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  • Writer's pictureChris Tamis

The Common App 2020-21 . . . things are changing!


As you wind down the end of this very unconventional school year, the start of your application season is just weeks away! That's right, on August 1st 2020, you will finally be able to apply to colleges using the Common Application. For those unfamiliar with this right of passage, the Common Application is exactly as stated, an online application system that allows students to fill out one comprehensive application and then submit it to as many of the over 900 member public and private institutions they would like. Last year, over 1 million students completed the application and submitted 5.3 million applications. The convenience and ease of this comprehensive application process can not be understated, but it is very important to familiarize yourself with all the nuances of the software before August so you can hit the ground running.

Below I detail the important changes and updates made to this years application. Remember, even though the application goes online August 1st, there is no reason to wait . . . every rising senior should create an account now. Expedition Admissions Consulting students will be receiving guidelines to get started soon! If you do log in now, keep in mind that you are viewing last years application without the forthcoming updates/changes.

2020-21 updates and enhancements:

  • Enhanced college search tools and filters

  • 40 additional colleges added this year

  • Enhanced college information and details

  • Enhanced tools and tips for each application section and question

  • Planning guides (college roadmap, financial aid, military and ROTC options)

  • Inspirational YouTube video series created in partnership with Michelle Obama

  • College rollover (start your application now and your info will "rollover" on August 1st). See graphic below

  • Updates to the demographic section, allowing students from multicultural and non-traditional families to be more fairly represented

  • Guided walkthrough tutorial after account creation

  • Updates to activities and honors sections allowing for more specific information regarding leadership roles and positions

  • Confirmation that 2020-21 essay prompts remain the same as previous year

  • Transfer applicant personal statement now in alignment with first year applicant

  • Addition of "Effects of Covid-19" question (optional personal statement, 250 words)

  • Updates to school counselor forms allowing for detailed explanations of how students school year, grading, classes were effected by Covid-19

  • Additional 500 word, optional short answer for students to explain how their school year, grades, classes were effected by Covid-19

  • Performance updates to recommender, advisor and guidance counselor sections

Remember, if you try to add a college or university and it does not show up, they do not participate with the Common App and you will have to complete a school specific application (found on their web site admissions page).

Don't wait, dive in now and give the Common Application a test drive. Comfort and familiarity will make filing the actual application much easier this fall!

Good luck!

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