Here is a step-by-step guide for students on how to link Common App with Cialfo. Read through these directions and watch the video at the end that walks through this process.

  1. (Recommended) Complete student Profile

  2. 'Link Account' from the Recommendations page

  3. Important - Decide which Common App account to link

  4. Sign in to an existing account, or create a new one

  5. Fill in necessary Common App sections

  6. Verify the completion status of your FERPA release authorization

  7. Verify that your Common App account has been successfully linked

Common Questions


Recommended: Complete student Profile

In Your Profile, fill in all the required details that are marked with a red asterisk (*).

  • Date of Birth

  • Mobile Number

  • Address

  • City

  • State (applicable to U.S., Canada, and China only)

  • Postal or ZIP code

If you are unable to, contact your counselor to make these changes for you.

Step 1: 'Link Account' from the Recommendations page

If you are unable to see the 'Link Account' button, check the following:

  • Your Graduation Year should be set to 2021 or 2022

  • Application Year (under Profile - Application Details) should be set to 2021

Once you have fulfilled the above criteria, you are eligible to link a Common App account. If you have linked an account before August 2021, you will need your counselor to 'Enable Sending' before the button will appear for you.

Step 2: Important - Decide which Common App account to link

Warning: Pay close attention here

Once 'Link Account' is clicked, you will reach Common App's sign-in page.

If you have already signed up and registered for a Common App account:

Use the registered email and password to log in. Double-check that this email and password combination is for the correct Common App account you want to link. This is also especially important if you have already answered your FERPA status.

If you do not have a Common App account yet:

Click on 'create an account' to get started on your registration. Note: You do not need to register on Common App with the same email address you use to log in to Cialfo.

Step 3: Sign in to an existing account, or create a new one

If you have already signed up and registered for a Common App account:

Once you have logged in to the account you want to link to Cialfo, you will need to verify that you give permission to Cialfo to access your information. Select 'I agree' and finalize your decision by clicking 'Connect'.

If you do not have a Common App account yet:

Select 'create an account' and fill in your details to register for a new account. Once complete, select 'I agree' to give permission to Cialfo to access your information, then finalize the decision by clicking 'Connect'.

Step 4: Fill in the necessary Common App sections

The following sections need to be filled in before applications can be submitted and before a counselor can send documents for you.

  • Personal Information
    Including First and Last Name, Date of Birth, and Address.

  • Education
    Enter your current or most recent secondary or high school. Once entered, you will see the address and CEEB code of your school in this section. You must see the CEEB code in this section in order for this process to work correctly.

  • My Colleges
    Add at least one college to your 'My Colleges' list through College Search.

  • Recommenders & FERPA
    Select any college in 'My Colleges', then complete the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) release authorization process.

Step 5: Verify the completion status of your FERPA release authorization

Check for green check marks ✅ in the areas highlighted to verify that you have completed the FERPA release authorization process.

Note: Once linked, you will not be able to request recommendations from your school teachers or counselors within Common App. Those recommendations must be requested within Cialfo.

Step 6: Verify that your Common App account has been successfully linked

Return to the Recommendations page on Cialfo and verify that you can see the words 'Account Linked' highlighted in green. The status of your FERPA release authorization will also sync over every 4 hours and show here once complete.

Note: Should you need to check which account has been linked, the email and ID of the linked Common App account will also be displayed in this section.

Instructional Video


Common Questions

'Link Account' button is missing

  • Your Graduation Year should be 2021 or 2022
    Check this in the Personal Information section of Your Profile page. Contact your school counselor if you need this to be changed.

  • Your Application Year should be 2021 only
    Check this in the Application Details section of Your Profile page. Update this or contact your school counselor if you need this to be changed.

  • Your counselor needs to 'Enable Sending' for your account
    If you have linked a Common App account before August 2021, your counselor will need to click 'Enable Sending' for you on their cDocs page to confirm that you are rolling over to the current application cycle.

Wrong Common App account linked / Need to unlink Common App account

Note: This issue needs to be resolved before your school can submit any document

Recommended: Use the already linked Common App account and continue to submit applications using the linked account. If you have already submitted applications or if your counselor has already sent documents through Cialfo, this is your only option.

Alternatively, if for some reason you cannot use the already linked Common App account, AND your counselor has not sent documents through Cialfo, you may contact us through Chat with Cialfo to see if unlinking is possible by providing the following information:

  • Name of school

  • Student's Full Name

  • Common App ID of the linked account

  • Common App Email of the linked account

Note: Unlinking will require several days to process.

In the event that you choose to use a different Common App account to submit applications than what is linked in Cialfo, your school will need to send documents to your colleges and universities via mail or email (outside of Cialfo).

Mismatched High School

If you see this message, go to Common App and check your Education section. Make sure you are selecting the correct school you are from - the most accurate method is to use the CEEB code of your school.

Once updated and if the school now matches correctly, it can take up to 4 hours to sync to Cialfo, but the error will automatically disappear afterward.

Should the error persist even after 4 hours, check if you have the correct Common App account linked by cross-checking the email and ID displayed on the Recommendations page versus what you see when logged into Common App.

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