Four Things Prospective Applicants Need to Know about the 2015-2016 Common Application

The 2015-2016 Common Application will launch on August 1. For those of you eager to get started, here are four key pieces of information to help you begin. And for those of you who aren’t quite ready to give up on summer, don’t worry. These tips will be just as useful in September.

1. You need to create a new account. To prepare for the new year, we have removed all accounts created before August 1, 2015. If you try to sign in with last year’s username and password, you’ll see an error message.

2. Talk to your counselor and parents (and maybe a college admission officer) before you sign the FERPA Release Authorization. You have the right to access your letters of recommendation after you enroll in college, assuming the college saves those forms. In the “Recommenders and FERPA” section of the application, you’ll be asked if you wish to waive that right. You’re free to respond as you choose, but you need to know that there may be implications to the choice you make. (We explain this in more detail in the application.) For that reason, please make sure you talk to someone — a counselor or parent – who can help you understand your choice before you make it.

3. Check your application for accuracy before submitting. When it comes time to submit your applications–and for many of you that will be months away–make sure everything on it looks right. Yes, that means proofreading, but it also means checking that your responses appear exactly as they should. If something looks amiss, we want you to tell us so we can help you fix the problem before you send the application. Keep in mind that you can print preview each section as you work through the questions.

4. Add <> to your address book or contact list. We know you’ll have questions, and we are here to answer them. Help us make sure our responses don’t end up in your SPAM or Junk folder by adding our support email address to your contact list.

We’ll have more tips for you as the year goes on, but these will get you started on the right foot. Remember, we’re always ready to help you. If you experience a problem or have a question, let us know by going to the Applicant Help Center and using the FAQs or clicking the Ask a Question tab.

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