The Ivy Coach Daily

September 15, 2023

Can You Apply to Ivy League Schools on The Common Application?

A building with steeples stands beyond trees at Harvard University.
All eight Ivies use The Common Application. Five Ivies also use The Coalition Application.

Over 1,000 colleges and universities are members of The Common Application, the most widely used college application platform.

Over 1,000 colleges and universities are members of The Common Application, the most widely used college application platform. 

As there are only around 50 highly selective universities in America, suggesting an array of schools use the platform in their admissions processes would be an understatement. But, among the elite universities, do they all use The Common Application? Let’s dive in!

Which Ivy League Schools Are On The Common App?

All eight Ivy League schools — Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cornell University — use The Common Application.

Top Schools NOT on The Common Application

In fact, among the schools ranked in the top 50 national universities by US News & World Report in their most recent 2022-2023 college ranking, only eight schools are not member institutions of The Common Application, instead preferring their own applications. Those schools are as follows:

College/University2022-2023 US News Ranking
Massachusetts Institute of Technology#2
University of California, Berkeley#20
University of California, Los Angeles#20
Georgetown University#22
University of California, Santa Barbara#32
University of California, Irvine#34
University of California, San Diego#34
University of California, Davis#38
University of Texas at Austin#38

Which Ivy League Schools Are on The Coalition App?

There are also some highly selective schools that are members of The Common Application and The Coalition Application. Yet none of these schools use The Coalition App. exclusively.

Among the Ivy League schools, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, and UPenn are also members of The Coalition Application. Of course, most students who apply to these five Ivy League schools do so through The Common App. — not The Coalition App.

As of today’s publication, there are 169 member institutions of The Coalition App. — a far cry from the over 1,000 members of The Common App.

The Ivy League Schools Will Continue to Use The Common Application

History of The Common Applications at the Ivies

In 1994, not long after the inception of Ivy Coach, Harvard was the first of the eight Ivy League schools to join The Common Application. And as we have long expressed on our college admissions blog, where Harvard goes, the rest tend to follow. Dartmouth soon joined, too, and the rest was history. Before these institutions joined The Common App., the schools had their own applications; in fact, many retained their own applications in the following years, though they’re now all relics of a bygone era.

The Common Application Has No Significant Competitor

But will the Ivy League schools continue to use The Common Application in the years to come? As our loyal readers know all too well, Ivy Coach has a crystal ball, and our crystal ball projects that, yes, The Common Application will be used by all eight Ivies for many years to come. We do not foresee The Coalition App. — or any other potential application — to threaten the wide use of The Common App.

The Common Application Should Improve Its Platform

Yet, nonetheless, it would behoove The Common App. to start making some changes to continue their dominance of the college application marketplace. The company can begin by implementing software on their platform to detect the use of Artificial Intelligence in students’ essays. And while it doesn’t take a computer to discern crummy AI writing, it couldn’t hurt for Common App. to invest in safeguarding the integrity of the college admissions process.

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