College Apps too Easy? Schools are Swamped...

<p>This may sound like a cruel joke to students who sweated through months of completing applications, writing essays, gathering finance data, etc., but an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education says that college application numbers are surging and one reason may be that it's easy to apply.</p>

<p>College</a> Searches Gone Wild</p>

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The Common Application, a standardized form that nearly 300 colleges now accept in lieu of their own applications, is growing in popularity. Although the form was designed to streamline the application process, saving students from paperwork and repeatedly rewriting the same essays, some admissions officials say colleges that use it are inviting frivolous applications...

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<p>On "fast track" apps:

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In addition to waiving the application fee, usually $30 to $50, admissions offices that send out fast-track applications often dispense with traditional requirements, like essays and teacher recommendations. Colleges that use some variation of that approach include Loyola University Chicago; University of Vermont; and Virginia Commonwealth University.

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<p>Maybe it is part of the problem, but definitely not the main cause. I know for me at least, I applied to a lot of colleges not because of easy apps, but because I know it just keeps getting tougher and I wanted to have as many options as possible. I kept trying to eliminate one or two, but I was too insecure and wary of being rejected everywhere. Of course, this kind of response only inflates the competitiveness more, making the problem worse in the long run. I can't imagine what it will be like to try to get into a selective school in 10 years.</p>

<p>And for most schools, they have a "Why (Name of School" essay or other specific essay, so you can't recycle everything. I spent many, many hours on my applications.</p>

<p>If increasing apps/kid were the dominant cause, wouldn't you start to see yield numbers decline, at least outside of HYPSM because schools are chasing the same kids? Can't say I've seen that in my research.</p>

<p>Actually the existence of the common app is a godsend for many internationals... I only applied to common app-accepting schools last year because my school teachers were unfamiliar with the american higher education system, and thus I did not want to burden them with 1234123432 different forms (whereas for common app they can just photocopy recommendations and other forms).</p>

<p>Perhaps foolish of me (because I wanted to apply to Stanford and Columbia but did not because they didn't accept the common app), but it definitely plays a factor in one's selection of colleges, and significantly so for international students (many of my friends only applied to common-app accepting schools).</p>

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<p>It's got to happen. Of course, acceptance rates are declining, too. </p>

<p>Nearly 40% of CC members who responded to our poll applied to 10 or more colleges. We're not typical of the general population, but that's still a surprising percentage.</p>

<p>To the extent that lower-tier colleges are getting a disproportionate share of the "fast track" apps, etc., their lower yield numbers won't be noticed.</p>

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Last month decisions from colleges to which she did not remember applying started coming in. So far she has been accepted by eight colleges and rejected by four. She has concluded that perhaps 18 applications were "a bit excessive."</p>

<p>"I didn't really think about it at the time," says Ms. Koestner.

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<p>This has to be the funniest thing I've ever read about college applications. Talk about ditzy. They could call the movie, "Clueless Applies to College".</p>

<p>"I really didn't think about it at the time" -- indeed.</p>

<p>Don't schools LIKE the common app, BECAUSE it swells application numbers, which causes their acceptance rates to DROP, making them APPEAR to be even more PRESTIGIOUS than they already are??</p>

<p>The college application/acceptance dance is a game, and the colleges are playing it too. They want to keep/attain high ratings from the U.S. News type ranking services.</p>

<p>Aren't dropping yield rates a good thing for waitlisted applicants? (Less students would accept any particular college's offer, simply because they applied to so many, and so colleges might take more people off the waitlist?) Or would the also-declining acceptance rates cancel that out...</p>

<p>More applications = More money for the colleges. Hey a lot of people with no chance of acceptance apply giving some colleges basically free money.</p>

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<p>To the extent that they are unexpected, yes. If the college has a pretty good handle on the state of applicants, then they'll adjust a bit for anticipated changes in yield.</p>

<p>Better news for waitlisted applicants, IMO, is the competition for lower acceptance rates. If a college wants to look more selective, it can accept somewhat fewer RD applicants immediately, and then pick applicants off the waitlist at 100% yield later. There's little advantage to a college in accepting a larger number and taking zero from the waitlist; why not appear more selective, and end up with the exact number you want?</p>

<p>I know plenty from my school who would have applied to Chicago among the myriad of other schools they were applying to, but didn't because they would have to write a whole new set of essays.</p>

<p>As to the comment about recommendation forms, I think it would be a good idea for all schools to use the common app for rec's and such, or at least accept common app rec's, even if they use their own application.</p>

<p>Perfect example of a school that gains prestige because of ease of applying - Wash U. When all you have to do is add a school to your list on <a href="http://www.commonapp.org%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.commonapp.org&lt;/a> and send in a one page supplement that consists of your name, and give your teachers one more envelope, why not apply? Besides their top choices, I'm sure the ease of applying is a huge factor in deciding where to apply for many people. Hence why Chicago is not included by many that don't have a large interest interest in the school.</p>

<p>I guess it depends on the college. </p>

<p>From what I've seen of the applications handling and evaluating procedures at a school getting many applicants, app fees are NOT a money-maker. </p>

<p>You have to have people open the mail; separate out the fee payment and process that; start a file for the app; scan it so you've got a digital copy; (and vice versa if it's a web app); assign some kind of number or tracking so you can keep adding to it as transcripts, test scores, and recommendations roll in; data-enter key parts, calculate things like a count of academic classes & a recalculated GPA; track whether/when the application is complete; assign it to readers or evaluators; record their evaluations; process a decision letter... and I know I've left some steps out here. Along every step of the way keep the thing secure, both in its hard copy and digital forms. Then there is secure storage after the admissions seasons is over, for some number of years. I suppose that once the system is in place, a school could realize some small "profit" because the marginal cost of an addition app is small, but as numbers rise so do the management logistics required. Even underqualified applicants require some work and processing. I just don't think it's a super money-maker for schools.</p>

<p>hoedown, one exception is UC's. With the 11/30 deadline, all the ED kids have to pay for UC applications at $60 a pop, and then a few weeks later withdraw the UC apps. When my kids went through this annoying process, (at a cost of $240 for the last one) the UC's had done nothing with their files other than assign them a number. The whole application is electronic and there are no transcripts, recommendations or supplements mailed in.</p>

<p>As a 17 year boy who is a lazy as can be I can assure you I would have only applied to 4-5 school if I had to do it by hand. I applied to 10 using the commom app.</p>

<p>Just as a comparison with the UK applications system (applied to both UK and US):</p>

<p>The UK UCAS system consists of just filling up your particulars, grades, etc, course/university choices, and a personal statement. Your teacher's conditional reference is then added, and your application is completed. It is tons easier to do than the US system, just that you're limited to a total of 6 course/university choices. Oh and it's 15 pounds for the total application (unless you're applying to Oxbridge).</p>

<p>That being said, I didn't let the fact that UPenn didn't use the common app stop me from applying to UPenn. Though I did recycle an essay from common app to UPenn's app. =P The common app DID make life a lot easier for me, though! </p>

<p>But I probably would have applied to more than 5 schools if the application fees were lower or if the supplements had no essays required...</p>

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<p>Now that is interesting,..</p>

<p>just ED to every school and then say that u couldn't read english and ur friend forged ur signature and made u apply ED. then u can go to whatever skool u want and nobody will be any the wiser!!!! in fact thhey will be dumber 'cuz they know they got pwned by u.</p>

<p>I think kids apply more out of fear of being rejected/waitlisted from the schools they want. check out on this site how many kids were rejected from many terrific schools only to be accepted to one or two just as great. If they had only applied to four schools, they may not have been going to college this fall.</p>

<p>Agreed. I applied almost entirely to reaches--9 schools. 3 accepted me and 6 waitlisted me. So it was definitely worth it to apply to that many, otherwise I might not be going anywhere. If anything, I wish I had applied to more.</p>

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Just as a comparison with the UK applications system (applied to both UK and US):</p>

<p>The UK UCAS system consists of just filling up your particulars, grades, etc, course/university choices, and a personal statement. Your teacher's conditional reference is then added, and your application is completed. It is tons easier to do than the US system, just that you're limited to a total of 6 course/university choices. Oh and it's 15 pounds for the total application (unless you're applying to Oxbridge).</p>

<p>That being said, I didn't let the fact that UPenn didn't use the common app stop me from applying to UPenn. Though I did recycle an essay from common app to UPenn's app. =P The common app DID make life a lot easier for me, though! </p>

<p>But I probably would have applied to more than 5 schools if the application fees were lower or if the supplements had no essays required...

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<p>In Australia it's even simpler.
You just fill out ONE form with your desired choices online (maximum of 8) and no essays nor references needed). They then match it with your ENTER (sorta like a ranking for all graduating high school students) and your admissions is based on that SCORE alone.</p>

<p>The critical flaw in this system obviously is that you end up with a lot of one dimensionality in some courses (for example, all the top courses like medicine and commerce/engineering are dominated by Asians because tradtionally Asians receive a very high score).</p>