Planning to use the Common Application to apply to college this fall? Chances are one of the schools on your wish list is a member.
Forty-nine new members joined for the 2011-12 admission cycle beginning July 1, bringing the total member number to 463. Of this group, there are 62 public institutions, a record-breaking number.
Some of the better known institutions on this year’s list include the University of Southern California, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and Howard University. And some you may not have heard of: Castelton State College, Lipscomb University and Whitworth University.
The University of Michigan-Flint just joined for the 2011-12 cycle. Other member colleges in Michigan that previously joined the Common App are Albion College, Hillsdale College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College Lawrence Technological University and the University of Michigan.
What does this mean? College admission could become even more competitive as it becomes easier to apply.
For those of you who are new to the process and unsure of what the Common App is, we’ll bring you up to speed: The Common App allows each student applicant to submit just one application (plus an essay and short answer question) to all member schools. It streamlines the process, and allows you to avoid a lot of duplication.
The member schools are large and small, public and private, highly selective and less so. Two are international.
To be eligible for Common App membership, a college must use a holistic selection process. By “holistic,” they mean an admissions process that uses subjective criteria (including letters of recommendation and untimed essays) as well as objective criteria (grades, test scores). Because most schools use only objective criteria, they are not eligible—you’ll have to apply to them separately.
The centerpiece of the Common Application is the essay. There are six prompts to select from. The first five ask you to reflect on such issues as a significant experience, event or person in your life. The sixth is a topic of your choice. For the first time, the essay has a length requirement: 250-500 words.
You will also be asked to write a short essay, 150 words or fewer, elaborating on one of your extracurricular activities or work experiences.