Frequently Asked Questions
What exactly is inline®?

Inline® is an in-browser software tool that launches automatically when you open the Common Application®. It helps you complete the Common App®, and helps with the questions and essays for the 650+ colleges that use the Common App®, including expert recommendations such as what extracurriculars and test scores to report. 

Inline® also offers support for supplemental, college-specific essays, including our “Inline® INTEL,” which analyzes sample essays and provides an inside view on how those essays would be evaluated by a college admissions officer.

Which Version Do You Need?

Start with our Standard version — it's FREE! All colleges using the Common App® will require at least those sections that are covered in the Standard version. That might be all you need, in which case you won't have to upgrade at all. Some colleges require additional sections (like essays and college supplements), and if you want help with those, you can always upgrade from within the Standard version. You can wait to see if you even need those extras before upgrading.

If you already know you'll want more than the Standard version, you can purchase the Plus, Pro, or Ultimate version from the beginning.

What is the Common Application®?

For those of you who remember college applications only on paper: students today typically submit their college applications online, and most selective colleges in the United States use an online platform called the Common Application® to streamline the process.

inline® is not affiliated with the Common Application®; we just try to make it easier to use.

What problem does inline® solve?

The college application process has grown increasingly competitive. While students often can avail themselves of many support services as they apply to schools — counselors, tutoring and test prep services, private college consultants — most of these services are not available on demand, and some of them get very expensive.

There are also very few services that support the most important part of the admissions process: the application itself. Inline® was created to provide help when it is most needed: online, in real time, while the application is being completed. 

Additionally, because it can be accessed digitally, inline® is available to students who might not have access to traditional college counseling resources.

Where did the idea for inline® come from?

Anna Ivey and Alison Cooper Chisolm, both former admissions officers at top U.S. universities, have for many years been working privately with applicants and their families who are navigating the U.S. admissions process, and the Common App in particular. They noticed two big problems:

  1. Applicants get stuck with some of the same things over and over again when they're working on their applications.
  2. Applicants sometimes don't know what they don't know. They treat the application as "just a form,” and so they don't leverage (or know how to leverage) the form strategically to increase their chances of getting into their preferred colleges.

Inline® is a tool to help level the playing field in college admissions by offering real-time college application help that is much more affordable than hiring a ​private consultant, and that meets applicants where they are: online, struggling with a sometimes tricky application form​, and needing help with it in the moment. ​

How does inline® work? What do I need to have in order to use it?

inline® is a software extension that works with Google Chrome®. Once you download it, it launches automatically when you open the Common App® and is constantly active to support you while you complete the application — hence the name inline®.

In order to use it, you'll need:

  1. a computer with internet access
  2. the Chrome® browser, which, if you don't already have it, is downloadable for free
  3. your own Common Application® account at

​The Common Application® is currently not enabled or optimized for mobile use, ​so at this time you should still plan on working on your college applications on desktop or laptop, and one that has a real keyboard. (That helps with essay writing, too, which you wouldn't want to do on your phone. Trust us.)

How do I install and use inline®?

Inline® works with the Chrome® browser and is simple to install. (It is technically a “browser extension.”) Just click to purchase. It takes one click to install the extension, which will launch the very next time you open the Common App®. You do need to have a Common App® account to use inline®. Once you’re logged into your Common App® account, inline® tips and advice will appear, like magic. To check that it’s working, the first thing you should see after logging in is this:

​Wait, what's a browser extension?

A browser extension is simply a piece of software that extends the functionality of your browser in some way. Once you follow the procedure for installing an extension, it will launch automatically in the appropriate environment - in this case, when you open the Common App® using Google Chrome®.

I'm having trouble installing inline® while I'm on my computer at school. Help.

Many high schools have "firewalls" built into their internet networks that automatically block you from accessing or downloading anything but a few applications and sites that have been pre-approved by your school. (In general that's a good thing, because it keeps out the creepers and the bad guys.)

You might have to talk to your college counselor about having your school's IT administrator or IT department to "whitelist" and from the firewall (i.e. make an exception to the firewall) so that you can access inline® and use it while you're on your school's internet network.

When is the right time to create a Common App account and download inline®?

Anytime after January 1 of your junior year is a good time to create your Common App® account and buy inline®. Your license is good for an entire admissions cycle, so you can use the time between January 1 and August 1 (when the Common App®  officially “opens” for the admissions year) to get a head start on the process.

Do you update inline®? If so, how do I get the updates?

We do update inline®, all the time! Once you have installed the extension in your Chrome® browser, you don’t have to do anything else to get inline® updates — you’ll always have the latest, greatest version appearing in your browser when you log into your Common App®.

Can I make inline® go away when I’m done with my applications?

You can deactivate or delete inline® at any time. In Chrome® just navigate to chrome://extensions and either disable or delete the extension.

Where do I go for help if I have a problem using inline®?

Please visit our online help desk. If you can’t find an answer to your question in the FAQ, please contact us at

​We are also in friendly contact with the good people who run support over at the Common App®. We keep each other in the loop about which problems are on the inline® side, and which problems are on the Common App® side.

Please don't be offended if we tell you that the problem you’re experiencing is actually a Common App® problem (and needs to be solved through them), or if the Common App® people tell you it's an inline® problem (in which case you’ll come over to us). ​

How do I know if inline® is right for me?

If you want to ace your college applications and get the inside scoop from experienced college admissions officers who have been up to their elbows in all the glory and all the quirks of the Common App® for years, then inline® is right for you.

​I'm a grandparent / parent / concerned friend. Can I gift inline® to an applicant?

Yes, it is possible to gift inline® to an applicant. Just select the gift option in the checkout process.

I'm a high school guidance counselor. Can we buy inline® for our school?

Yes, we have special pricing for schools.Simply contact us here.

I represent a school district. Can we buy inline® for our district?

Yes, we have special pricing for school districts. Simply contact us here.

I'm an independent college counselor. Can I buy or resell inline® for the students I work with?

Yes, we’d love to work with you, and offer discounts for college counselors.  Simply visit this page for pricing and more information.