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Signature and Affirmations common app

Signature and Affirmations common app

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The signature and affirmations sections of your Common App profile are often overlooked by students rushing to complete their applications. However, taking the time to carefully craft these short personal touches could be the difference between an admissions decision. In this in-depth guide, I’ll share everything you need to know to leverage your signature and affirmations strategically.

What are Signatures and Affirmations?

Let’s start with the basics. Your signature is a short personalized blurb of up to 250 characters that will appear at the bottom of every page in your application. Affirmations are 5 slots of 50 characters each to write short positive phrases about yourself, your goals or values. Both serve to showcase your unique personality beyond transcripts and test scores.

Crafting the Perfect Signature

When writing your signature, think about the overall impression you want to leave. Keep it upbeat, authentic yet professional. You can use it to summarize why you’d be a great fit, highlight relevant qualities or interests, or convey a memorable message to the reviewer. Try writing 5-10 draft signatures on paper first before selecting the best one. Have trusted friends proofread it as well to ensure it comes across as intended. Remember – simplicity and positivity are key here.

Mastering Meaningful Affirmations

Your affirmations provide a snapshot into what inspires and motivates you most. Brainstorm 10-15 potential short phrases before whittling them down to the top 5 that feel truest to who you are. Weave in values, talents, goals or qualities that would contribute unique strengths to their campus culture. You can also reference experiences, identities or causes that shape your perspective. Admissions officers will appreciate the layered insight these micro statements provide into your character.

Optimizing for Impact

Now that you have draft versions, it’s time to test and refine them. Copy your signature and affirmations into a practice Common App profile and have friends or advisors review the overall impression. Does it capture your authentic essence? Make any needed tweaks based on feedback. You can also A/B test different combinations to see which flows best or elicits the strongest reactions. Remember that perfect grammar, spelling and formatting are essential for the finished product.

Leveraging Locations Strategically

Did you know signature and affirmations are visible on every page of your application? Use this to your advantage when tailoring them for certain colleges. For example, include specific program names or areas of study you’re excited about at their school. Reference extracurricular passions, activities or qualities directly relevant to their mission and culture. Admissions officers will appreciate these micro-targeted touches that show deep fit and interest.

Managing Expectations

While personalized, your signature and affirmations alone won’t make or break your application. However, taking the time to craft thoughtful, optimized versions aligned to each college can absolutely boost your chances versus a generic profile. The key is to let your true personality shine through authentically without coming across as trying too hard. With strategic usage of these underutilized sections, you set yourself up for success in the application review process.


I hope these tips provide you with a comprehensive playbook for maximizing the impact of your signature and affirmations on the Common App. Please let me know if you need any additional help crafting or refining yours to stand out from the crowd this application season! I’d be happy to review examples and provide feedback.

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