University of Virginia

Common app competition

A report in Inside Higher Ed gives details on a new application process of 80 leading colleges and universities which is being characterized as ‘reversing’ the trend of the Common App of similarity among college applications.

The colleges behind this effort include every Ivy League school, as well as UVa, Stanford, Michigan, and Chapel Hill. The group has certain criteria for schools to meet, including private schools that meet full financial need of students. This will limit the coalition to some of the wealthier schools with large endowments and looking over the list, it is clear that these are some of the more selective colleges in America.

The group plans to go live with their new application in the summer of 2016.  One key aspect of the plan is a free online portfolio for all high school students, starting in ninth grade. Students would include samples of their best work, activities, etc., and could share this information with colleges and others that might provide advice. Colleges could also provide feedback directly to students about their work or courses or other activities.

One goal of the system is to provide resources for high school students that do not have access to quality college counseling, where colleges can provide direct input to students. The ability for each member school to have their own unique application is an appealing feature to the colleges who want to get away from the sameness of the Common App.

We will have to see how this plays out, but one impact will be more work for students applying to multiple schools.