Our 2016-17 Common App Guide is here!

CommonAppGuideCovRevToday, we’re releasing version 1.0 of the Collegewise Guide to the 2016-17 Common Application—revised and updated to reflect the most recent version. We’re announcing it to blog readers first, and once again, it’s available to download free of charge. You can get your copy here.

Here are a few suggestions for how you might use our guide:


  • If you haven’t started your Common App, complete each section with our help. We think your app will be stronger, and you’ll actually spend less time on the application by just getting it right the first time.
  •  If you’ve already finished your Common App, use our guide to do a line-by-line review before you submit.
  • Struggling with just a particular section or two? Our guide can probably help.


  • If you are the official college application reviewer in the house, use our guide to review your student’s Common Application (kids should always complete their own college applications even if a parent will review them).

High school counselors

  • Looking to brush up on your Common App knowledge? Spend an hour with our guide and you’ll be a virtual expert.
  • Do your students come to you with questions about the Common App? Keep a copy of our guide on your desk (or bookmark the link to save a tree) and use it whenever you need a second opinion.
  • Share it with colleagues, teachers, and students.
  • Post the link on your website or in your student newsletters.

Private counselors

  • Our guide will teach you exactly what to look for when reviewing each of your students’ Common Applications.
  • Share the link with your students for them to use at home while they complete their applications.
  • Do you have partners, employees, or interns who work with students? Our guide makes a great training tool.

What we ask of you

We want to do even more to make sure students and parents have access to good college planning information, even if they can’t afford to pay for a service like Collegewise. Since we started giving our Common App guide away for free last year, over 4,000 students, parents, counselors, and administrators downloaded it, and we’d love for this guide to help even more people this year. So if you know a family, counselor, PTA president, community-based organization, etc. who could use it or who could put it in the hands of those it might help, please share our download link: http://bit.ly/CollegewiseCommonAppGuide.

I hope you enjoy—and share—it.