The New Face of the Common Application

With many businesses and companies wanting to keep up with competition and ever-changing computers and technology, it seems as though everything nowadays is constantly evolving and changing. And with colleges and universities being no exception, even college applications are now seeing a facelift with a series of changes on standard college applications. Partly in an effort to keep up with the significant amount of growing college applications that schools receive every year, Common Application Inc, announced the latest changes on college applications will include new questions about language proficiency, marital status and children, and an optional question about the military status of applicants, according to an article posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Common Application Inc., a non-profit membership organization that provides both online and print versions of first-year and transfer applications, has memberships with over 400 higher education learning institutions. In recent years, many schools such as The University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and the University of Connecticut, have opted to use the Common Application and last year the organization welcomed its first foreign college member. While the most recent changes are minor, they do reflect the increasing diversity of the Common Application’s membership. The new questions will help learning institutions that enroll large numbers of nontraditional students and veterans.

Other suggestions for questions to include in the newly updated version of the common application included a question about the sexual orientation of applicants, but the organization decided against it. But another new option does include “civil union/domestic partners” for an existing question about the marital status of applicant’s parents. Those questions and the ones about marriage, children, and military status are to help admission officials understand where students came from and who they are. For example, rather than seeing on paper that a potential student graduated from college 10 years ago and dropped out after a year or two, they can now see that the student had an 8 year old or served in the military.

One of the minor changes in the application is a “early-decision agreement” which reveals the challenge of the process for hundreds of colleges that all have their own admissions procedures. The organization has included an early-decision agreement for applicants to sign up for when applying to one of more than 100 colleges that offer those options. The form states students must understand that an early-decision applicant is making a commitment to a first-choice school. But this has also caused issues and some schools have no interest in receiving and reviewing those forms. And with technology continuing to increase and new platforms being unveiled, its only a matter of time before those issues are solved and new ones change the admissions process once again.

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