Different Ways To Apply To College

Technology is rapidly creating more ways to apply for college and continually taking the tedium out of the process, according to an article in The New York Times.

High school students can now choose from the Common Application, the Common Black Application, XAP, Embark, Superapp and the Universal College Application. All of these application formats promise to save students time by allowing them to fill in academic and personal information only one time for all colleges the student wishes to apply to and accept the application.

These new technologies are creating more applicants for each college and allowing students to broaden their possible college selections.

The Common Application:  The non-profit application began the-one-application-fits-all trend and 414 colleges and universities accept it. It’s available online and in hard-copy form at a guidance counselor’s office. Students are asked to provide a short, personal statement and a longer essay on a topic of the student’s choice with a minimum of 250 words. This was designed so students would not have to create a completely custom application for every college. The creators encourage students not to tailor their essays to each college. There is an individual fee for each additional college a student applies to, set by the college not the app.

Universal College Application: Created bya for-profit group, this application is accepted by 77 colleges and universities, over 50 of which also accept the Common Application. It does not ask for an essay; however, some colleges who accept this application require one with a maximum of 500 words. However, the essay can only be seen by colleges who require or encourage it. This online only application encourages students to link their personal web portfolios, social media pages, online newspapers, blogs or compositions.

Common Black College Application:   This application is accepted at 35 historically, black colleges and offers a standard one-time fee of $35; rather than charging the student for each additional college he/she chooses to apply to.

XAP:   This application is growing, and it processed nearly 4 million applications in 2009. Students can apply online to nearly 900 colleges and universities for which XAP has customized online applications. With XAP, most states allow students to apply electronically to all private and public colleges and universities. The built-in, online program imports a student’s information from one college’s application to another’s. The application calls these mentor systems, and they are ran and funded by the states’ education departments and not the colleges. So the XAP affiliation is not always advertised on a college’s website, even though it accepts it.

Embark: This appoffers an “auto fill” option for students’ basic information, including a profile with personal and academic information. Then students can select all the colleges they wish to apply to (that accept Embark) and the basic information is automatically filled in. However, this is not a complete application, and students will need to complete other essay sections that are unique to each college.  Nearly 640 colleges and universities accept this application; however, fewer than 20 accept it electronically. Most students will download and print a PDF file, generated by Embark; then mail it to their selected colleges.

Superapp: This application is available at nearly 2,500 high schools and districts and is accepted at about 1,500 colleges and universities. A student selects a college he/she wishes to apply to; then that college simply accesses a students’ data (G.P.A., test scores, class rank) straight from the information systems at his/her high school. The creators state that this process happens automatically with little or no intervention from guidance counselors, and that this information completes about 80 percent of a college’s application. Students will then have to fill in the remaining 20 percent of essays and other unique processes. This process is free to high schools, and it creates more timely application turnout. This is one of the newest applications.