Good news for students about to tackle college applications: You can streamline the daunting tasks of essay-writing and filling out mounds of personal history by applying to multiple schools at once, electronically.
The Common Application, pioneer of the streamlined application process, is just one of many ways to apply. There’s also the Universal College Application and the Common Black College Application. In addition, newer portals like Xap, Embark and ConnectEdu can save you time and make it easier to use a college’s own application.
Here is some background on each tool:
The Common Application is the granddaddy of them all, providing a standardized application for use by its 400+ member schools. Students submit one application, including one essay and one short answer question, then pay individual schools the required application fee.
The Universal College Application is similar to the Common App, but only covers about 80 schools. Unlike the Common App, not all member schools require an admissions essay. For the ones that do, the Universal College Application provides space for an essay of up to 500 words, similar to the one on the Common App.
Through EDUinc, you can apply to 37 historically black colleges and universities with the Common Black College Application, all for a flat fee of $35. There are no individual fees for each school.
XAP allows you to apply to multiple public and private schools in 31 states. (Michigan is not included.) Colleges’ own applications are used; 900 schools are represented. Students are responsible for the institution-specific portions of each application.
SuperApp , part of ConnectEdu, is used for admissions to 1,500 colleges and universities. ConnectEdu teams with schools so that a majority of an institution’s application can be completed automatically, using school records of grades, scores, etc.
Embark has its own application (accepted by approximately 20 colleges and universities) as well as the capability to help with the individual applications of around 640 schools. Using an auto fill tool, students complete each school’s applications, which is then downloaded, printed and sent by U.S. mail.