2019 Common Application Essential Facts

The 2019 Common Application is one application for over 900 colleges and universities, and launches 8/1/2019.  If you’ve never heard of the Common Application, read more about it here. They have a new logo this year too, which you can see above.

(Another popular application is by the Coalition For College Access, accepted by 150 schools.)

Here are three essential facts about the 2019-2020 Common Application discussed in this blog post:

1. The 2019-2020 Common Application launches on Aug 1, 2019 (and accounts will be closed July 28-31).

2.  Essay prompts won’t change. Read about best practices, and where to find college-specific essay prompts.

3.  You can now explore some new features of the Common Application.

1. The 2019-2020 Common Application launches on Aug 1, 2019.

What does this mean for you?

If you have already created an account on CommonApp.org, you should note that freshman application accounts (as opposed to transfer applications) will be offline July 28-31 However, if you still want to work on your application during July 28-31, here’s what you can continue to do, according to the common app team:

  • Create a Common App account and learn how to roll over your account when the application launches on August 1
  • Explore nearly 900 unique colleges and universities that accept the Common App
  • Learn about how to finance a college education
  • Check out what to expect from Common App in 2019-2020
  • Reach out to the Solutions Center team, available 24/7, for any questions about Common App!
  • Work on drafting your essay in a journal, Pages, Word, a Google doc, or even in a note on your phone

2.  Essay Questions Won’t Change

The second important fact about the 2019 Common Application is great news: the essay questions that apply to all schools will not change from the 2018-2019 application. So if you drafted a preliminary essay during your junior year in high school, the prompt you used is still available.

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The seven prompts are below. You will pick one of them.  Word limit: 650

Keep calm and make your choice


  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.


  1. 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?


  1. Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?


  1. 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.


  1. Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others.


  1. 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?


  1. 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.

Three Ways To Use Natalie Goldberg’s Teaching in Essay Writing; #UMich Application News

Because your essays are such an important part of your Common App, keep some of these best practices in mind when completing them.  This is advice from CommonApp.org:
• Make sure you periodically save your work by clicking the Continue button.

• Keep a file on your computer with a back up of your essays.

• If you are pasting your essay into the Common App, paste it first into Note Pad or Text Edit, and then paste it into the Common App to avoid formatting irregularities.

• Save your essay in Google Drive, then easily upload it into your Common App by clicking on the Google Drive icon above the text box in the Writing section.

• Always double check that the content appears correctly and in its entirety.

• Be sure to proofread your essays for any typos.

• Make sure you have selected a prompt for your essay (if applicable).

Where can I find the college-specific essays in the Common Application?

Some colleges, such as the University of Michigan, require their own additional essays.  Look up which schools require college-specific essays here.

3.  You can now explore some new features of the Common Application.

A third important aspect of the Common Application is they have upgraded their website and the information offered, such as:

Upgraded Applicant Guides

Upgraded Recommender Guides

Paying for college

When to do what?

Bottom line–You’re probably wondering how much the application will cost. The cost of the Common Application varies, depending on which schools you apply to.  Some schools charge up to $75, and some don’t charge at all.

According to the Common Application, you can also have the fee waived:

Please note that the application fee can be waived for students who have demonstrated financial need. If you feel that your financial circumstances may qualify you for a fee waiver, make sure you complete the fee waiver section on your profile, and then your counselor will need to verify your eligibility.


Three Ways to Get Organized For College Applications

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