To help you and your student prepare for this season of college applications, it’s important to understand any changes in the application requirements and formats.
There are four college applications currently available to students: The Common Application, The Coalition Application, the Universal Application, and college-specific applications.
Each year, the applications offer changes and upgrades to the previous year, and the 2018-19 application season is no different. Following are some changes to note for this year’s applications.
The Common Application
The 2018-19 Common App launched on August 1. This is the most widely used application by prospective college students because you can complete one application and share it with multiple colleges. Following are the changes to the application as noted on the Common App blog:
- Improved Courses and Grades – Under Courses and Grades, students can fill out their self-reported transcript as part of their Common App and send it to those member colleges that require the information. This year, the instructions for this section have been simplified to help students know whether they need to complete it for the colleges they are applying to, or opt out if it’s not needed.
- A more inclusive experience – This year American Indians and Alaskan natives can list their tribes of origin or type a short explanation of their tribal descendancy.
- Understanding control of your personal data – There is a clear definition and explanation of your privacy rights.
The Common Application has released seven essay prompts for the 2018–2019 application cycle; these are the same prompts that were used in the 2017–2018 application cycle. You will be able to pick only one prompt and your answer must be between 250 and 650 words.
The Coalition Application
Over 100 colleges and universities plan to use the Coalition application this year, and there have some changes and enhancements that students and parents need to be aware of before starting on their applications this fall. According to the Coalition App newsletter, these are the changes for the 2018-19 application:
- Adaptive Profiles – When creating their Coalition app account, students will now be asked a series of questions meant to display “recommended” and “optional” sections of the profile based on students’ answers. This is intended to make the MyCoalition profile more customized to students’ needs and goals.
- Revised Activities/Experience Section – The Extracurricular Activities section of the Coalition app profile has been renamed Activities/Experience in order to be more inclusive of student activities and experiences outside of the traditional extracurricular activities that students list on their college applications.
- Revisions to High School Information and Coursework sections – Several improvements have been made to these sections to make it easier for students to record courses and grades throughout high school, and also eliminate any redundant information fields or questions.
- Profile Requirement List – Now students can see a list of which colleges will require a Profile section as part of their application.
Like the Common App, the Coalition app includes a main essay, which may or may not be required by schools. The Coalition application essay prompts have not changed from last year.
Universal College Application
The Universal College Application is only used by 15 member colleges and has remained unchanged. It offers both Arts and Athletics Supplements for students who want to showcase their talents. Students may submit a five- to 10-minute video of their music, theater, dance or digital media talents, or submit a link to a website showcasing their visual artwork or the video. Students are also encouraged to submit a resume highlighting their artistic talents. Athletes may submit a supplement describing which sport they played; when they played; whether they were JV, Varsity, or team captain; and any other relevant information.
College -Specific Applications
If the college your student is applying to offers their own application, you can decide whether to use it or one of the other applications that is also accepted. Do schools prefer their own applications to other applications or do they not care? Colleges and universities that sign on to use the other applications commit to a non-discriminatory policy regarding how they view these applications versus their own application. It’s entirely up to you which application you use. If your student is applying to more than one college, however, it makes sense to use the Common App or the Coalition App, assuming the colleges accept them.