Say Hello to the New Common App

If you're applying to college next year, you'll be using a different Common Application than the one we've come to know and love/loathe. The new Common App makes its debut next summer after an $8-million dollar makeover.

Here's what you need to know:

1. No more paper. As of next summer, it will be online only.

**2. No more writing an essay on a "topic of your choice." Instead, you'll be choosing from 4 or 5 essay topics that will change each year and will be much like the current topics about people who have had an influence on you or a significant experience you've had.

  1. You'll have to keep your essay between 250 and 500 words. Starting next year, anything more or less will prompt an error message.

  2. You won't have to deal with the questions that don't apply to you anymore. The Common App will automatically update as you fill in your information so you won't be asked to enter the college of a sister you don't have.

  3. You'll have some help. There will be an on-screen sidebar for assistance and an "At A Glance" feature that will let you quickly see what you have and have not completed.

  4. No more resumes unless a particular school asks for it from its applicants.

  5. Fee waivers will be WAY easier. Instead of having to request one from each school, just indicate that you qualify and it will be automatically requested.**