My Scholarship Success with the Common App!

Jul 15 / Musfirah

Common App: A Comprehensive Guide

You might be stressed about selecting your college major, and you have to scavenge for an excellent and AFFORDABLE institute to enroll in. As if it wasn't tedious enough now this pandemic has caused havoc in our lives and made education expensive around the globe. According to a survey conducted by OneClass, around 56% of current applicants and sophomores from 200+ universities and colleges say that they find it impossible to afford their tuition and expenses. If you are panicking about all these issues, then this blog is  your problem solver.

Trust me, as cumbersome as the process of applying for a major in a good institute looks like, it isn’t in real life. I belong to a middle-class Pakistani family with limited financial resources to get into a good college; if I can get into the all-famous, largest member of the Seven Sisters college: Smith College (on a really handsome financial package), then you also can! 

The Common App works like magic! Trust me, as an international student, common app helped alleviate many of the burdens associated with applying to the best colleges. I applied to 20 esteemed U.S. universities, and I got into 13 of those universities, including NYIT, Smith College, Suffolk University, and University at Buffalo, to name a few.

To my utmost happiness, I also received many scholarships and financial aid of up to $1 million. All thanks to the powerful platform of the Common App, which made my application process smooth. I got scholarships from Clarkson University, Smith College, Suffolk University, and Arizona State University.

So I'm in a good place to advise you...so let's go.

What is the Common App?

The Common Application, conventionally known as Common App, is an online application that allows freshman and transfer students to apply for undergraduate college programs. It is a single platform that offers applications to more than 950 colleges in America, Canada, Japan, and other European countries.

Common App is used by more than 3million undergraduate students, instructors, and counselors annually. Not only this, Common App manages all your applications and connects you to additional resources, including financial aid and scholarships, the main focus of our blog.

How to create your own Common App account

Creating a Common App account is really easy. Just follow the four basic steps:

  1. You can create your account by installing the common app mobile application on your devices or using their online website
  2. After signing in, set up your account and fill in all your information in the “Common App” tab that will be shared automatically with all the institutes you apply for. 
  3. Once you have entered your credentials, you can head to the “College Search” tab and add any college of your preference to the “My Colleges” list. 
  4. For each institute that you select, answer their respective college-specific questions if they have any and submit all the required documents

How to apply for financial aid and Scholarships

The most daunting aspect of applying to college for parents and freshmen is the price tag, but it doesn’t have to be. Common App has several options available for you to start thinking about paying for your college expenses.

1. Apply for financial aid through FAFSA

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a form you must submit to the federal government, which they consider when awarding students with grants and loans, work-study programs, and more. U.S. citizens are eligible for this aid, but if you are a non-US citizen, you can still qualify for the assistance if you are eligible. Be sure to check your eligibility on the non-U.S. citizen eligibility criteria.

2. State Government aid

If you are not eligible for federal aid, and if you are a resident of the U.S., then you can alternatively apply for state financial aid. To check your eligibility and availability of grants in your state, visit the state grant agency.

3. Colleges and Universities scholarships

The best news for international students is that most common app universities provide financial aid and scholarships from their own funds. As a freshman, I was ineligible for federal and state financial aid, and all the scholarships I received were awarded by the particular institutes I applied for.

Common App easily allows you to filter out the most affordable colleges for you and the scholarships they offer. Not only this, the Common App will enable you to compare the scholarships, grants, and loans different colleges provide so that you can make a well-informed decision about the cost of your education.

Colleges offer scholarships to students based on various merits, including athletics, commitment to community, academics, special needs, and more. You can apply for all these different types of scholarships you are eligible for by submitting the document requirements of each institute you applied for. 

College board X common app

This is the collab all the students needed. Now you can share your college board test scores with all the colleges hassle-free through the Common App. This will save you a lot of costs because it usually takes around $12 to send over your report to a single institute. 

Through the Common App, you can receive waivers and some discounts when sending your SAT score to multiple colleges. I wish someone had told me this secret while I was applying for institutes because I spent a couple of hundred bucks to send my SAT report, through the College Board, to the 15+ institutes I applied for.

Do you want to know a secret?

Every college requires an application fee for your admission application to be processed. For example, a single admission application to NYIT costs $50, which is non-refundable. If you are applying for multiple colleges, the total cost might sum up to a hefty amount of a couple of hundred dollars. The secret here is if you use the Common App, you can save much from application processing fees. 

Applying through the Common App, you can get a concession or fee waiver if you apply through your high school or career counselor. All you need is a reference certificate signed by your high school and counselor, asking for a fee voucher. (P.S. I never paid any application processing fee to all the 20 colleges I applied for. All I needed was my counselor’s certificate, and my application fee was waived off!) You can only get this perk if you use the Common App!

Does the common app really work?

As I noted at the beginning - yes it does as it has for me on several occasions!

You can achieve this and so much more if you follow this guide and begin your journey of choosing a college right now. Sign up on the Common App, select your major, submit an application to your dream college, and voila!

You are one step away from getting into your dream college on scholarship/aid if you apply for it.

Musfirah

Musfirah is a student of computer science from the best university in Pakistan. She has a knack for content and blog writing, and everything related. She loves to share her experiences and help people as much as possible.
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