Application Season has just arrived for seniors. The Common Application has gone live on August 1, which leads many to believe this is the launch of ‘College Application Season’. This year, there are several options for applications; colleges’ own application, The Common Application, The Universal Application and the latest application to come on the scene – The Coalition Application.
Generally speaking, The Common Application is the ‘go to’ application with over 700 universities using the application as either an option or some universities do use this as their exclusive application. The Common Application has improved quite a bit with a search engine for students and parents (though, this is a good start for research, but not the last stop on the research path), and videos on tips on how to launch the application process. I recommend that parents and students navigate the website together, as it may make the process easier when it comes to filling out the application, particularly the fine details when it comes to filling the demographic information. However, the bottom line, the application process belongs to the student, and once initial perusal process is complete, the student should be mostly in control.
Parents should remember that even if they have past experience with The Common Application that things change from year to year, upgrades are made and it is worth a review and more than a perusal.
Here are a few new things that will be implemented this year:
- Google Drive Integration for essays
- Courses and Grades to entering course work and grades
- Spanish Language Resources
- Advisor and Recommender Enhancements
For more detail, view The Common Application Webinar. Read the blog, and click on ‘watch’ for more details
If your student’s school has a workshop (or any workshop pertaining to the college application process for that matter) regarding The Common application, by all means attend it, even if you have an Independent Educational Consultant guiding you through the process
The Universal College Application
This is a smaller option for college applications and is a simpler option for students. The list of colleges is listed on the application’s website and it is rather short and varied. The application on a whole is simpler to navigate, and has its place in the world of college applications. The website is straightforward, easy to navigate and is a ‘no frills’ website. There are 34 universities using The Universal College Application. Like The Common Application, The Universal College Application has a centralized application with demographic information, extracurricular, grades, and essays as well. From what I understand, customer service is a bit quicker to respond. Fewer schools are on this application. With that said, because there are fewer schools on this application, it probably means that students will be filling out The Common Application for other schools.
The Coalition for Access and Affordability and Success
This application is ‘the new kid in town’. This application was formed to help students with the daunting college application process. The motivation behind it took place several years ago when there was a massive technological glitch with The Common Application causing problems for admissions, students and counselors. It was felt that perhaps there should be more online options for the college application process.
If a student is applying to a Coalition school (90 schools and counting), the student creates an account, enters their information, answers prompts and submits. Like The Common Application, each school may have their own supplemental essays. Here is what makes the Coalition essay different-there is a ‘Locker’ and Collaboration space assisting students with organization management. This ‘locker’ is private and no one sees it but the student unless the student gives permission. What is in this locker? Documents like artwork, assignments that students find outstanding, videos… in other words, a portfolio of works a student may take pride in. Saving of this work can begin in Grade 9.
Some Coalition colleges do allow attachments of artwork, essays, attachments of artwork, video and assignments as part of their application.
Schools do cross over with these applications, as you will see when you explore the websites. Some schools are application exclusive. For example, there are schools on The Common Application that are Common Application exclusive, meaning the only way to make application to that school will be through The Common Application.
The Coalition has three exclusive schools: University of Maryland, University of Washington and University of Florida. The Universal Application has no exclusivity. You will come across universities with their own application as well.
Colleges Having Their Own Application
Sometimes there is no choice but to use a college’s own application. Generally speaking, most schools have their applications all posted electronically, thus no paper ever exchanges hands.
Working with Your Counselor
Work with your counselor to determine which application is the best to work with. As far as which application is going to make a student ‘look better’, there is no answer to that. Remember what universities are looking for. They are looking for the student with an authentic voice and sincere application.