Common App, the application aggregate utilized by over 600 colleges and universities, has amassed so much popularity over the last few years that some have deemed it a college application “monopoly.” However, starting in 2016, there is going to be a new syndicate player in the application game, and it doesn’t appear that the newcomer has any intention of building on Baltic Avenue.
By creating a conglomerate application portal, Common App has provided students the opportunity to research and submit for universities they may not have otherwise considered for their undergraduate education. This has, theoretically, been an incredible tool for connecting both low-income students and the applicant masses to their ideal educational institution. However, there have been some notable absences from Common App since its induction: the UC’s, all eight Ivy League Schools, and a number of high profile liberal arts colleges. It now appears that the burning question of whether or not these elite universities plan to make themselves more, well, common, has been answered.
In October 2015, an assemblage of 83 public and private higher education institutions announced that they are forming the “Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success,” to encourage low-income students to apply to their colleges through an aggregated portal. The “Coalition” includes all 8 Ivies, Stanford University, The University of Chicago and Amherst to name a few. The CAAS claims that in addition to providing a portal similar to Common App, it will provide online tools to guide students through the application process, advice and recommendations, and a personalized application dossier that prospective students can begin filling out as early their freshman year in high school.
This announcement has created quite a ripple and left many college counselors and parents more than a little perplexed. Accessibility to many of these historically “elite” schools has been a hot topic over the last year — an issue that has culminated with the recent Obama announcement to implement educational financial aid changes in an attempt to bridge the low-income decision gap. Many counselors and admissions officers are left wondering whether the CAAS is merely a means of increasing visibility for the elite universities disguised as means of inclusion. If the CAAS is specifically designed to increase accessibility to low-income students, then why have the Pell Grant rejection rates for its members been so high in recent years? If we are all wondering what the tangible benefits are for students utilizing the Coalition’s “Uncommon App,” it seems we will find out soon enough . . .
Until then, my company is committed to finding application solutions, and one way we’re looking to help is through the miracle of technology. Take a look at our GATE Indiegogo campaign to access free or 50% discounted services related to SAT/ACT prep, essays mentoring, application guidance and more. Click here to learn more http://igg.me/at/GATE-System. We are live 11/4/15 to 1/4/16 and with your help we can make a difference for many, many teens, regardless of socioeconomic factors.