As hard as it is for me to grasp, there are admission professionals in the hallowed halls of highly selective colleges who think that high school students actually need another unified application system besides the CommonApp.
Admittedly, CommonApp opened itself to this initiative with poorly-timed technological problems which left students and colleges scrambling. In any case, in September a group of 8o colleges — including eight of the Ivy League and a number of highly selective institutions (colleges with a 6 year graduation rate of at least 70%)— announced that they would create a website with critical information about preparing for top colleges for younger high school students without access to knowledgeable guidance counselors. The website will also offer its own application process.
The colleges involved are keenly concerned about the talented underserved college-bound population who continue to fall through the cracks, a loss to all of us. While virtually all US colleges are diversified, the most competitive institutions find, as stated by David Leonhart in the New York Times, “For every student from the entire bottom half of the nation’s income distribution at Dartmouth, Penn, Yale and Princeton and more than a few other colleges, there appear to be roughly two students from the top 5% [family income bracket].”
The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success seeks to address this concern with a website that answers students questions early, and a virtual “locker” where students can store graded papers, creative writing, awards, etc that are useful to the admissions process. As well, the website would offer an application portal for applicants to those colleges, and allow for those colleges to tailor their applications more to their needs than the CommonApp supplement questions do.
As an educational consultant working with students who typically apply to colleges in a range from those most selective to those less so, I see the potential of a very confusing set of options for these clients. Will it matter to the Coalition colleges if students apply to these institutions on the CommonApp? Should students apply to some colleges on the Coalition app and others on the CommonApp?
And, if the Coalition website will be truly useful, must we have yet another application program to go with it?
Sarah C. Reese-Informed Educational Solutions-November 27, 2015