What's going on with ApplyingToCollege on Reddit?

As many of you know, there’s a subreddit called ApplyingToCollege (A2C) that has some overlap with College Confidential’s audience. Last week the moderators suspended new activity in support of a larger protest about Reddit’s policy to charge for services used by third parties. Today they started a vote to decide how many days a week, if any, they will be open. If you are curious, there’s also a July 12 update and an update from last Friday with more details.

It’s a complicated situation and most of us are looking in from the outside. I can say that in my professional opinion, Reddit did a poor job communicating and implementing the policy. Companies don’t host communities purely out of charity, but they need to listen to the needs of their most dedicated members. That didn’t happen in this case.

If there’s any good news for A2C, it’s that this time of year isn’t particularly active for college applications. Most students are focused on summer vacation activities rather then anything school related. It’s entirely possible this will be resolved soon. Assuming that happens, this might end up being a footnote in A2C’s history.

While CC and A2C have similar missions, we’ve heard from students that each site serves a different need. A2C has a more relaxed and irreverent attitude. (I’ve been there on Wednesday!) CC is known for direct, honest answers from people who have more experience and perspective. Some students use both sites for their respective strengths. Ultimately we can learn from each other and students benefit from having a choice.

At this moment, I don’t know what CC can do to help A2C other than hoping for a resolution that meets their needs. If you have any suggestions (especially if you have used both sites), please let us know in the comments below.

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A couple more pieces of context that I think are interesting/helpful to understanding the situation:

Even before this blackout, A2C used Discord for some functions. They have attempted to move all the functions to Discord now. I’m not sure how that’s working because, while I occasionally use Reddit, I never use Discord. From other things, I am seeing, plenty of new or casual users either don’t know about the switch to Discord or are not making it.

And, related to that, what I have seen happening is a lot of people just posting things they previously would have posted in A2C in other high school/college related communities on Reddit, like chanceme, SAT, APstudents, etc.


Every day was Wednesday on there, some days just didn’t have the flair.


The UT Austin subreddit is also participating in the blackout and has moved primarily to discord. I miss that subreddit lol, it was very active and I got a lot of information and help for my incoming Longhorn freshman son. I didn’t catch the link to join the Discord, so (im)patiently waiting to see if they come back to reddit

My frank opinion…

A2C is terrible. I’ve had brief forays there to see what purpose it serves. It’s for the teens. There is some good advice to be found, but you have to wade through a LOT of garbage. It’s an unsupervised rumpus room for badly behaved kids, who will occasionally get good advice if they put down the toys and listen for a few minutes.

I’m not being snarky, but why does CC care about what’s going on at A2C?

I know nothing about discord, but my understanding is that it’s also where kids go. I like hanging out with adults.

Until I need to go to those places for some reason, I’m staying out of rumpus rooms.


If their audience is high school students, this is an appropriate medium, imo. I personally tried discord once, hated it, and never used it again. My 17 year old D uses it for just about everything - most of her clubs and other ECs use discord as their primary communication hub. Teens are well-adapted to discord. Their parents - not so much.


I’ll admit to a few laughs on Wednesdays.

The Reddit audience is different but if one kid gets some good advice or guidance then all’s well. If you grew up without any guidance regarding college you might cut the sub some slack. It might be the only help these kids get.

CC’s rep isn’t always the best on other outlets. Sometimes rightly so.


Yep, D20 uses Discord for most everything from clubs to classes to communication with friends; it’s woven into all aspects of their lives.

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Yes, all true. Any advice is better than no advice.

I’ve seen a lot of comments on Reddit about the “toxic” environment on CC. Typically, that refers to some users’ displeasure with the brutal honesty they sometimes get here. There’s a lot more youthful optimism on A2C. Again, it’s a place for teens, imo.

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In our survey, a third of respondents told us they use A2C as well as CC. (75% of the people who responded are CC users, but we didn’t exactly get a representative sample.) It seems important to figure out what they get from it.

See also: How are Reddit applying to college (A2C) and CC different?

My son organized his clubs and classes on Discord too. But it’s not just for young people. I’ve used it to keep in touch with former co-workers when we aren’t able to chat on Slack anymore. It serves a similar purpose to the Parents Cafe on CC where discussions can be a little less structured.

As an aside, the forum software we use recently released a chat feature. I’m looking into what it might take to add it CC as an experiment.

A2C has reopened.

we are reopening the subreddit with one day of blackout—”Touch Grass Tuesdays” (TGT)—which will also act as a mental health day for everyone on this sub. Like the previous shutdown, TGT will be happening indefinitely in solidarity with other protests around the subreddit

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