As you continue to pull your hair out from all the stress due to applying for college, probably one of the biggest annoyances is filling out that tedious application. Fortunately, there is an application that makes life so much better for most: the Common Application.
While the Common Application isn’t fairly new, the amount that people are using them has grown dramatically. According to the National Association for College Admission Counseling, 80% of students applying for college did so online in 2009. Compared to just three years prior, those stats are up about 27%.
The majority of students are going this route because cheaper. Sending out separate applications to all of your desired schools can add up, with some application fees total up to $40. Not only are Common Apps vastly cheaper, but students who qualify for SAT fee waivers can also get their fees waived on the application. Save that cash for future ramen runs.
Your guidance counselors probably hyped up the application extensively, but what exactly does it entail? Here’s a rundown of the most popular applications:
- The Common Application – This is the classic online application, with 414 colleges jumping board and using it. Aside from going through the usual mumbo jumbo, students also have to write a short personal statement regarding an out-of-school activity and a longer essay of anything the student wants to go. Some schools also want a supplement filled out, so there might be a little extra work on your plate.
- Universal College Application – 77 colleges, including biggies like Harvard and Duke, accept this application. It's extremely similar to the Common App with one exception: the essay that the Universal requires has a cap of 500 words.
- Common Black College Application – You can apply to 35 black colleges and pay a flat fee of $35 for all of the applications you fill and send out.
- Xap – Formatted very similarly to the College Board, not only can you apply to over 900 colleges, but you can also get mentoring in certain states.
- Embark – This website is more of a Google for college applications. You fill out a profile with all the vital information colleges would ever need from you, and you jot down what colleges you want to apply. From there, the site sends you all of the applications you need via PDF. Print, fill out and send away!
Looks like we're all set on applying to college. Now if we could just figure out how to pay for it .
What can you do?
Learn how to save the money  you didn't have to spend on filling out piles of applications!
Go out and do something. College admissions officers value community service .
Read up  on what looks good on an application.