Move aside, Common App and Universal College App! This summer, a new application has appeared on the college application scene: The Coalition for Access Application. Composed of over 90 member universities, this application boasts Ivy League names and other high profile colleges, but what is it all about?
Fed up with the institutional monster that is the Common Application, this coalition of member universities and colleges created an updated 21st-century college application that they believe promotes "access, affordability, and success". See the video below for an introduction:
So in considering low-income students, who have typically been discriminated against at every turn in their educational journey, the Coalition seeks to provide an alternative. And the thing is, they don't claim to know what's best. Here are some of the things they say about themselves (taken from the website):
We don’t believe we have all the answers, but we are committed to working together to improve the admission process. The visibility and impact of this group of institutions confers a responsibility to act ethically and do our best work to bring about positive change;
We don’t believe we will get it all right in the first iteration and are committed to a process of assessment and continuous improvement;
We don’t believe we can make change overnight. It will take time, significant effort, listening to counselors and students and more.
Refreshing, isn't it? But what makes the Coalition for Access Application different from the others? I would stake my money on two features: 1) The Locker, and 2) Collaboration Space. Here's two videos explaining the two.
In short, you can store anything college-related on the application (without necessarily sending it to any colleges), so that everything is conveniently there in one place if- I mean, when you're ready to start college applications! The collaboration space also allows you to bring others into the mix. No more emailing word documents or Google Docs! They're adding other key features as well, such as the ability to create college lists and a new college directory with descriptions to aid you in your search!
Overall, the Coalition for Access application looks very promising, and it's something I wish existed when I applied. Although they didn't do anything about the essay prompts (which are similar to the Common App), they added this cool prompt:
What is the hardest part of being a teenager now? What’s the best part? What advice would you give a younger sibling or friend (assuming they would listen to you)?
And more importantly, it's a step in the right direction. The locker and collaboration space take what used to be guns-blazing, resume-building competition and make it about the student, rather than their accomplishments and awards. It's not perfect, but at least they're willing to admit that. I could go on forever, but take a look at the website yourself!
Best of luck to all of our college applicants out there!