In yet another sign of how horrible the problems are with the Common Application, which was completely functionally and aesthetically redesigned this summer, two more prestigious colleges have opted to offer potential applicants another way in which to apply for fall 2014 admission.
Today Trinity College and Tufts University became the second and third new member institutions to join the Universal College Application this month.
“Trinity decided to partner with the Universal College Application, in part, to help relieve stress among students applying to college. We were very impressed by the fast and easy set up, as well as the accessibility and responsiveness of the UCA staff.” said Reggie Kennedy, Senior Associate Dean of Admissions and Director of Operations at Trinity.
Susan Garrity Ardizzoni, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Tufts University, said “Now accepting the Universal Application, Tufts University is pleased to offer applicants and their recommenders an additional option when applying. In response to the ongoing technical issues associated with the new Common Application, we want to provide students and counselors a second, reliable pathway to submit an application this year. Our request to join the Universal Application was met with a quick response and prompt implementation."
Joshua J. Reiter, Ed. D., president of ApplicationsOnline, the company that provides the Universal College Application, said “I am happy we were able to work quickly with Trinity and Tufts to give their applicants another online application option. The prompt and detailed feedback from both institutions during the setup process enabled us to have them up and running quickly enough to still give Early Decision applicants time to submit admission materials. We thank them both for joining the UCA and appreciate their support.”
Earlier this month, Princeton University also joined the Universal College Application. Such mid-admissions season moves by major colleges and universities are unprecedented. These moves point to massive dissatisfaction with the quality and functionality of the Common App, which, as documented earlier in this space, has become a nightmare for students and high school guidance officers. What's come to light more recently is news that colleges are having just as many problems with the new Common Application as other constituencies.
The colleges that are no doubt most disturbed by the Common Application's appalling redesign, which has caused students serious heartache as they waste hours on the Common Application site because it is often down or slow or hard to navigate, are those colleges that are exclusive Common Application members. Exclusive Common Application members have no other means available to them to accept applications. As deadlines approach for early decision and early action, these exclusive members may face what had previously been unthinkable: huge drops in freshman-entry application volume as a result of their Common Application membership. Diversifying to the Universal College Application, a far more user-friendly application for all parties involved, could be the only way to stem the tide of bad news for previously Exclusive Common Application members. Princeton, Tufts, and Trinity are clearly hedging their bets on the value of the Common Application.
Update #1: Since this article was first published on Thursday, October 24 at 5:00 p.m., a fourth college, Hampshire College, has also joined the Universal College Application.
Update #2: An earlier version of this article reported that an unnamed source at the University of Miami indicated that its admissions office had yet to download one single complete freshman-entry application for fall 2014 entry. Since that time, Deanna Voss, University of Miami's Associate Dean of Enrollment and the Executive Director of Admission, refuted this claim by saying, "We were downloading and verifying the applicant data last week for fall semester."
Craig Meister is president of Tactical College Consulting, a Baltimore-based college admissions consultancy that specializes in giving students the tools they need to find and get into their best-fit college. Most recently he created ConvertYourScore.org to help students compare their ACT and SAT scores and learn more about how the tests differ.