April Maguire 4 min read 12th Grade, Applying to College

A Guide to the Common Black College Application

If you’re applying to colleges this year, then the odds are good you’ve heard of the Common Application. A single online application, the Common App allows students to fill out basic information once and then apply to hundreds of schools. 

 

Still, you might not be as familiar with the Common Black College Application. This platform offers students a more convenient, affordable means of applying to more than 50 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The Black Common App typically comes with a one-time application fee of $35, and the individual schools have no extra application fees. However, in celebration of the application’s 20th anniversary, CBCA has lowered the cost to $20 for this year. 

 

Keep reading to discover how the Black Common App works and find out what schools you can apply to using this method.

 

What is the Common Black College App?

 

Created to aid lower-income families in getting into college, the HBCU Common App allows students to apply to half of the nation’s historically Black schools with a single application fee. You can find the application at commonblackcollegeapp.com

 

After clicking “Apply Now,” students will be asked to fill out basic information, including biographical data, high school approximate GPA and background, intended major, and top four colleges. Note that all the schools listed on the Common Black College App can see your profile regardless of whether you select them as a preferred school. 

 

It’s worth noting that the Common Black College Application does not collect or submit supplementary information like essays or recommendation letters. If a school you’re applying to requires these materials, you will need to send them in directly. Additionally, applicants will need to send transcripts and test scores to the CBCA or arrange for them to be forwarded directly to their top-choice colleges and universities. 

 

Which Schools Are on the Common Black College App?

 

Currently, 58 historically Black colleges and universities are part of the Common Black College Application. Below are the schools you can apply to through this app:

 

ALABAMA A&M UNIVERSITY

ALABAMA STATE UNIVERSITY

ALBANY STATE UNIVERSITY

ALCORN STATE UNIVERSITY

ARKANSAS BAPTIST COLLEGE

BENEDICT COLLEGE

BENNETT COLLEGE

BETHUNE-COOKMAN UNIVERSITY

BLUEFIELD STATE COLLEGE

CENTRAL STATE UNIVERSITY

CHARLES R. DREW UNIVERSITY OF MEDICINE & SCIENCE

CLAFLIN UNIVERSITY

CLARK ATLANTA UNIVERSITY

CLINTON COLLEGE

COPPIN STATE UNIVERSITY

DILLARD UNIVERSITY

EDWARD WATERS COLLEGE

ELIZABETH CITY STATE UNIVERSITY

FLORIDA MEMORIAL UNIVERSITY

FORT VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY

GRAMBLING STATE UNIVERSITY

HARRIS-STOWE STATE UNIVERSITY

HUSTON-TILLOTSON UNIVERSITY

JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY

JOHNSON C. SMITH UNIVERSITY

KENTUCKY STATE UNIVERSITY

LINCOLN UNIVERSITY (MO)

LANE COLLEGE

LIVINGSTONE COLLEGE

LeMOYNE OWEN COLLEGE

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY STATE UNIVERSITY

MILES COLLEGE

MORRIS COLLEGE

MORGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

NORFOLK STATE UNIVERSITY

PAINE COLLEGE

PAUL QUINN COLLEGE

PHILANDER SMITH COLLEGE

RUST COLLEGE

SAINT AUGUSTINE’S UNIVERSITY

SHAW UNIVERSITY

SOUTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY

SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY AND A&M COLLEGE

SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY (NEW ORLEANS)

STILLMAN COLLEGE

TALLADEGA COLLEGE

TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY

TOUGALOO COLLEGE

TUSKEGEE UNIVERSITY

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS PINE BLUFF

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND EASTERN SHORE

UNIVERSITY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS

VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY

VIRGINIA UNION UNIVERSITY

VOORHEES COLLEGE

WEST VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY

WILBERFORCE UNIVERSITY

WILEY COLLEGE

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

How is the Common Black College App Different?

 

Like the Common Application and Coalition Application, the Common Black College App makes applying to college more convenient for thousands of students. By filling out biographical and educational information one time, students can apply to multiple schools in one go. 

 

However, the Black Common App also features some significant differences. The chart below shows some of the key ways in which the three apps differ from one another:

 

Fees to Use the App Number of Member Schools Application Components
Common Application Free to use; students must pay application fees for individual schools 900+ Biographical and educational information; testing results; letters of recommendation; essay
Coalition Application Free to use; students must pay application fees for individual schools 135 Biographical and educational information; family commitments; testing results; letters of recommendation; essay
Common Black College Application $20 in 2020 (usually $35); no additional application costs  58 Biographical and educational information, including approximate GPA; intended major; preferred 4 colleges

 

Should You Use the Common Black College App?

 

Applying to schools with the Common Black College App comes with numerous advantages. For one, students who use this method have a better chance of being accepted to college. Because the CBCA allows you to apply to up to 58 schools, you have a good chance of being accepted to at least one institution. In fact, 97 percent of students who fill out a common application are accepted by a minimum of one school, with many receiving acceptance letters from two or more. Additionally, students can save money by submitting just one $20 application fee instead of paying an individual fee for every school on their list. 

 

Clearly, the Common Black College Application offers a convenient, affordable way of applying to many of the nation’s historically Black colleges and universities. However, there are some drawbacks to using the app as well. CBCA doesn’t allow students to submit certain additional application materials, like essays, SAT scores, or letters of recommendation. Applicants will therefore need to remember to send in these materials themselves to be considered at their target schools. 

 

Additionally, students who want to apply to schools outside their top four preferred institutions must contact those institutions directly. Doing this informs the school in question of your interest and ensures you don’t forget to submit any key application components. 

 

If you’re planning to apply to several HBCUs, the Common Black College Application is a good choice. Otherwise, if you’re only applying to a couple (and cost isn’t an issue), the more-established Common App or Coalition Application might save you some time, as you won’t need to send supplemental materials in separately.

 

Wondering what your chances of acceptance are? At CollegeVine, we use thousands of data points and state-of-the-art chancing information to help students assess their odds at hundreds of schools. We’ll also let you know how to optimize your profile for success. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account to give our admissions calculator a try!

Want more tips on improving your academic profile?

We'll send valuable information to help you strengthen your profile and get ready for college admissions.


April Maguire
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of the Master of Professional Writing program at USC, April Maguire taught freshman composition while earning her degree. Over the years, she has worked as a writer, editor, tutor, and content manager. Currently, she operates a freelance writing business and lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their three rowdy cats.