Tag Archives: Common Application

The ‘Common Application’ evolves

13 May

Moi wrote about the “Common Application” in Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’:
Many students are preparing to apply to college and they will be using the “Common Application” which is used by over 450 universities including some international schools. 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
Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013744243_application23.html

It has been a year of challenges for the Common Application. Kimberly Hefling, AP Education Writer reported in the article, Common Application Makes Changes After Tough Year:

“Given the year we just had, we can’t be complacent about any of this,” Eric Furda, the dean of admissions at the University of Pennsylvania, said during a media briefing. Furda is president-elect of the board of the not-for-profit Common Application membership organization.
The most common problems experienced by students were related to essay formatting, difficulty submitting an application and the inability to determine if they had paid application fees, Furda said. Higher education institutions complained about not being able to pull up documents that had been submitted.
Because of the problems, many colleges and universities extended application deadlines, and some began accepting applications from competing programs.
Furda said most of the problems were corrected by the end of 2013, but challenges persisted.
A review conducted by an outside firm determined that the technology had been rolled out without first being properly tested…http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/common-application-makes-tough-year-23658956

See, Fixing the Common App http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/11/common-application-releases-consultant-report-technical-problems#sthash.9yHgRCsc.dpbs
Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013744243_application23.html
Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Common Application’s Leaders Get an Earful http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/common-applications-leaders-get-an-earful/36589?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en
In addition to technical problems, the application is facing a law suit.

Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Has Common App Turned Admissions Into a ‘Straitjacketed Ward of Uniformity’?

Anyone in the mood for colorful renderings of the big business built around the college-admissions process should read the lawsuit filed last week against the Common Application in a federal court in Oregon. The nonprofit group behind the ever-growing online application, a competitor asserts, “has orchestrated a sea change in the student-application process, turning a once vibrant, diverse, and highly competitive market into a straitjacketed ward of uniformity.”
The complaint was brought by CollegeNet Inc., a technology company in Portland, Ore., that builds customized application-processing systems for colleges. CollegeNet argues that the Common Application, which has more than 500 member colleges, has violated federal antitrust laws.
“As colleges are increasingly compelled to join the Common Application,” the lawsuit says, it “is poised to eliminate competition in the broader market within a few short years.”
Over the last decade or so, CollegeNet has lost many customers to the Common Application, whose fee structure rewards member colleges that use its application exclusively. While reporting on the Common App’s growth last year, I talked to Jim Wolfston, CollegeNet’s chief executive, who described his concerns about his competitor….
The Common Application’s leaders have long asserted that increased applications are a side effect of membership—not the organization’s raison d’être. That question aside, the Common App has great influence over the application process at most of the nation’s high-profile colleges.
Whether or not CollegeNet’s legal arguments have merit, some passages in the complaint reflect concerns that admissions officials share. Namely, that the Common App has become too—pick your word—big, dominant, powerful within the realm of selective admissions. (Read all about that here.)
Although the Common App is the biggest fish in the pond, it’s worth noting that plenty of its member colleges use at least one other application, too. Last week, for instance, six colleges announced that they would also accept the Universal College Application, joining 12 institutions that have signed on since last fall. Following months of technical problems with the Common App, some colleges that had used it exclusively have decided not to keep all their eggs in one basket.
After a tumultuous fall, the Common Application’s leaders are doing some soul-searching. Recently, the group’s Board of Directors commissioned an independent review of the organization. One finding was that the Common App’s pricing structure “may be at odds with the mission…. http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/has-common-app-turned-admissions-into-a-straitjacketed-ward-of-uniformity/38299?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

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 wrote 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 Brochure http://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/college-prep-checklist.pdf

Federal Student Aid At A Glance http://www.emory.edu/FINANCIAL_AID/docs/Federal%20Aid%20at%20a%20Glance.pdf

Related:

The digital divide affects the college application process https://drwilda.com/2012/12/08/the-digital-divide-affects-the-college-application-process/

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That Facebook post may affect your college acceptance

11 Nov

Moi wrote in More prospective college students getting deferral letters: Many parents and students spend the junior and senior years of the child’s high school education preparing for the child’s entrance into hopefully, the college of their choice. Kristina Dell has a great article at the Daily Beast, 10 College Admission Trends http://www.zencollegelife.com/10-college-admission-trends-you-should-know/ about the difficulties students will encounter when applying to college. So, students and families applying to colleges will have to apply to more schools. College.Com has some great suggestions for a good campus tour http://www.gocollege.com/admissions/college-search/campus-tours/ For many families, the expense of a college tour is very difficult considering they are having a difficult time even affording college. Kiplinger has some good suggestions about how to keep costs in check in the article Make The Most of A Campus Tour http://www.kiplinger.com/article/college/T042-C000-S001-make-the-most-of-a-campus-tour.html Many families cannot afford the costs of going to college out of their area, so they will be considering community colleges and colleges close to their home. See, College Tour Checklist, What to Look For http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Parenting/college-tour-checklist/story?id=10119635

The College Board has a checklist for the college bound:

The Application
Narrow the List
• How Many College Applications?
• Tips for Finding Your College Match
• Student Search Service® (SSS®)
• What Selectivity Means for You
• Avoid Sending Too Many Applications
Get Organized
• College Application Calendar
• College Application Checklist
• Create a College List
• Your Counselor and the Application Process
Application Elements
• What to Include in Your College Application
• Is Part of Your College Application Really Missing? New!
• Preparing for Admission Tests
• Letters of Recommendation
• The College Interview
• Interview Checklist
• Practice Interviews
Admission Tips
• Early Decision and Early Action
• College Application FAQs
• Home-Schooled Students and College Admission
• What to Do About Senioritis
• College Application Fee Waivers
https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/applying-101/college-application-checklist

Parents and students can meet all the deadlines, complete all the forms, and provide all the supporting documentation required and still not be admitted to the college of their choice. Increasingly, students are being put on deferral lists. Add another item to the checklist, making sure your online reputation is appropriate.

Natasha Singer wrote in the New York Times article, In College Admissions, Social Media Can Be a Double-Edged Sword:

When I wrote my Technophoria column this weekend about how some college admissions officers have occasionally identified social media posts that negatively affected applicants’ chances of acceptance, I assumed the phenomenon would not come as news to the parents of high school students.
After all, I came up with the idea for the piece after learning from a friend that her child, a high school senior who is applying for early admission to college this week, had recently taken a pseudonym on Facebook — a common phenomenon at certain schools.
In fact, the column pointed out that colleges don’t vet applicants’ personal social networking pages as a routine practice; the admissions officials I interviewed said they typically scrutinized social media only if outside sources alerted them to extreme posts like hate speech.
But, on Facebook and Twitter, scores of principals, guidance counselors, teachers and parents took the piece as an opportunity to caution teenagers who bare and publicly share their heartstrings.
Or as an opportunity to educate their parents:
Certainly, the idea of admissions officers randomly vetting the online remarks of a few high school students raises legitimate concerns: colleges could arbitrarily discover seemingly troubled comments by a handful of applicants and deny them admission — without telling them why.
That notion sparked a conversation about what adults, and teenagers, may take for granted as being private or restricted.
Rather than restrict their online engagement during the admissions process, however, some students are beefing up their social media activities in an effort to distinguish themselves in an ocean of college hopefuls.
Take Bernie Zak, who last spring was placed on a wait list for acceptance by the University of California, Los Angeles, his top choice.
After he learned he was on the waiting list, Mr. Zak promptly overhauled his Twitter account, deleting any “moderately risqué Tweets or curses,” he told me last week. Then he started an online campaign publicly touting his virtues, often self-deprecatory, with the hashtag #AcceptBernieUCLA.
“I wanted to get the university’s attention,” Mr. Zak told me. “I was just another name, just another number. I wanted to be unique.”
Did Mr. Zak’s Twitter campaign succeed?
Last week, I emailed U.C.L.A. asking for general information about whether admissions officers there vetted applicants’ use of social media.
In an email, Gary A. Clark Jr., the school’s director of undergraduate admission, replied: “We neither seek nor utilize information related to an applicant’s social media use (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in the process of evaluating applications for admission to U.C.L.A.”
That said, Mr. Zak is now partway through his first semester at U.C.L.A. He is a majoring in economics and political science.
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/11/11/in-college-admissions-social-media-can-be-a-double-edged-sword/?ref=education&_r=0

Most people pay little attention to their online reputation.

Moi wrote in Scrubbing your online reputation: Yes, words can hurt: Back in the day, folks had to worry about their reputation in their local community. With the advent of social media, the community is now global and folks have to worry about their global reputation.
Because a person’s reputation is key to future opportunities of all types, a new business of helping people rid themselves of unwanted online information is developing. Lini S. Kadaba of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote in the article, Online Reputation Can Make or Break Opportunities http://seattletimes.com/html/living/2013502244_webweb29.html

Scholarships.com offers advice in the article Social Networking Sites and College Admissions: How to Stand Out from the Competition in a Good Way:

Think before you tweet or post. Mark Zuckerberg himself learned that what you post online lives on forever and probably wishes he thought a little more about some of the information he uploaded. The negative can come back to bite you, as can something you thought was funny at the time (if you saw “The Social Network,” you know it’s not advisable to drink and blog); other people are going to see what you publish so if you have even an inkling that what you’re about to post will make you look bad, don’t share it.
Adjust your privacy settings. Tweaking what others can see is easy with customizable privacy settings, which are available on both sites. On Twitter, you can choose to protect your tweets (meaning anyone who wants to access your 140-character musings will need your approval first) while Facebook allows its users to adjust their settings on a friend-by-friend basis. It’s a feature many students overlook in the short run but its long-term value is immeasurable.
Be more than a blip on the radar. Want your intended school to know you’re serious about wanting to attend? Show them not just by “liking” them on Facebook and following their Twitter feeds but by commenting on their posts with insight of your own. Tagging or @replying the school will ensure your response will be seen but if you prefer to just observe, incorporate the topics that appear with the highest frequency or elicit the most feedback into your application essays or interviews. This extra step won’t go unnoticed and could give you an advantage over another applicant.
http://www.scholarships.com/resources/college-prep/applying/social-networking-sites-and-college-admissions-how-to-stand-out-from-the-competition-in-a-good-way/

To quote Clint Eastwood in “Heartbreak Ridge,” “Shut your face, hippy.”

“How would your life be different if…You walked away from gossip and verbal defamation? Let today be the day…You speak only the good you know of other people and encourage others to do the same.”
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

“Gossip is just a tool to distract people who have nothing better to do from feeling jealous of those few of us still remaining with noble hearts.”
Anna Godbersen, Splendor

“Rumor travels faster, but it don’t stay put as long as truth. ”
Will Rogers

“Allow enemies their space to hate; they will destroy themselves in the process.”
Lisa Du

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Many charters adopting common application process

30 Sep

Moi wrote in Study: Charters forcing public schools to compete and improve: Education tends to be populated by idealists and dreamers who are true believers and who think of what is possible. Otherwise, why would one look at children in second grade and think one of those children could win the Nobel Prize or be president? Maybe, that is why education as a discipline is so prone to fads and the constant quest for the “Holy Grail” or the next, next magic bullet. There is no one answer, there is what works for a particular population of kids. Geoffrey Canada is an exceptional educator and he has stuck his neck out there. He was profiled in “Waiting for Superman.”

The words of truth are always paradoxical.
Lao Tzu

Sharon Otterman reported in New York Times about some of the challenges faced by Mr. Canada’s schools, The Harlem Children’s Zone.
In Lauded Harlem Schools Have Their Own Problems Otterman reported:

Criticism WILL occur if you are doing something that is not inline with others’ expectations. It IS going to cost to educate children out of the cycle of poverty. Still, that means that society should not make the attempt.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/13/education/13harlem.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

There is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is only what works to produce academic achievement in each population of children. That is why school choice is so important.
https://drwilda.com/2013/08/13/study-charters-forcing-public-schools-to-compete-and-improve/

Kate Ash reported in the Education Week article, Charters Adopt Common Application Systems:

To combat the confusion and make applying to charters easier and more transparent, a small but growing number of school districts, as well as charter school organizations, have rolled out new programs such as universal enrollment systems and common applications to centralize and streamline the process.
Among those efforts:
• Denver launched a centralized enrollment system called SchoolChoice in 2010 for all district-run and charter schools in the 85,000-student system.
• In New Orleans, the Louisiana Recovery School District, in partnership with the Orleans Parish School Board, debuted a universal enrollment system called OneApp for charter and district-run schools in February 2012 and is now entering its third year of a unified lottery system serving the city’s 44,000 students.
• The Newark and District of Columbia school systems are making plans to implement universal enrollment systems for their district-run and charter schools for the 2014-15 school year.
“The promise of a marketplace of schools is also a promise that kids and parents can navigate that marketplace,” said Armen Hratchian, the vice president for K12 schools at Excellent Schools Detroit, a coalition of education organizations and philanthropies aiming to improve education for all students in that city, where educators are also having conversations about a shift toward more centralization. “[Right now], there’s no single place, time, or process for parents and kids to select and enroll in schools, so we’re not really maximizing choice.”
How It Works
In a universal enrollment system, there is one application, timeline, and lottery for all the schools that participate, including both district-run and charter schools. Parents rank their schools in order of preference, then an algorithm, which takes into account certain preferences (such as geographic location or where siblings attend school), generates one single, best offer for each student.
Such a system makes it much easier for parents and students to understand their options, said Gabriela Fighetti, the executive director of enrollment for the Louisiana Recovery School District, and makes it easier for schools to plan for their upcoming school year.
Before OneApp, parents had to keep track of dozens of applications and deadlines, and “at the end of that process, you could’ve gotten into more than one school, or you could’ve gotten into no schools,” said Ms. Fighetti.
That caused an enormous amount of churn in the beginning of the school year as students scrambled to figure out which school they wanted to attend, making it hard for schools to know exactly how many students they would end up with.
Overall, said Ms. Fighetti, “you can give many more families a better offer if no family is holding multiple seats.”
Getting Charter Buy-In
But convincing charter schools, which are public schools that are generally granted greater autonomy and flexibility than typical district-run schools, to join in a centralized process of enrollment isn’t an easy task.
None of the cities that are currently using a universal enrollment system—with the exception of Denver—have 100 percent participation from all the charters in their districts…
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2013/09/25/05charter_ep.h33.html?tkn=PWNFOXowk4lOudM53dHN%2FmHTjn8UyypxxFD2&cmp=clp-edweek

The best example of a common application process is the “Common College Application.”

Montgomery Education Consulting discussed the pros and cons of the “Common College Application” in Common Application: Panacea or Pandora?

Mr. Hoover makes a number of important points that help to illustrate that the Common App is, well, not all that Common. Further, its penetration of the admissions market has become both a blessing and a curse.
• Because the Common Application makes it easier to apply to more and more colleges, kids are applying to more and more colleges without regard to fit. Students can easily apply to schools they know little about–and have little intention of attending.
• More applications makes all admissions pools more competitive. This is great for colleges that want to appear more competitive to move up in the various rankings. But why should a kid who is dying to be admitted to a particular college be competing with kids who are not all that interested? How does a college really know if the kid is interested? (Answer: they do this by taking into account “demonstrated interest,” but this phenomenon makes the admissions process more complicated for the college side, not less).
• More kids applying to more colleges creates more perceived competition, which feeds the cycle of stress and manic striving that now characterizes the college admissions process. If kids had to sit down and write out each application by hand, they might be more judicious in their selections, and the stress levels might decrease.
• The Common App has made it somewhat easier for kids from underrepresented minorities and first generation homes that can easily apply to the higher echelons of American higher education. But it’s hard to say that the Common App is the cause of this increase, or simply a by-product of other forces that are enabling more kids to apply.
A “common” application does not mean a “standardized” application. Many, many Common Application member institutions require supplements to their application. These can be very simple ones to complete (indeed, many colleges stupidly require kids to answer questions already addressed in the main portions of the Common App). Or they can be those quirky essays from the University of Chicago (“Find x”) or Wake Forest University (“What outrages you?”). Managing all the supplements and other moving parts of the so-called Common Application is an organizational nightmare, especially if kids want to provide any customization of the Common Application for particular schools.
There is much to be said for a return to a more old-fashioned, paper-based system of college applications. Many of us long for those good old days of typewriters, white-out, staplers, paper clips, and collating papers, when the just the feel of 25-pound bond would make a student feel grown up, and – WHAT am I saying? We love to complain about the Common Application, but there ain’t no going back to carbon paper, folks…! http://greatcollegeadvice.com/common-application-panacea-or-pandora/

Moi supports neighborhood schools which cater to the needs of the children and families in that neighborhood. A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education. It is for this reason that moi supports charter schools which are regulated by strong charter school legislation with accountability. Accountability means different things to different people. In 2005 Sheila A. Arens wrote Examining the Meaning of Accountability: Reframing the Construct for Mid-Continent Research for Education and Learning which emphasizes the involvement of parents and community members. One of the goals of the charter movement is to involve parents and communities.
http://www.edreform.com/issues/choice-charter-schools/
http://www.mcrel.org/PDF/AssessmentAccountabilityDataUse/4002IR_Examining_Accountability.pdf

Resources:

Why Charter Schools
o Debunking charter school myths
http://www.publiccharters.org/About-Charter-Schools/Frequently-Asked-Questions.aspx

o How charter schools perform
http://www.publiccharters.org/About-Charter-Schools/How-Charters-Perform.aspx

o Why we need charter schools
http://www.publiccharters.org/About-Charter-Schools/Why-charter-schools003F.aspx

o Find a charter school
http://dashboard.publiccharters.org/dashboard/select/year/2010

o Charter school data
http://dashboard.publiccharters.org/dashboard/home

o A look at great charter schools
http://www.publiccharters.org/additional-pages/great-charter-schools.aspx

Related:

Brookings report: What failing public schools can learn from charters?
https://drwilda.com/2012/11/10/brookings-report-what-failing-public-schools-can-learn-from-charters/

Good or bad? Charter schools and segregation
https://drwilda.com/2012/02/23/good-or-bad-charter-schools-and-segregation/

Focus on charter schools: There must be accountability
https://drwilda.com/2011/12/24/focus-on-charter-schools-there-must-be-accountability/

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http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/
Dr. Wilda ©
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The ‘Common College Application’ has issues

25 Sep

Moi wrote about the “Common Application” in Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’: Many students are preparing to apply to college and they will be using 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)

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 ourDownload 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

Jacques Steinberg reported about problems with the “Common Application” in 2010. http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2013744243_application23.html

Eric Hoover reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Common Application’s Leaders Get an Earful:

For weeks, technical difficulties have prevented many institutions from processing the applications they have received through the Common Application. Further delays, some deans said, would keep their staffs from getting decisions back to applicants on time.
Some background: An overhauled Common Application, years in the making, went live on August 1. The new platform, built to handle an ever-increasing volume of applications from around the world, included various enhancements, many of which college counselors and admissions officers liked. Within the first 20 minutes, 1,000 students in a dozen countries had registered, and within six weeks, nearly 600,000 students had created profiles.
While applicants were typing away, however, an array of problems emerged. In short, some components of the new Common Application didn’t get up and running all at once. As of late August, some institutions, including the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, still did not have live supplements, which include additional questions and essay prompts. Without completing those supplements, an applicant can’t submit an application to a given college.
At Thursday’s session, admissions officers described another problem: The inability to import all the data they receive via the Common Application into their own information systems, so they can start reviewing applications. ”They’re coming in,” said one dean, “but we can’t get to them.” Another dean said his technology staff had offered a diagnosis: “It was a botched implementation.”
My understanding of the complex issue: The construction of the massive new platform got behind schedule, colleges had little or no time to test it before applications started rolling in, and larger-than-anticipated problems arose when colleges tried to get the Common Application’s system to “talk” to their own student-information templates. Solutions to those problems are still being hammered out….
Clark Brigger, senior associate director for undergraduate admissions at Michigan, used a vehicular metaphor. The new Common Application “purported to have a great engine, it looked good on the outside,” he said. “It rolled off the assembly line without the wheels, and didn’t even have the axles to put the wheels on.”
If nothing else, this saga reveals just how much colleges have come to depend on those wheels….http://chronicle.com/blogs/headcount/common-applications-leaders-get-an-earful/36589?cid=pm&utm_source=pm&utm_medium=en

Nancy Greisemer posts College Explorations great information about the “Common Application.”

In 5 things you should know about the new Common Application, Greisemer advises:

In the meantime, here are five things you might want to know about the new Common Application:

1. Registration
Before you begin the Common Application, you need to register. This isn’t complicated, but you will need to come up with a password that is between 8 and 16 characters, has at least one upper and one lower case alphabetic character, and at least one numeric (1,2,3, etc.) and one non-alpha-numeric (*, &, $, etc.) character. And you need to make sure you provide a working email address—preferably one you check regularly. This is also where you provide permission for the Common App to give your contact information to colleges. If you agree to the information-sharing, expect to receive mail from colleges on your list. Hint: This can be a form of “demonstrated interest.”

2. College Pages and Writing Supplements
According to the Common App, the launch of the new application revealed a “complex technical issue that did not appear in testing.” The problem prompted the technical staff to temporarily suspend the college pages (submitted with the application) and writing supplements (submitted separately). Although the issue has been resolved, these elements of the application are slowly being added and not all colleges have complete applications online (as of this writing). To help applicants sort through this issue, the CA Help Center now includes a list of colleges ready to accept complete applications and writing supplements. Bottom line: Be patient.

3. Testing
A couple of new and unexpected questions have appeared relative to standardized testing. If you decide to report SAT and/or ACT scores on the Common Application, you will need to tell how many times you took each test. This twist, which appears to run counter to what’s allowed under Score Choice, may make many students decide to not self-report scores—an optional part of the application. Note that whether you choose to fill out this section of the application or not, you will still need to have an official score report sent from a testing agency—the ACT or the College Board. Also be aware that the question about “leaving examinations” is meant only for international applicants. Skip it if it does not pertain.

4. Recommendations
The new Common App recommender system will eventually offer counselors, teachers and others a tool for tracking students and submitting school forms online. Students are now able to invite recommenders and those recommenders will be able to log in, view students, and complete a profile. Completion and submission of individual school forms, however, will be temporarily delayed and will roll out on August 19—or thereabouts. Bottom line: This really isn’t your problem and will sort itself out soon.

5. Print Preview
The new Common Application forces applicants to complete an application and begin the submission process before being offered the opportunity to Print Preview their work. Don’t let this hang you up. And don’t be confused by what appears in text boxes or on the “working version” of your application. Simply work through an application, paste in your personal statement and additional information (if appropriate), answer college-specific questions, and invite recommenders. Then begin the submission process. A .pdf will appear which you can save and/or print out. Continue to the next step and accept the offer to return to your dashboard. You may then edit your application. Note that once an application has actually been submitted you will have two opportunities to change your essay—only up to three separate versions are allowed by the new Common Application.

The Common App is using Facebook and Twitter, in addition to the Help Center and a growing Knowledgebase to answer questions and keep applicants, their families and advisors up-to-date on changes, revisions, and improvements to the application. Feel free to direct your questions to the Help Center, as it helps inform the technical staff of issues the average user encounters while completing the application.
And you may find your particular problem is easily resolved. http://collegeexplorations.blogspot.com/2013/08/5-things-you-should-know-about-new.html

You must check your work before submitting your application and if you have questions, contact the Help Center.

Resources:

College Preparation Checklist Brochure
http://studentaid.ed.gov/sites/default/files/college-prep-checklist.pdf

Federal Student Aid At A Glance
http://www.emory.edu/FINANCIAL_AID/docs/Federal%20Aid%20at%20a%20Glance.pdf

Related:

The digital divide affects the college application process
https://drwilda.com/2012/12/08/the-digital-divide-affects-the-college-application-process/

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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

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