2017-18 Common Application Changes

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

2017-18 Common Application ChangesHere’s What to Expect on the 2017-18 Common Application

The admissions cycle for the class of 2021 may be over, but the college preparation journey is just starting for current juniors who are planning to apply to college this fall. Students are getting started on their applications earlier than ever, and it’s important to stay informed on the latest Common Application changes before the summer and fall.

Every year the Common Application makes changes and improvements in order to enhance the application process for college bound students. These changes are even more critical as competitors like the Coalition application gain traction in the admissions process.

Here are some of the announced changes for the 2017-18 Common Application.

Revised Essay Prompts

The Common Application has already released the essay prompts for 2017-18, with the notable addition of the “topic of choice” essay, which was removed a few years ago. Some of the existing Common Application essay prompts have also been slightly revised, and in addition to the “topic of choice” essay, another essay has been added, bringing the total number of prompts to seven. Here are the 2017-18 Common App essay prompts:

  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.
  2. REVISED: 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?
  3. REVISED: Reflect on a time when you questioned or challenged a belief or idea. What prompted your thinking? What was the outcome?
  4. 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.
  5. REVISED: Discuss an accomplishment, event, or realization that sparked a period of personal growth and a new understanding of yourself or others. 
  6. NEW: 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?
  7. NEW: 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.

Outside Advisor Access

Now, students who work with independent consultants, community-based organizations, or other advisors will be able to collaborate with them within the Common Application system just like they would with a regular recommender or their school-based counselor. This will allow students to share a view of their application while they’re working on it in order to get feedback and suggestions from whoever is advising them through this process.

Google Drive Integration

Students will be able to easily upload resumes, assignments, and other documents from Google Drive within the Common Application and school-specific supplements. This is similar to the Coalition application’s “locker” set up, however, since many students already use Google Drive to manage materials and collaborate with counselors, this integration might be easier for students to manage as everything can live in one place, rather than two.

Self-Reported Transcripts

The new Courses and Grades section will allow students to fill out self-reported transcripts directly into the Common Application. This feature will be available when the new application opens on August 1, 2017.

Spanish Language Resources

For families that speak Spanish as their primary language, a number of important resources on the Common Application as well as how to apply to college, how to apply for financial aid, and more will be translated into Spanish in order to help students and parents better understand the application process.

New Member Colleges

A number of new colleges have been added to the Common Application for the 2017-18 admissions cycle, bringing the total number of colleges that use the Common App to more than 740. Here’s a list of new member colleges:

  • Anderson University (IN)
  • Appalachian State University (NC)
  • Art Academy of Cincinnati (OH)
  • Barton College (NC)
  • Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar
  • Catawba College (NC)
  • Cleveland State University (OH)
  • Defiance College (OH)
  • Dominican College (NY)
  • Duke Kunshan University (China)
  • East Carolina University (NC)
  • Eastern Mennonite University (VA)
  • Fairleigh Dickinson University (NJ)
  • Hellenic College (MA)
  • Kent State University (OH)
  • Lincoln Memorial University (TN)
  • Marshall University (WV)
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology (MO)
  • Monash University (Australia)
  • Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (IN)
  • Southern California Institute of Architecture (CA)
  • Trine University (IN)
  • Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain)
  • University College Dublin (Ireland)
  • University of Houston (TX)
  • University of Minnesota, Morris (MN)
  • University of Missouri – Kansas City (MO)
  • University of Missouri – St Louis (MO)
  • University of Missouri (MO)
  • University of Nevada, Las Vegas -UNLV (NV)
  • University of Northern Colorado (CO)
  • University of Oregon (OR)
  • University of the West (CA)
  • University of Wyoming (WY)
  • Vermont Technical College (VT)
  • Western Michigan University (MI)
  • Wheaton College (IL)
  • York College of Pennsylvania (PA)

Ready to start preparing for the admissions process this fall? Check out our free admissions guide for more information on the college application process, and be sure to download our free college planning checklist to make sure you’re on track!


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