What is the Common Black College Application? (Counselor Guide)

What is the Common Black College Application?

I’ve never heard of the Common Black College Application. What is it?

The Common Black College Application is an HBCU-exclusive platform that allows students to apply to 65 member HBCUs (that’s historically Black colleges and universities) for a total of $20. You read that right – $20. 

And an added bonus: They have a private Facebook forum designed to bring together students, parents, counselors, college access organizations and HBCU representatives to share questions, ideas and best practices.  

Who can use the Common Black College Application?

Both first-year and transfer students can apply to the Member HBCUs with the online application. You can be a U.S. citizen, identify as undocumented or currently hold DACA status. Note that transfer students can not use the transcript upload process and must send their official transcripts to the institutions they are interested in attending. 

What’s so special about the Common Black College Application?

First of all, it’s accessible and affordable. There really is no other way that you could apply to 60+ schools for $20. 

Second, unlike other application platforms, you rank your top four choices as part of the application process (though all 65 schools have access to your application). This allows the colleges to gauge your level of interest in their college. So, if you’re thinking, “I wish I could let x school know how much I want to attend their college,” here’s your chance!” 

However, they do recommend that you contact all of the schools that you’re interested in attending, as some schools will only review applications that were tagged as one of the top four choices. You can either email the admissions office or call and ask for the person that handles the Common Black College Applications.

Lastly, you can pay the $20 via PayPal – and you don’t even need a PayPal account to do so. If you’re not into that, the application does also accept debit and credit cards, or you can mail in a money order. Note that there are no fee waivers available for the CBCA.

Do all HBCUs use the Common Black College Application?

Good question, and unfortunately, the answer is no, not all of them. But 60% of all HBCUs is a pretty great number. At the bottom of this post is a list of schools currently using the CBCA. You’ll notice that names like Howard, Spelman and Morehouse don’t appear on this list. But you will recognize awesome schools like Fisk University of Tennessee, Morgan State University of Maryland, Norfolk State University of Virginia, Tuskegee University of Alabama and Voorhees College of South Carolina.

Do I need to do anything different if I am an international student?

Just make sure to enter all zeros for your Social Security number and all 9s for the CEEB code.

What about test scores?

You can upload your test scores in the Student Dashboard. If you haven’t taken any exams, you can still complete the application. And remember that 2/3 of all schools are test-optional this year, so double check each schools’ requirements on their school websites.

How do I send transcripts to the schools I’m interested in?

Your School Counselor has to create an account to upload your official transcript in the School Counselor Dashboard. If your counselor didn’t receive an email requesting your transcript, they can go to www.commonblackcollegeapp.com and click on High School Counselor. There, they can create an account and upload your records.

What about supplementary materials like letters of recommendation?

Unfortunately, the CBCA doesn’t have the capability to share supplementary information with the colleges, so you’ll need to work with your counselor to make sure all relevant and required information is transmitted to the schools on your list.

List of 65 awesome HBCUs that use the Common Black College Application :

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