The Common App goes live on August 1st and there are lots of changes to watch for. Known as CA4, this newest generation of the Common App is a streamlined version of the program, designed to make the college application process as easy and pertinent as possible for both the applicant and the member colleges alike, as well as for teachers and counselors.
Here are some changes you will find in the CA4:
- The Common App is now completely on-line. There is no longer the option to send a paper copy. Print Preview is still available, but your CA4 cannot be printed.
- The interface has changed, but should be quite intuitive and easily navigated.
- The questions are based on an applicant’s answers to the previous question, making it more relevant to the individual.
- Fewer questions will appear on screen at a time.
- Payments are made online at the time of submission.
- Eligibility for a needs-based fee waiver, once confirmed, is applicable to all the colleges on the student’s list.
- Application edits are now unlimited, but students are allowed only 3 edits on their essays.
- There is no longer a standalone Athletics section. Applicants will be able to list athletic achievements in the Activities section by first using a drop-down box format, then by writing in the details.
- Applicants will be limited to 10 activities in the Activities section. Positions held, honors awarded (the top portion) will be limited to 50 characters (NOT WORDS), Details and Accomplishments will be limited to 150 characters (AGAIN, NOT WORDS, BIG DIFFERENCE…)
- There are 5 new Personal Essay prompts, but the “Essay of Your Choice” is no longer available. The length of the essay has changed and must be longer than 250 words, but not to exceed 650 words. Many colleges will still request one or several supplemental essays.
- To avoid potential formatting problems or disable students from going over the word limit, essays will now be written directly on the application using text entry fields or cut-and-paste. The text entry fields still allow for basic formatting, and will provide word count.
- College writing supplements are to be completed after the basic supplemental information has been submitted, in order to allow the colleges to provide writing prompts relevant to the individual applicant.
- Colleges may request a résumé that can be submitted as a document upload but there will no longer be the possibility to upload a document in the main area of the commonapp.
- The International Supplement is no longer a separate form.