Bachelor applications to universities in the United States fall into two categories in terms of application forms: Common Applications - a uniform application form accepted by many US universities - and Uncommon Applications - unique application forms that differ entirely by university.
The Common Application consists of two sections: the general application and the supplemental application.
Therefore, use of the "Common Application" allows an applicant to send all universities who subscribe to this application process the same general application. This means an applicant completes one general application and has it sent to all universities to which he or she would like to apply and that accept the Common Application.
The only additional burden incurred by the applicant in applying to an additional university under the "Common Application" scheme is the additional supplemental application required for each additional university. Generally, the general application is 60% and the supplemental application is 40% of the application process for any one university.
Institutions accepting the common application include some of the best such as all eight Ivy League schools (Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth and University of Pennsylvania), Stanford University, Johns Hopkins, University of Michigan, University of Chicago, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, CalTech, Duke University and more.
Uncommon Applications are applications to universities that do not subscribe to the Common Applications process. These applications are wholly unique from each other and do not possess any questions uniform across other universities. As a result, applying to these universities requires substantially more time than would applying to universities under the Common Applications process. Only few universities among the top schools do not accepted the Common Application. However some notable ones among them are MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Georgetown University and schools in the University of California system including UC Berkeley and UCLA.
It is important to be aware of these differences in application process when planning your time commitment in preparing the various applications. In general, we would not recommend choosing your target universities according to which application form they use. However, knowing the formal requirements they pose will help you schedule when to start working on your applications and which deadlines are realistic for you to meet.
You may also wish to apply for financial aid in the US. In addition to the required documents subject to the US Tax Code, these applications vary from institution to institution regardless of their use of the Common or Uncommon application processes.
Author: Peter E. Simon, tutor for US admissions and alumnus of Brown University and Georgetown Law, and Katharina Kunze.
Katharina Kunze, Tutorin und Gründerin von Oxbridge Bewerbung, hat zwischen 2005 und 2008 an der Oxford University "Politics, Philosophy and Economics" (BA Hons) studiert.
Nach ihrem Master hat sie als Unternehmens-
beraterin bei Oliver Wyman, bei The Economist und bei dem deutschen Startup mymuesli gearbeitet.
Seit 2011 haben sie und ihre Mentoren bei Oxbridge Bewerbung Schüler in England, Deutschland und im Ausland bei der Bewerbung für Oxford und Cambridge University betreut.