For over 500 Universities, including most of the big names, applications are now received only through the Common App. Like UCAS on steroids the Common App handles all the administrative data of your application, your financial information (crucial in establishing whether you are worthy of any financial aid) and the essays and supplements you have to submit.
Youtube is full of guidance on how to fill in the Common App, an example of which is here…
The Common App opens for business on August 1st each year, any login and filling out you do before that will be wiped. Aside from the material that you have to fill out there is a host of material that your school will have to provide but this varies a little from university to university. Fortunately there is a giant pdf which lists the requirements of each university and you should study this carefully when you have made your decisions about where to apply and make sure your school uses it.
There are several key deadlines when it comes to the Common App.
1. The first is the Early deadline for Early Action and Early Decision applicants this is usually either October 31st or November 1st but you should check with your universities
2. The second is the deadline for applicants to be considered for scholarships, this varies from university to university too but is often before the final deadline for regular decision.
3. The University of California institutions have a separate application process which can be found here, their deadline is November 30th.
4. Regular decision usually has a deadline of January 1st (although check with your university as some will extend the deadline)
5. Rolling admission has no set deadline but earlier is better as the university will continue to admit until they are full.
The school’s role