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One Application for Over 600 Colleges

Soldier uses a computer in college.

OK, you have decided to go to college and narrowed your choices down to 5 colleges. You think those 5 are a pretty good fit for you, but you dread determining what you need to submit to each school, gathering all the paperwork, filling out those applications, and sending everything off in time for the application deadline. What can you do?

Well, luckily there are 2 free online tools that may help you quite a bit: The Universal College Application, and The Common Application.

While not all colleges accept these applications, many do. The Common Application has been around for 40 years and is accepted by more than 700 schools in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 6 foreign nations; while their newer competitor Universal Application is accepted by 34 schools. Some schools accept both applications. Most of the schools that participate in the common and universal application process are private schools.

Both applications allow you to complete the entire application process including submission of essays, recommendation letters, transcripts, and other information entirely online.

If you are applying to 5 schools and 3 require an essay, while 2 require letters of recommendation you can complete the entire application process online, select the schools you wish to apply for and hit "submit" just once. The programs will submit the proper packages to the proper schools.

While the application is free for students (schools pay to be listed on the application) many colleges charge an application fee to everyone applying for admission. You can pay this online through the app, or pay it later.

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GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government Web site at