Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’

15 May

Many students are preparing to apply to college and they will be using the the “Common Application” which is used by over 450 universities including some international schools. According to the “Common Application” site:

GENERAL QUESTIONS

WHAT IS THE COMMON APPLICATION?
The Common Application is a not-for-profit organization that serves students and member institutions by providing an admission application – online and in print – that students may submit to any of our 456 members.

The Common App Online Demo for Students (Flash Movi

WHY USE IT?
Once completed online or in print, copies of the Application for Undergraduate Admission can be sent to any number of participating colleges. The same is true of the School Report, Optional Report, Midyear Report, Final Report and Teacher Evaluation forms. This allows you to spend less time on the busywork of applying for admission, and more time on what’s really important: college research, visits, essay writing, and senior year coursework.

IS IT WIDELY USED?
Absolutely! Millions of Common Applications are printed and accepted by our members each year. In addition, last year almost 2.5 million applications were submitted via the Common App Online.

IS IT TREATED FAIRLY?
YES! Our college and university members have worked together over the past 35 years to develop the application. All members fully support its use, and all give equal consideration to the Common Application and the college’s own form. Many of our members use the Common Application as their only undergraduate admission application.

CAN ALL COLLEGES PARTICIPATE?
Membership is limited to colleges and universities that evaluate students using a holistic selection process. A holistic process includes subjective as well as objective criteria, including at least one recommendation form, at least one untimed essay, and broader campus diversity considerations. The vast majority of colleges and universities in the US use only objective criteria – grades and test scores – and therefore are not eligible to join. If a college or university is not listed on this website, they are not members of the consortium. Sending the Common Application to non-members is prohibited.

WHAT IS THE COMMON APP ONLINE SCHOOL FORMS SYSTEM?
As part of the application process, schools require a variety of information to be provided by teachers and guidance counselors who have interacted with you in the high school environment. Until last year, those forms were only available as PDF files that could be printed, copied, and mailed to the appropriate colleges. Now each teacher and counselor will have the option to complete the forms online via the Common App Online School Forms system if they desire. There is no cost to you or high schools, and using the online system is completely optional for your teachers and counselor.

When you create an account on the Common App Online, you must first indicate what high school you attend. Once this information has been saved, you can access a ‘School Forms’ section of the Common App where teachers and counselors can be identified. By adding a teacher or counselor to the list of school officials, an email is triggered to the teacher or counselor with information about how to log into the Online School Forms system or how to opt for the “offline” or paper process. You are then able to track the progress of your various teachers and counselors via a screen within the Common App Online.

The Common App Online School Forms System Demo (Flash Movie) Camera

WHAT IF I’M A TRANSFER STUDENT?
There’s a Common Application for Transfer Admission as well as First-Year Admission. The Transfer Application is available primarily for online submission; however, the form can be downloaded in PDF format from our Download Forms page.

https://www.commonapp.org/CommonApp/FAQ.aspx

In addition to U.S. colleges, colleges in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland use the “Common Application.” For a good synopsis of the pros and cons of using the application, go to Should I Use The Common Application? http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/college-admissions-experts/2011/09/07/should-i-use-the-common-application

Valerie Strauss writes in the Washington Post article:

When the Common Application was developed in 1975, officials hoped it would reduce the number of separate applications and essays a student applying to numerous colleges would have to complete. Actually, many colleges still require additional information, including more essays. So students, beware: There’s a lot of work to do.

So what are the undergraduate application essays? They are pretty much the same as last year, and the year before. Here are the instructions:

Please write an essay of 250-500 words on a topic of your choice or on one of the options listed below, and attach it to your application before submission. Please indicate your topic by checking the appropriate box. This personal essay helps us become acquainted with you as a person and student, apart from courses, grades, test scores, and other objective data. It will also demonstrate your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself. NOTE: Your Common Application essay should be the same for all colleges. Do not customize it in any way for individual colleges. Colleges that want customized essay responses will ask for them on a supplement form.

* Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

* Discuss some issue of personal, local, national, or international concern and its importance to you.

* Indicate a person who has had a significant influence on you, and describe that influence.

* Describe a character in fiction, a historical figure, or a creative work (as in art, music or science, etc.) that has had an influence on you, and explain that influence.

* A range of academic interests, personal perspectives, and life experiences adds much to the educational mix. Given your personal background, describe an experience that illustrates what you would bring to the diversity in a college community or an encounter that demonstrated the importance of diversity to you.

* Topic of your choice.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/2012-13-common-application-previews-available/2012/05/15/gIQAnQ79PU_blog.html

Applying to a college is just the first step. Students and families also have to consider the cost of particular college options.

Beckie Supiano and Elyse Ashburn have written the article, With New Lists, Federal Government Moves to Help Consumers and Prod Colleges to Limit Price Increases in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the Department of Education’s new site about college costs.

Resources:

College Preparation Checklist

College Preparation Checklist Brochure

Federal Student Aid At A Glance 2011 – 2012

Funding Education Beyond High School

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

One Response to “Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’”

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  1. The digital divide affects the college application process « drwilda - December 8, 2012

    […] Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’                    https://drwilda.com/2012/05/15/many-u-s-colleges-use-the-common-application/ […]

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