College Admissions 101: What You Need to Know about the Universal Common Application
Decisions, decisions. Throughout the college application process, it starts to feel like everywhere you turn there’s another decision waiting for you. Of all the decisions, choosing between application types doesn’t have to be stressful. Most of the time, the decision might be made for you, especially if the college you’re interested in only offers one type!
Here’s everything you need to know about the Universal Common Application.
What is the Universal Common Application (UCA)?
The UCA was created in 2007 and currently serves 10 colleges, listed below. Like the common application, the UCA allows you to apply to multiple colleges with the same application. Some schools have the Common Application and the Universal Common Application, a couple only accept the UCA.
List of UCA Colleges
UNIVERSITY OF CHARLESTON (WV), Charleston, WV
CORNELL UNIVERSITY, Ithaca, NY
HARVARD COLLEGE, Cambridge, MA
LANDMARK COLLEGE, Putney, VT
NAZARETH COLLEGE, Rochester, NY
NOTRE DAME OF MARYLAND UNIVERSITY, Baltimore, MD
PRINCETON UNIVERSITY, Princeton, NJ
RANDOLPH COLLEGE, Lynchburg, VA
RICHMOND, THE AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY IN LONDON, London, UK
WENTWORTH INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY Boston, MA
General Application: where you’ll fill out application forms required by the colleges you’re applying to.
Supplements Page: where you’ll find the supplemental forms for your selected colleges.
School Forms: where you can request recommendations and submit required school forms.
UCA Essay Prompts
One of the perks of the UCA is that you can edit essays after submission. If you notice a typo shortly after submission, you can adjust accordingly. Aside from its specific schools, UCA also has a different set of essay questions compared to other applications, which are arguably more general or broad than some of the other essay prompts:
Personal Statement: Please write an essay that demonstrates your ability to develop and communicate your thoughts. Some ideas include: a person you admire; a life-changing experience; or your viewpoint on a particular current event.
Activity Description: Tell us about one of your extracurricular, volunteer, or employment activities.
College Specific Essays: In addition to the topics above, colleges might require additional essays in the Supplements section of the application.
How is the UCA different from other application types?
According to PrepScholar, the UCA’s interface is faster than the Common App. However, more teachers and guidance counselors are familiar with the common app, so they’ll know how to submit recommendations.
Curious about the difference in essay prompts? Take a look at this year’s Common App Essays.
One perk of the Coalition App is that it allows you to save your essays and notes to yourself in one place, MyCoalition Locker. You can have mentors, teachers, and parents read your drafts and provide feedback.
The Coalition App offers 5 different essay prompt options. See our guide to answering the Coalition App’s essay prompts here.
Common Black App
The Common Black Application allows students to apply to 53 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) at once. Similar to the UCA, the Common Black App allows you to keep track of your application progress.
Decide which Platform is Best for You
Picking your application platform depends mostly on which colleges you’re applying for, and whether you’re interested in applying to HBCUs or not. Since the majority of colleges are served by the Common App, there’s a good chance you’ll have to use it at some point. Take a look at which applications colleges accept before you decide which one to fill out.