College Counseling & Undergraduate Admissions Resources

Applying to College

The two most frequently used applications for college admission are the Common Application and the Institutional Application. Brief descriptions of each follow:

Common Application:

There are over 900 colleges and universities in the United States and abroad (most international universities in the UK) that are Common Application members. The Common Application was created (1975) to simplify the college application process. Instead of applying to 10 colleges that use 10 different and unique applications, a student can apply to the vast majority of his/her schools with just one application and designate/apply to which colleges in which they are interested. The application has six parts to complete (Profile section, Family section, Education section, Testing section, Activities section, and a Writing/Essay section). The first five sections can be completed in 60-90 minutes. The Writing/Essay section will take longer as more planning, writing, re-writing, and editing are involved.

To register and complete the Common Application, please click on the link below:


Institutional Application:

There are approximately 2,679 four-year colleges and universities in the United States (not-for-profit and for-profit). The majority of these colleges have their own institutional application for undergraduate admission. To locate a college’s institutional application, simply Google the school’s name, click on undergraduate admissions, and then click apply. Some notable colleges that have their own institutional application include the military service academies (US Military Academy at West Point, The US Naval Academy, and the US Air Force Academy), the University of California schools (UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego, UC Davis, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine, UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, and UC Merced), and MIT to name a few. Most of the colleges that use their own institutional application for admission ask more detailed questions that may pertain to fit, intellectualism, culture, faith, or competitiveness.

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US News and World Report