"The Common App, the all-purpose form accepted by 456 colleges and universities, is getting a digital makeover, down to the most fundamental swatches of code, with the end result intended to be a smoother, faster, more intuitive application. (The application itself will still be a rigorous exercise, complete with 250- to 500-word essays.)
"The new electronic form, now on the drawing board, is scheduled to make its debut in 2013.
"In the application season beginning to wind down this month, an estimated 750,000 students will have submitted three million online applications. That represents an increase of about 25 percent in only the last year. Meanwhile, teachers, counselors and school administrators are expected to submit 10 million transcripts, recommendations and other school forms through the Common Application’s electronic pipeline this year.
"For that matter, it has only been in the last decade that most students began to apply to college by pushing the “send” button instead of walking their applications to the post office. The Common App itself — which made it possible, for the first time, for a student to type up one form and photocopy it for multiple submissions — is only 36 years old.
"The number of applications filed through the Common Application portal by the end of this decade could exceed 10 million — and the number of schools accepting it could grow to 1,000 or more. That workload is well beyond what the latest Common Application is built to withstand."
HT: Neil Dorosin