complete this section. Though you want to complete this section if you have special circumstances. 

For example:  I wrote an essay about my helping other international students who were struggling.

In my essay, I described a struggling international student and how I have helped him to succeed. Additional information such as family circumstances or unique experiences should be included in this essay to give the admission officers better picture of you. Remember, the more information the colleges know about you as an applicant, the better it is for you.

The essay prompt of additional information essay is: “You may use the space below to provide any additional information you wish to share.”

School-Specific Essays

Some selective colleges such as Harvard University and Yale University requires you to write separate essays in addition to the application. This type of essay has typically 100-500 word limit.

Suggestions about Essays

First, work on the Common Application essays. While working on the Common Application essay, finalize your college list. Once you have finalized your college list, start working on the college-specific essays. In a word document, make a complete list of the colleges to which you are applying and the supplemental essays. This will help you to keep track of the requirements and to motivate you.

It is very important to check your grammar when you are writing these essays.

This is why I personally recommend you using free tools like ProWritingAid Grammar Checker and Grammarly Tool to check your work since they are the best grammar checking tool right now.

  1. Submit Your Common App

Once you have filled out your Common Application, go through it again and confirm that everything is well written and you’re happy. Then go ahead to submit it.

Common App Tips You Should Know

Common Application requires at least one recommendation from your counselor.

However, most colleges recommendation requirements are usually one from counselor and two from teachers.

Here are some tips to help you regarding recommendation:

  • Ask your junior year teachers for recommendations. Although you can ask your senior or sophomore teachers, your senior teacher did not spend enough time to write a strong recommendation letter, and your sophomore teachers might not remember quite well about your accomplishments.
  • Ask them one month in advance of the deadline. Your teachers should not be rushed to write you a good recommendation.
  • When you are asking your teachers for recommendation letters, talk to your teacher about your accomplishments and ask them to emphasize certain character/academic traits. For example, you should ask your teacher to emphasize your class interaction or your leadership skills.
  • Send them a thank-you note.

In the Common Application, you will be asked to provide your recommenders’ email addresses.

And after you’ve submitted their email address, they, (the recommenders) will receive a link that will redirect them to the recommendation form.

perhaps you will be notified in your “Common Application” dashboard (and via email) when your recommenders have filed their form.

Counselor Recommendation

School Report and Recommendation:

Your counselor will need to submit a recommendation and a school report for your application. Like teacher’s recommendation, you will need to provide your counselor’s email address.

Your counselor will provide information such as your weighted and unweighted GPA, class rank, and his/her evaluation of you.

The deadline for a school report and a recommendation is the same as the college application deadline.

Mid-year Report:

Some colleges require your counselor to submit a Mid-Year Report. Mid-Year Report is submitted by your counselor when the first semester grades are available (Around December to January).

It contains the first semester grades of your senior year and any additional updates. Your first-semester grade might influence your admission results because the admission results did not come out yet.

Your counselor can complete this form by logging in to their Common Application counselor’s account.

Final Report:

Some colleges require you to submit the Final Report which includes your second-semester grades, final class rank, and final GPA. This will not affect your decision because you’ve been accepted already.

However, if your grades drop significantly (as in A to a D), colleges might rescind their decision.

Like the Mid-year Report, your counselor can complete this by logging in to the Common Application counselor’s account.

Recommended Timeline for the Common Application

During the Summer:

  • Work on the personal essay
  • Start your college list

Beginning of the school year:

  1. Send recommendations to your teachers and counselor
  2. Cut down your college list

October 1:

  1. Finish the Common Application essays
  2. Work on Early Decision essays
  3. Finalize your college list

November 1:

  • Finish your Early Decision essays
  • Start working on school-specific essays
  • Finalize the Common Application

Start submitting the application to colleges as soon as you finish the school-specific essays. This will greatly alleviate your stress when the deadlines are approaching.

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