As if there weren’t enough decisions to make in applying to for colleges, here’s another.  Which college application is the best?  Students know that they can apply directly to a college using its own application.  However, there are other options.

The Common Application

Most students are aware of the Common Application.  The Common App has nearly 700 member schools that use their platform to receive applications.  The Common App also allows students to supply additional essays or information from the college that will ultimately be receiving the application.  According to a blog from Admissions Intel, The Common Application has recently changed its formatting and made it easier for students to include digital materials, mostly by copying and pasting URLS.

Universal College Application

There are two other organizations that provide a platform for sending in applications.  One, the Universal College Application (UCA), has about 30 member schools that use its application platform.  All are private, including some highly selective schools like Harvard.  The UCA has an easy-to-access means for students to upload digital materials such as websites or videos.  For students applying to fine arts programs, for example, if the school is accepting such materials, it is simple for a student to upload a video of a performance.  The UCA also has a portal for students to complete and upload an athletic supplement.  This, too, can include information in a digital format.

The Coalition

The Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success is a relatively new application platform.  It has 123 member schools, and all have met particular criteria for participation.  The Coalition website describes member schools as able to “provide substantial support to lower resourced and under-represented students, offer responsible student financial aid and support and demonstrate a commitment for student graduation.”  The Coalition focuses not just on the senior year application process.  Students are encouraged to engage with its site throughout high school, compiling documents, videos and other materials in a virtual Student Locker.  Those materials can then be accessed easily and added to the actual application when it is submitted.  Like the UCA, The Coalition application makes it easy for students to upload videos, web links and other digital formats.

What Else Can Be Added to an Application?

Another blog from Admissions Intel suggests that more and more colleges are open to receiving student resumes as an addition to the application.  But a resume shouldn’t duplicate what is already in application fields regarding student activities and honors.  A well-done resume offers students a chance to highlight activities or involvement that may not easily fit into the allowable space in the application.  According to the blog, nearly one third of the Common App schools accept or even require a resume.

Video and websites can be another way for a student to promote his or her candidacy for admissions.  CD’s or DVD’s of performances have long been a part of the application for many fine arts students.  Now, more colleges are accepting various digital applications as part of a student’s application portfolio.

Years ago, the only way to apply to a college was directly to the school.  The Common Application revolutionized that, allowing students to craft one essay and apply to dozens of schools.  These newer options, UCA and The Coalition, are yet another route in the same door, and may appeal to some students for a variety of reasons.

Schools do not give preference for one platform over another; students can choose what works best for them.  What’s most important is that students choose the college application platform that best allows them to express themselves to the institution.

Looking for help on your college application essay?  Read our blogs, Essay I and Essay II, or contact Knowledge Edge at 262-238-8867 or to meet with a tutor to discuss your essay!