Friday, November 15, 2013

Is the Common App still doing what it was designed to do?

The letters to the editor of the NY Times, following a recent article on the Common App and its troubles, include one (the second letter) from one of the founders of the Common App. It says in part:

"The unavoidable standardization of the Common Application, not to mention the online debacle for students trying to use it this year, causes serious questions regarding its service to both the candidate and the college.

As co-founder of the Common Application some 40 years ago (with Jack Osander of Princeton and Fred Jewett of Harvard), I sense that the Common App’s time is up. The sole original goal of the Common Application was to make applying to highly selective colleges easier for nontraditional, less advantaged but deserving students. Clearly, it worked early on.

Now it seems that the ease of applying via the Common App has transferred from the poorest to the most affluent students, whose families have no problem paying a dozen or more application fees — the more apps, the better the chance of admission somewhere special. This phenomenon also creates thousands more “ghost applications” (from students unlikely to enroll) for the colleges."

HT: Eric Budish

Earlier posts on the common app.

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