Admit it: The Common App is synonymous with college applications. After a two-year, $8 million development process, the Common Application today began the process of formally introducing the next generation of the Common App, the CA4. Set to launch on August 1, 2013, Crisp Consulting + Coaching would like to detail the significant changes to the forthcoming application season.
Change of Venue. The CA4 will be exclusively an online application. The Common App will no longer be available in paper nor will it be a downloadable document for mailing. This is only for the student applicant. Counselors and teachers will still have the option to submit via paper.
Change of Supplements. The Athletic Supplement will be completely discontinued and replaced with information about athletics on the application itself. Admission officers can forward this information to coaches and athletic departments. In addition, The Arts Supplement will be hosted by Sideroom. This is only applicable to colleges and universities having an exclusive arrangement with the Common App and Sideroom. All other members may host individual art supplements.
Change in Alteration. The CA4 will simplify the ability to create alternate versions of an application. Students will be able to make unlimited edits to the application with the exception of the essay. The essay will allow for three submitted versions with corrections and updates permitted.
Change of Writes. The CA4 will debut five new writing topics:
- Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
- Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
- Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
- Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
- Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.
The traditional short answer about an extracurricular activity will be moved to the writing section as optional writing for colleges. The Common App will enforce 250- to 650-word boundaries and all written material will be text-entry only. This will allow students to compose their responses directly in the application or cut-and-paste a response from another word processing program. Additionally, the the CA4 will allow for basic formatting of bold, italics, underline, and accented characters.
Change of form. The CA4 will introduce a new form for non-academic evaluations that can be submitted by peers, coaches, clergy, instructors, or others.This will not be universal and will be decided upon by each individual college or university.
In the meantime, the Common Application is working with various membership organizations to provide training sessions and answer counselor questions. This is in hopes of ensuring a smooth launch of August 1, 2013.
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Brian D. Crisp is an independent educational consultant with Crisp Consulting + Coaching who works with families in Asheville, Charleston, Raleigh-Durham and Savannah to optimize and realize their unique educational fit and admission success. As a former professor, administrator, and teacher, Brian has the knowledge and skills to counsel families in all aspects of educational planning.