By the time you have arranged for the parts of your file which must be produced by others (transcripts and recs) and have completed all your supplementary documents, you should have begun researching schools and deciding where you'll apply. Now you think you're ready to complete applications.
Uh-uh. First you have to find and complete the Common Information Form.
The Common Info link is under "Apply" on the blue top bar, then in the first of the three columns in the white central portion.
Another way to get to it is by opening the link for any application. Above the "Primary Application" link is the Common Info link. The two different links go to exactly the same place.
So It's All Online!
"So I just have to fill in the data once? That sounds easy!" NO. This doesn't negate the need to enter data carefully. In fact, it makes it more important.
The form above divides jobs in to categories that may not fit your life. For instance, Full-time summer and Part-time school may be the same job. What do you do? List it in both places? How? That depends on your exact circumstances, so I can't give a generic answer except, "whatever gives the clearest picture of your life."
Often the common info form will fail to fill in something on an application. For instance, on this sample from Fordham's application:
So the Common Info Form makes it easier to enter data, but it also makes it easier to make mistakes.
Once you've completed the common Info form and proofread it at least twice, you can go on to looking at an actual application.