Applicants applying to colleges this coming fall and winter will have the all new Common Application, fourth version, at their fingertips, the result of two years and $8 million dollars spent on research and development.
Its most significant feature is that applying to college with the Common App is now an entirely online experience. No print versions of the application will be available. Today, 478 American colleges accept the Common App. Now, with so much data about colleges not even making it into print anymore, but going straight online, we are fully in the era of an essentially digital application process.
To summarize some salient features of CA4: This new version of the application can be printed for preview but cannot be downloaded. Unlimited edits are permitted, except on the essays (which allows for three versions only to be submitted, but which allows for later edits and changes) and “smart questions” can be asked while working which elicit immediate online support. There is an Arts Supplement, Slideroom.com, for students to submit video images of their work. The Athletic Supplement, however, is no more. Information about a student’s athletic accomplishments is now gathered on various parts of the application and is available to coaches if forwarded by the admissions office. An all new area, the optional Writing Supplement, collects answers to short essay questions and allows for uploading of written work done for school, research papers, creative writing, etc.
There is even an optional section for non-academic evaluations from coaches, employers, peers, etc. to complete, which specific colleges may or may not consider.
Five new essay prompts are at an enforced 250-650 word limit. Space is available for additional, optional information and there is a required section for students who have undergone disciplinary or legal matters to present an explanation. College specific essay questions will be posted on August 1.
Sarah C. Reese, Executive Director, Informed Educational Solutions
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