Despite what it might seem, there is a whole ‘other’ world of electronic applications that college-bound
students may possibly encounter this year.
Out of about 4,000 nonprofit postsecondary institutions, only 517 are members of the Common Application.
And you can be assured that the many “other” electronic application systems serving the majority of colleges are quietly cranking into full operation for the 2013-14 application season with little press or commentary.
ApplyTexas is a shared application form used by Texas public universities and participating community and private colleges. It can be used for undergraduate, international, and graduate admission as well as to apply for scholarships and housing with participating universities. This year, ApplyTexas announced a new series of essay prompts. Each school in the system requires a different combination of the prompts—some three, some just two, and others get designated as recommended or optional. For more information, visit the ApplyTexas website.
Continuing to hold out against the Common Application, Georgetown recently announced a new “streamlined method” for the submission of secondary school report materials. The new process, powered by College Net, enables high school counselors to submit the Georgetown-specific secondary school report form electronically and to upload supporting documents, including high school transcripts, school profiles and letters of recommendation. Students will initiate the process by providing guidance counselor/teacher email addresses as part of their application submission. Visit the Georgetown University website for more details.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The MIT Admissions department is making it possible for applicants to share additional projects as part of the application process, starting this year. Offered in addition to supplements for music and research, the new Maker Portfolio supplement on the MIT Admissions web site will provide a structured way for students to submit information about a diverse set of projects in which they have participated. The MIT website suggests possibilities as wide-ranging as a video, a potato canon, or a computer program.
Universal College Application
The UCA is currently used by 32 colleges and universities including Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Tulane, and Rensselear Polytechnic Institute (RPI). For the 2013-14 application season, the UCA went live on July 1, 2013 and is currently accepting both electronic applications and recommendations. This year, the UCA boasts of a sleek new interface and a more user-friendly recommendation process adjusted based on feedback from teachers and counselors. And the UCA has kept the “Topic of Your Choice” essay prompt as well as the ability to easily revise applications as often as necessary. For more information, visit the UCA website.
University of California
The University of California has also resisted joining the Common Application and maintains a single application for admission to all nine UC undergraduate campuses. This year, the application will open for fall 2014 on October 1, 2013. The application submission period will go from November 1 through 30, and notification of admissions decisions will begin on March 1, 2014. More information and the UC application may be found on the University of California website.
University of Florida
The University of Florida’s electronic application goes live on Tuesday, September 3rd. This year, UF is going to a Self-Reported Academic Record (SAR) instead of having students send their transcripts for evaluation. Under this plan, students input all classes taken throughout high school, the level of the class, and the unweighted graded. If admitted, a student will then have to provide UF with a transcript for comparison to the information provided on the application. For more information, go to the University of Florida website.
In its counselor newsletter announcing the new recommendation system, Georgetown commented, “We are grateful for your support and cooperation in our efforts to maintain a human and student-centered process in a college admissions environment that has been growing increasingly less personalized.”
And from those of us advising students on that process, "Thank you."