Elementor #13360

by Jeanine Nassar | Last Updated: August 17, 2023


HBCU’s offer more than just higher education. With HBCU’s come the history of segregation, and the acknowledgement that during a time where African Americans were denied admission, these HBCU’s provided an alternative. In hand, this created a very nurturing environment for people of all backgrounds, and has an overwhelming sense of openness and welcomeness. 

As you familiarize yourself with the college application process, you begin to see exactly how time consuming and difficult applying to individual colleges are- going through different portals, having different sign-ins and payments. However, with the Common Black College Application, you can sign up to any 66 colleges at one time by filling out the application. 

The CBCA is exclusive to only Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBU’s) that include: Alabama A&M University, Alabama State University, Alcorn State University, Allen University, American Baptist University, American Baptist College, Arkansas Baptist College, Benedict College, Bennett College, Bethune-Cookman University, Central State University, Claflin University, Clark Atlanta University, Clinton College, Coppin State University, Delaware State University, Dillard University, Edward Waters College, Elizabeth City State University, Fayetteville State University, Fisk University, Florida Memorial University, Fort Valley State University, Grambling State University, Harris-Stowe State University, Huston-Tillotson University, Jarvis Christian College, Jackson State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Kentucky State University, Lane College, Lincoln University (MO), LeMoyne Owen College, Lincoln University (PA), Livingstone College, Mississippi Valley State University, Miles College, Morris College, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, North Carolina Central 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 University, Southern University (NO), Stillman College, Talladega College, Tennessee State University, Texas College, Tougaloo College, University of Arkansas Pine Bluff, University of MD. Eastern Shore, University of The Virgin Islands, Virginia State University, Virginia Union University, Voorhees College, West Virginia State University, Wilberforce University, Wiley College Winston Salem State University.

Before You Begin

It’s important to follow the steps and ensure you have these documents before proceeding

Before you begin with the CBCA, you must gather together some information to make for an easy application process. You will need SAT Scores (for both English and Math, and the essay if you took it), and your ACT scores for any and all ACTs you took. You also need information about your guidance counselor, and your high school (including your school’s CEEB code, extracurriculars, and your GPA).

CBCA does not require an essay to be submitted right onto the application, however, individual schools do have that. In order to determine this, you have to contact the colleges you are interested in (your top 4 schools and the member institutions that you are interested in) and find out the essay prompts they want you to answer and how they want it submitted. Please ensure that once you are writing these prompts, that you read the question carefully, make sure you make your responses cohesively and coherently and that you get someone to peer edit it. These essay prompts help the admission office understand who you are, so make sure you can show and tell them that!

Before getting straight into the application, familiarize yourself with the platform! When you first go onto the website, there is a homepage that tells you all about the CBCA, including all the 66 colleges you can apply to through the application. At the very top there are many tabs, including ‘START APPLICATION’, which you will press to make an account and proceed to the application with.

Creating Your CBCA Account

To start your Common Black College Application, visit commonblackcollegeapp.com to create an account. You’ll input basic demographic information such as first and last name, phone number, email, and password. It is important to create a secure password- try making a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols without revealing private information. You can download My College Tracker, an excel spreadsheet to keep deadline dates, materials, and passwords organized.


Completing the General Application

While you may have fantasized about attending what you thought was your dream college, now that you’re deferred, there may be other schools you previously overlooked. This experience may have brought more clarity of your school choices. There is still plenty of time to apply to colleges as deadlines can go as late as February 1. Many others have rolling admissions, which means there is no deadline, so they take applications as long as seats are open. Take advantage of this time to open up your options. You may end up preferring another school over the one that deferred you.

"My Application"

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After creating an account, you will be sent to the homepage. On the left there are tabs, one of which is “My Application”, press it to begin. Answer the questions listed below, by using the drop-down menu to select the best fitting answer. For example, as an incoming freshman, you would select the answers: Freshman, Full Time, Fall, 2023, your desired major, and the year in which you graduated high school. 



"Personal Information"

After pressing ‘get started’ you will be sent to a section to fill out personal information. This includes your name,  home phone, email address, gender, marital status, birthdate, religious affiliation, citizenship, social security number, and ethnicity. Select the answers that best fit you if there is a drop down menu, and if not, then fill in the blanks as best as you can. 

"Residential Information"

After you have finished the personal section, there will be residential information, which is basically inputting your full address. This includes your numbered address, city, state, country and zip code. In this section be as specific and concise as possible.

"High School Information"

This section should seem a little familiar to you if you have completed other applications. Here you will input your school’s name- start typing it and it should eventually pop up- select it in the drop down menu once it does. After you select the school, the CEEB code should be filled in for you- if not you can write it down as well. Then you select your graduation year as well as your grade point average (GPA).  Your GPA can be found on your transcript, but you don’t need to upload your transcript, your counselor will do that. Then input your SAT and ACT scores (if applicable) which you can find on the College Board. Do not forget, you are inputting your individual scores for Math and Writing for SAT scores, do not add them together. Lastly, the extracurricular section. Here, place all of your activities you were apart of in and out of high school while also including your role (ie. member, president, secretary) as well as how long you participated in that activity.

"College Information"

In this next section, things can start to get a little tricky. The first thing you have to do is choose your top 4 college preferences by using the drop down menu. You will have them numbered as ‘College Preference 1’, ‘College Preference 2’, ‘College Preference 3’, and ‘College Preference 4.’ In order to complete this section, please look carefully at all of your options and weigh them out- have them match YOUR needs for a school. This is no pressure, however, because your application is still sent to all colleges, you just have to make sure you contact member institutions that you are interested in that you didn’t place as your top 4 so that they can be urged to log into the database and check the application out. After finishing this, complete the rest of the college info section by filling out your enrollment type, enrollment status, enrollment semester, enrollment year, and major by using the drop down menu. As always you should make sure of this information before you select it, but as a heads up if you plan on starting college directly after high school graduation, you will be starting in the fall semester.

Contact Information

In this section, you will provide up to three guardians’ information in the sections (It is labeled guardian 1, 2, 3 and you must fill out at least one guardian’s information). The questions include their name, their relation to you, their numbers (work, home, etc), email address, home address, employer and job title. If you are unsure about any piece of information, just ask the guardian to clarify before putting in the information yourself. It is important that all information you give on the application is accurate and reliable. If you do not want to continue with inputting information for guardians 2 and 3, you may skip ahead to the last section.

"Miscellaneous Information"

In this section there are a few more questions that need to be answered. First about whether or not you are planning on receiving financial aid, ;living on campus, and interested in jobs on campus. Simply answer these questions with a yes or a no. Then, they ask about your religious affiliation and racial/ethnic background. Then they also ask whether or not you were suspended from school, of hispanic or latino origin, or if you were ever convicted of a felony. These are questions that you also respond with a yes or no.

Writing The Essays

These essay prompts give the college admission advisors a moment to get into your shoes, so it is important to spend your time on them. Before writing, make sure you fully understand what is being asked of you, or else your writing won’t be focused. When you are starting to write, make sure you stay straight to the point so that you don’t lose the attention of readers. Then make sure that you edit and revise your own writing, get someone to proofread as well, and then re-edit your own writing afterwards. Before submitting, make sure your writing follows all rules necessary (ie. word limit). 

Review and Submit Application


  • Before you are able to submit your application, you have to agree to the terms and agreements. You also have to check off and make sure that all necessary questions (ones that include **) are all answered.

  • It cannot be stressed enough that the information you put must be accurate- whether it be about your personal or high school information. 

  • You should go back and check all the information you put, because once you submit the application you can review it, but you cannot change it. 

  • When you are ready, click submit application, and it should direct you to the application fee page, and you should also receive an email confirming your submission. 

Paying the Application Fee


  • Although CBCA allows you to apply to multiple HBSU’s, you do not have to pay multiple application fees. In fact, there is only one- a $20 fee which is nonrefundable. There is a possible waiver for lower income students, and if you are eligible, a promo code would be given to you- however, if you are not then you do have to pay the fee. 

  • If you must pay the fee, just click the paypal link and enter your email address. After this you are able to pay with a credit or debit card. You do not need a paypal account to continue, just enter your email address. If the options above do not suit you, you can pay by money order. Please address the payment to:

  • EDU, Inc. Common Black College Application

  • 2625 Piedmont Road

  • Suite 56315

  • Atlanta, GA 30324

After Submission

As soon as you submitted your application, head over to your email and check that you received confirmation. Ensure that you also paid the application fee before leaving the site. If another college interests you that is within the CBCA but was not placed as your top four, ensure that you email those member institutions. This step reminds them of your application and gives it recognition. If you plan on receiving financial aid, head over to the financial aid website to check on that, or start on that if you haven’t already. Lastly, if you are accepted to a college,  please weigh out your decisions carefully to determine how you want to spend the next four years. Although you can always transfer out of the school, it is important that you choose one you think will be the right place for you for the upcoming future.



Question: Why do they ask for 4 main college preferences?

Answer: These are the top colleges that will be directly given your application, to reach more than just the top four schools, reach out to the Member Institution and email them about it.


Question: How much is the fee?
Answer: $20, you can send a money order or use a card.


Question: Is the fee refundable?

Answer: No, however, for some low-income students it can be waived.



Annndd that is all! The CBCA is a great opportunity to apply to multiple schools and only have to go through one application, and pay one fee. Be sure to make a strong and safe password, and have it easily accessible for yourself. Make sure you also regularly check the status of your application! College applications are sometimes long, but one mistake can make a big difference, so be sure to take your time and check things more than once  before submitting. Give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve come this far. 

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Jeanine Nassar is enrolled at the College of Staten Island. She is an incoming Junior studying English with a minor in African and African Diaspora Studies. One day she hopes to be a professor teaching English. Understanding the first hand struggle with trying to find scholarships and manage through applications, Jeanine offers tips and step-by-step how to’s in order to manage through. Jeanine understands the difficulties that come with balancing many applications, and hopefully the tidbits she offers can help navigate other students through them. For Leisure, Jeanine usually paints and does puzzles. She also loves to read when she is not home, so she is always occupied!