Why Students Should Apply to College with the Common App

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Ryan Palko ’14

The Common Application is an excellent method for streamlining the college admissions process. Since its inception in 1975, it has grown to encompass 517 member colleges. Member colleges join the system and allow students to apply for admission via the Common App. Outside of the Common App, the college admission process involves completing each college’s application. The issue with these applications is that they fail to transfer between schools. For example, once a student fills out the University of Wyoming’s application, it does not transfer to the University of California-Davis. But thanks to the Common App, now it does! This great invention has allowed students to only fill out a common application once and send it to other member colleges. This common application includes everything that a college’s application asks. Specifically this includes the student profile, family background, education history, testing scores, activities in high school and an essay.  Colleges that require more than just the Common App’s standard information can attach a supplement to the application. Here colleges ask extended response questions. These questions are institution specific and are used to get a better feel of the student applying. This system has many benefits for both the student and also the admissions counselors.

The Common App is effective because it allows students to apply to more than one school, saves time and is viewed equally in the admissions process. Students who are applying to more than one school really benefit from this application. Instead of the old method where students must fill out the same application 10 times for each individual college, now they save time and effort with one common application. Not only does it save time, but it also promotes students to apply to more than one college. All the work is done and students just have to click send. This helps streamline the college admissions process. Also some colleges exclusively use the Common App. Worthy to note, colleges that are members of the Common App system are not podunk schools. Top tier schools such as Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, Princeton, Harvard and Yale, to name a few, are members. Thus, students are attracted to these schools and will fill out the Common App. This benefits students because once the Common App is completed they can apply to top tier schools instantaneously. When colleges become a member of the Common App, they sign a waiver saying this application is viewed equally as their own in the admissions process.  Thus, students don’t have to fear whether they will be viewed differently by using one application over the other.  These reasons to use the Common App outweigh the negatives and are why students should apply via the Common App.

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