2017-2018 Common App Introduces New Features

2017-2018 Common Application New Features

If you are applying this fall during the 2017-2018 admissions cycle, here’s what to expect from the recent changes to the Common App features (in my previous blog, I covered essay prompts):

  1. Google Drive Integration:  Students will now be able to use Google Docs and Google Drive to upload such documents as  essays, resumes and other materials within the Common App.
  2. More Access for Mentors/Advisors:  Students who are working with community-based organizations, independent counselors or other advisors can assign them to their Common App account.  These advisors can observe the students’ progress and provide guidance.
  3. Self Report Courses and Grades:  Students will be asked the names of courses taken (or to be taken) over the four years of high school as well as grades that appear on their transcripts.  In other words, students will be responsible for self reporting all courses and grades.
  4. Resources for Spanish-Speakers:  For student and families where Spanish is the first language in the household, the Common App will be translatable into Spanish.

The above changes are aimed at streamlining the college application process while making it easier for more students to access the Common App.  However, these changes, including the essay prompts, allow admissions committees using the new team approach and committee approach, during the admissions selection process, to better analyze student profiles and will additionally, increase the number of colleges to which students will apply to in turn increasing the number of applications that many schools will receive.  As a result, expect heightened competition to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and universities in the 2017-2018 admissions season.


Dr. Paul Reginald Lowe is the managing director and lead admissions expert at Pinnacle Educational Center Admissions Advisors Group.  Dr. Lowe specializes in providing exclusive concierge-type admissions advisory services for U.S. and international families and students who are interested in applying to Ivy League and highly selective colleges and combined BS/MD programs. Dr. Lowe also helps students gain admissions into their top choice private schools and colleges after they have been deferred, wait-listed and rejected.

As an experienced and trusted admissions advisor for over 20 years, Dr. Paul R. Lowe is an active member of the following organizations that uphold the ethical and professional standards and principles of good admission practices in college and independent school counseling: Higher Education Consultants Association (HECA), National Association for College Admissions Counseling (NACAC), New Jersey Association for College Admission Counseling (NJACAC), New York State Association for College Admissions Counseling (NYSACAC) and International Association for College Admissions Counseling (IACAC).