Applying to colleges and universities can be extremely stressful and exhausting. The good news is that there are online platforms that help make the process of applying to institutions less daunting. If you plan to apply to any of the 101 historically black colleges, consider using what’s known as the Common Black College Application.
The Common Black College Application (CBCA) is like the Common App or Coalition App, but the platform is exclusive for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). To date, the CBCA has 62 member schools, and students interested in going to HBCUs may use the app to apply to any of them.
It was in 1990 when the Common Black College Application was created by Robert Mason.
Mason graduated from Virginia State University, a public historically black land-grant institution in Ettrick, Virginia, in 1984. While working in the admissions offices of Virginia State University and Clark Atlanta University, he had a light-bulb moment. He looked for a way to simplify the process of applying to HBCUs.
He also wanted to provide students of color, particularly those who think of themselves as not being smart enough to go to college, an idea of what they could accomplish — Mason graduated high school with a 1.9 GPA.
Before the Common Black College Application came into being, many students applying to historically black colleges used the Common App or Coalition App. But since Robert Mason sprang into action and came up with the CBCA, students planning to attend HBCUs now have another platform that they can count on.
What’s so nice about the CBCA is that not only does it simplify applying to HBCUs but also makes it easier on the pocket. That’s because the amount of money you will have to shell out is only $20 and nothing else!
The following are the different HBCUs (and their locations) that accept the Common Black College Application:
|Alabama A&M University||Huntsville, Alabama||Public|
|Alabama State University||Montgomery, Alabama||Public|
|Albany State University||Albany, Georgia||Public|
|Alcorn State University||Lorman, Mississippi||Public|
|Allen University||Columbia, South Carolina||Private|
|Arkansas Baptist College||Little Rock, Arkansas||Private|
|Benedict College||Columbia, South Carolina||Private|
|Bennett College||Greensboro, North Carolina||Private|
|Bethune-Cookman University||Daytona Beach, Florida||Private|
|Bluefield State College||Bluefield, West Virginia||Public|
|Central State University||Wilberforce, Ohio||Public|
|Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science||Willowbrook, California||Private|
|Claflin University||Orangeburg, South Carolina||Private|
|Clark Atlanta University||Atlanta, Georgia||Private|
|Clinton College||Rock Hill, South Carolina||Private|
|Coppin State University||Baltimore, Maryland||Public|
|Dillard University||New Orleans, Louisiana||Private|
|Edward Waters College||Jacksonville, Florida||Private|
|Elizabeth City State University||Elizabeth City, North Carolina||Public|
|Florida Memorial University||Miami Gardens, Florida||Private|
|Fort Valley State University||Fort Valley, Georgia||Public|
|Grambling State University||Grambling, Louisiana||Public|
|Harris-Stowe State University||St. Louis, Missouri||Public|
|Huston-Tillotson University||Austin, Texas||Private|
|Jackson State University||Jackson, Mississippi||Public|
|Jarvis Christian College||Wood County, Texas||Private|
|Johnson C. Smith University||Charlotte, North Carolina||Private|
|Kentucky State University||Frankfort, Kentucky||Public|
|Lane College||Jackson, Tennessee||Private|
|Lincoln University||Jefferson City, Missouri||Public|
|Lincoln University||Oxford, Pennsylvania||Public|
|Livingstone College||Salisbury, North Carolina||Private|
|LeMoyne-Owen College||Memphis, Tennessee||Private|
|Mississippi Valley State University||Itta Bena, Mississippi||Public|
|Miles College||Fairfield, Alabama||Private|
|Morris College||Sumter, South Carolina||Private|
|Morgan State University||Baltimore, Maryland||Public|
|Norfolk State University||Norfolk, Virginia||Public|
|Paine College||Augusta, Georgia||Private|
|Paul Quinn College||Dallas, Texas||Private|
|Philander Smith College||Little Rock, Arkansas||Private|
|Rust College||Holly Springs, Mississippi||Private|
|Saint Augustine’s University||Raleigh, North Carolina||Private|
|Shaw University||Raleigh, North Carolina||Private|
|South Carolina State University||Orangeburg, South Carolina||Public|
|Southern University and A&M College||Baton Rouge, Louisiana||Public|
|Southern University||Baton Rouge, Louisiana||Public|
|Stillman College||Tuscaloosa, Alabama||Private|
|Talladega College||Talladega, Alabama||Private|
|Tennessee State University||Nashville, Tennessee||Public|
|Texas College||Tyler, Texas||Private|
|Tougaloo College||Jackson, Mississippi||Private|
|Tuskegee University||Tuskegee, Alabama||Private|
|University of Arkansas Pine Bluff||Pine Bluff, Arkansas||Public|
|University of Maryland Eastern Shore||Princess Anne, Maryland||Public|
|University of the Virgin Islands||St. Thomas, Virgin Islands||Public|
|Virginia State University||Ettrick, Virginia||Public|
|Virginia Union University||Richmond, Virginia||Private|
|Voorhees College||Denmark, South Carolina||Private|
|West Virginia State University||Institute, West Virginia||Public|
|Wilberforce University||Wilberforce, Ohio||Private|
|Wiley College||Marshall, Texas||Private|
The Common Black College Application: Pros and Cons
When applying to HBCUs, you can either send your application and supporting documents straight to the schools or use the Common Black Application if the historically black colleges on your list are members.
Before choosing to apply through the CBCA rather than via the traditional approach, consider getting to know the advantages and the disadvantages of using the app. After weighing them, you will have a much better idea of whether the app can make the college application process easier or more complicated.
Easy on the pocket
Going to college doesn’t come cheap. Similarly, applying to colleges and universities costs a lot.
The Common App and Coalition App may be free platforms alright. However, applying to member schools doesn’t come free of charge. Every college or university you apply to via any of these applications will cost you anywhere from $30 to $75 — more for applicants residing outside the US.
On the other hand, the Common Black College Application isn’t free — registering costs $20.
However, you will no longer have to shell out any money when applying to member schools. So, in other words, there are no individual application fees to take care of after creating an account with the CBCA.
Apply to more than 50% of HBCUs
More than 900 colleges and universities use the Common App. Approximately 150 institutions use the Coalition App. On the other hand, 62 out of the 101 historically black colleges use the Common Black College Application.
This means that you can apply to more than half of the nation’s HBCUs via the CBCA.
Some of high-ranking HBCUs that use the app include:
- Bennett College
- Claflin University
- Dillard University
- Fisk University
- Norfolk State University
- Tuskegee University
- Voorhees College
If the historically black college of your choice doesn’t use the Common Black College Application, then you will have to apply to it via the Common App or Coalition App, whichever of the two the school uses.
Trouble-free to use
Not too long ago, the Common App had all sorts of technical issues. This forced many US colleges and universities to extend their early decision (ED) and early action (EA) deadlines.
Even before the app became flooded with glitches, many students had trouble using it.
Trouble logging in, formatting issues, preview generation dilemmas, buggy green check function — these are some of the most common problems college-bound kids encounter when using the Common App.
On the other hand, the Common Black College Application is so much easier to use. As a matter of fact, you can complete it in less than 10 minutes.
Higher chances of getting accepted
When applying to colleges and universities, most students check out acceptance rates. This allows them to know from which institutions they are likely to get acceptance letters.
By using the Common Black College Application, you can increase your chances of gaining admission into the HBCU of your choice.
That’s because the app has a 97% success rate. This means that up to 97% of all students who use the CBCA get accepted to at least one historically black school — some are accepted at two or more!
Limited supporting documents
Both the Common App and Coalition App allow students to upload all sorts of supporting documents. Recommendation letters, essays and transcripts are common examples.
Because there is no need to submit various admission requirements through other means, such as by emailing or faxing them, applying to colleges and universities is simplified.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the Common Black College Application.
The only supporting documents that can be submitted through it are your official transcript and test score. What’s more, your high school counselor is the only one who can do so — when creating a CBCA account, you will have to provide his or her email. The rest of the supporting documents will have to be emailed or faxed to the HBCUs you are applying to.
Top HBCUs aren’t members
Prestigious and highly selective colleges and universities in the nation, such as Harvard University and Cornell College, accept the Common App and Coalition App.
On the other hand, not all high-ranking historically black colleges accept the Common Black College Application.
For instance, Spelman College, which is the number one HBCU, says US News, accepts admission applications exclusively via the Common App.
Other high-ranking HBCUs that aren’t members of the CBCA include:
- Howard University
- Xavier University of Louisiana
- Hampton University
- Morehouse College
- Florida A&M University
- Fisk University
- Delaware State University
- North Carolina Central University
Not technologically advanced
Many students who have already tried using both the Common App and Coalition App say that the Common Black College Application is not as innovative as the two college admission applications.
This is the reason why the CBCU is so much easier to use and, at the same time, has very limited functions.
Not being as technologically advanced as the Common App and Coalition App is a disadvantage alright. However, in some instances, it can be an advantage, too.
Are you not a tech-savvy individual?
Then using the Common Black College Application may keep you from ending up with a splitting headache and missed opportunities.
Using the CBCU: A Step-by-Step Guide
No matter if you are a fresh high school graduate, from another college or an international student, the steps to creating an account with the Common Black College Application are the same.
However, the pieces of information you will have to provide vary. Still, you can apply to 62 historically black schools and pay $20 only — no application fees needed.
The good news is that creating a CBCU account is trouble-free. As a matter of fact, many students who have already created their accounts say that it took them no more than 10 minutes from start to finish.
Fret not if you consider yourself as a technically challenged individual and you wish to use the CBCU when applying to the historically black colleges on your list. Below, you will come across a quick step-by-step guide on coming up with an account with the Common Black College Application.
Without further ado, here are the simple steps to take:
Click on the Apply Now button
On the Common Black College Application’s website, there’s an Apply Now button. All you have to do is click on it to get started. Provide your first name, last name and email address.
Don’t forget to come up with a password consisting of at least eight characters that you can easily remember. You will be asked to confirm the password you just provided — make sure that they are a perfect match!
Click on the Create New Account button once you are through.
Pay the $20 fee
The Common App and Coalition App may be cost-free to use alright.
However, each time you use any of these platforms to apply to your desired school, you will have to pay $30 to $70. So, if you plan to apply to five colleges and universities via the Common App or Coalition App, you will have to spend anywhere from $150 to $350!
On the other hand, there is no such thing as an application fee with the Common Black College Application.
However, creating an account with it costs $20, which is the only amount of cash that you will have to shell out. You can pay the said registration fee via PayPal or by using a credit card or a debit card.
Provide the school counselor’s email
Before creating an account with the Common Black College Application, make sure that you get your hands on the email of your high school counselor.
That’s because the CBCA will ask you to provide it in order to allow your school counselor to upload your official transcript or SAT or ACT score if required by the HBCU you are applying to.
When you provide your school counselor’s email, the app will notify him or her to create an account, too.
After successfully creating an account with the Common Black College Application, your school counselor will be able to upload the supporting documents necessary for you to be able to start applying to historically black colleges.
Select the HBCUs of your liking
As mentioned a handful of times already, the Common Black College Application allows you to apply to 62 HBCUs. However, you are limited to sending an application to only four of them.
Under the Application Detail tab, there is a section entitled My Institutions.
This section allows you to check out the different historically black colleges in the country that accept the CBCA. By clicking on their logos, you can read some important pieces of information about them. And if you like what you see, you can bookmark or select the institution.
You may also exchange messages with a school via the My Institutions section. However, it’s a much better idea to get in touch with the HBCU using your personal email. This is especially true if you want to send supplementary materials.
Regularly check your dashboard
Your dashboard will notify you if the historically black colleges you applied to via the Common Black College Application have checked out your application or downloaded the attached supporting documents.
It’s a good idea to visit your dashboard on a regular basis to keep track of your application.
Fret not if it seems like your application isn’t progressing. That’s because you may send an email to the admissions office of the HBCU you applied to, stating that you submitted an application using the CBCA.
Besides your Common Black College Application dashboard, you should also regularly keep an eye on your email inbox. The historically black colleges you applied to will get in touch with you through the email linked to your CBCA account.
Don’t forget to check your spam folder — it’s possible for acceptance/rejection letters to end up in it!
Just Before You Apply Through the CBCA
The Common Black College Application is just like the Common App or Coalition App. However, it’s exclusive for students applying to historically black colleges.
There are thousands of colleges and universities in the US. However, not all of them accept the Common App or Coalition App. The same is true with the CBCA — not all HBCUs in the country accept it. To date, the Common Black College Application has a total of 62 member schools.
Above, we talked about the pros and cons of using the CBCA. The platform has some advantages over the Common App and Coalition App, and leading the list is that it makes applying to historically black colleges cheaper.
However, it also comes with a few disadvantages that can cause you to resort to other means of applying.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.