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If you’re applying to college, chances are good you’ll be using the Common App to do so. With more than 1,000 member institutions, it’s the most popular way to apply. In fact, there were 1.3 million unique first-year applicants for the 2022-23 season, with 8.6 million first-year applications submitted (a 13% increase from last year).
There are 29 new members joining the Common App family so far this year — including Houston Christian University (TX), Rutgers University (NJ), Southeastern University (FL), and three international universities — solidifying the Common App as the go-to portal to applying to college.
Every year, the Common App goes offline for a few days at the end of July to upgrade for the upcoming application season, and this year is no exception. This year, there are some great changes coming, some things staying the same, and some useful resources the Common App makes available to students to support them in their journey.
Recently, I attended a webinar given by the Common App to learn what to expect from the Common App experience in the 2023-2024 application season. Let’s go over the 2023-2024 system enhancements that are going to make applying to colleges via the Common App easier than ever! (Because seriously: Who doesn’t love easy?)
First, let’s tackle just a few of the changes coming to the Common App in August (a few of these are live already). While none of these are major, they’re all designed to improve functionality and take some of the stress and confusion out of applying. So let’s take a look at a few of the bigger changes.
Some of the Common App updates are simply changes to language, making the questions easier to understand — and answer. Here are three of the places where wording will change.
Luckily, some things are staying the same in the Common App for 2023-24. Some of the sections that won’t change at all include:
Here’s what you should know about what happens on Aug. 1 when the Common App reopens for the 2023-24 application season:
Students who want to research colleges will have lots of new options within the Common App, including:
You can also check out helpful YouTube videos that walk viewers through:
Some students are concerned that there are “better” prompts than others to respond to for their main personal statement (or admission essay). Don’t worry! Schools don’t prefer one essay prompt over another. They just want to make sure your essay does its job in helping admission officers get to know you.
If you’re curious, here’s the rough breakdown of which essay prompt students chose to respond to in 2022-23.
And with the Common App mobile app, you can do everything there that you can do on the web version!
It’s also helpful to remember that you can change any of your answers between submissions. So if you want to submit test scores to one school but want to apply test optional for another one, you can change your answers (and then change them back) to customize each application.
While this isn’t part of the Common App update, parents and students should know that the 2024-25 FAFSA will open in December, not October.
If you still need more Common App assistance, their 24/7 support offers help when you need it, including on topics like:
You can also email email@example.com with questions.