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CommonApp May Hand Your Info To Anyone

CellSaltCellSalt 0 replies1 threadsRegistered User New Member
When you apply to a college electronically, all of the information from your applicant account stands to be sold, shared and (mis)used because “you grant [CommonApp, CoaltionApp, or UniversalApp] a worldwide, non-exclusive, ... royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right to use, reproduce, ... publicly display, ... sell, ... and import such Submissions ..., for any purpose whatsoever.” These are the Terms of Use of The CommonApp and similar college application servers - they all assume your consent by your creating an applicant account with them. Such account contains not only your name, DOB, address, SSN, and phone number, but also your parents’ information; your essays and replies to multiple prompts about personal experiences, political views; your teachers’ write-ups and comments; and everything that may be collected on you via this server.

A federal law, FERPA, protects your educational record from dissemination during your school years and again during your college years. But in between, while you are an applicant, there is a gap: FERPA protections apply to a “student,” but an applicant is not a student yet. So, the terms of use of the server hosting your applicant account contents reign.
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Replies to: CommonApp May Hand Your Info To Anyone

  • vonlostvonlost 18779 replies14390 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Where is the reference for this interpretation? Thanks.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 903 replies12 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited October 9
    That entire section is prefaced by:

    “By sending or transmitting to us creative suggestions, ideas, notes, concepts, information or other materials (collectively, "Submissions"), or by posting such Submissions to any area of the Site, ”

    You conveniently left this out.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with your personal data you submit as part of the application.


    By contrast, how they actually use your data is defined in their privacy Policy:


    including the option to opt-out of sharing information with the limited parties that they share with. Opting out of sharing your information with colleges you want to apply to kind of defeats the purpose.
    edited October 9
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  • MinsongMinsong 1 replies0 threadsRegistered User New Member
    It could be just a boilerplate, but I would ask the company for clarification. “Information or other materials” is rather ambiguous and could entail a number of things. Why would a worldwide, perpetual right to our kids’ “information” be a part of the company’s terms of use? Data is a big business.
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  • EconPopEconPop 148 replies3 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    edited October 12
    These companies are like any other "free" site on the internet. Google, Facebook, and Yahoo are all collecting and selling users' data. That's the name of the game, and the price for entry to "free" sites.

    I quickly scanned CA's privacy policy at that link but it is mostly gobbley gook that doesn't say much of substance. There is no information on how to opt out of the info sharing while continuing to use the services of the site.

    There is information on how to adjust your settings at Google Analytics which accesses and massages user info. However, the privacy policy also says that GA is only one of several info aggregation partners with access to CA users' information.

    "Common Application uses Google Analytics and other third-party services..."

    And the privacy policy does not mention how to limit the other third-party services' ability to share your information.

    Here are another relevant line:
    "You have the right not to provide us with any personal information about you when you visit the Properties (if applicable) but you will not be able to utilize our services... "

    The only way to truly limit the information sharing from CA's site is to request that all entered information be deleted from the site and eliminated. But that, of course, will mean you cannot use the site's services at all. It may be a prudent option after the college-hunting season is over, but by that point I'm certain that all the third-party information farms have already taken users' information from the CA site and CA has already been paid for that access, so it doesn't matter if the user information is removed from the CA servers at that point.
    edited October 12
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