In an effort to make the University of Utah a more accessible and diverse school, the U has been working to join the many other schools using the Common Application. On Aug. 1, the U announced that it had been officially added to the list of international institutions on the Common Application.
The Common Application, colloquially known as the Common App, is a relatively new tool for individuals applying for college. Though founded in 1975, the Common App became more widely used in the mid ’80s. The process of applying to multiple colleges can be stressful and time-consuming. The Common App seeks to mitigate the stressful, confusing and time-consuming process of applying to multiple colleges by allowing students to fill out one application and then send that application to any of the hundreds of schools they have listed.
Not only does the Common App simplify the actual college application process, but it allows lower-income students to apply for one universal fee waiver, which then extends to whatever schools they choose to apply to, regardless of the number of schools they to apply to. According to a press release delivered by the U on Aug. 1, over 1 million applications are sent into the Common App every year. Of those 1 million applications, at least a third of those students are first-generation college students.
As the U is the first public higher education school in Utah to be added to the Common App, it’s looking forward to the increase in both the number of applicants and student diversity. One of the unique features of the Common App is its exploration tab, which allows students to indulge in an in-depth look at universities all over the world. It allows students to explore academics, student life and additional resources, such as scholarships and other financial aid avenues, without leaving the comfort of their homes. This unique tool allows students and their families who may not have otherwise had access to university tours to fully explore a university and all it has to offer.
Steve Robinson, senior associate vice president for enrollment management at the U, addressed how joining the Common App will affect the admissions process. “We’ve always used a holistic process when considering students, and that’s not going to change,” he said. “Early on we can expect no serious change to the rigor of our process, though it’s hard to say what’s to come two to three years down the road.” While the addition of the Common App could inspire some obvious concerns, Robinson is optimistic about this new avenue from the U: “Long term derivatives [of being added to the Common App] means a more diverse student body and a new student demographic.”