- The Common Application announced Wednesday it is growing its program that sends college admissions offers to high school students before they formally apply.
- Fourteen colleges will participate in the pilot, known as a direct admissions program. The Common App — an online portal enabling students to apply to more than 1,000 participating colleges — started it last year.
- The organization has said students who take advantage of direct admissions are more likely to complete an application. The colleges taking part in the initiative offer admission to most applicants.
Individual colleges, state policymakers and companies have all jumped onto the trend of automatic admissions, which has taken off in recent years.
This approach involves institutions offering students admission based on their high school grade-point averages or other factors such as test scores or applicants’ locations. In the Common App's case, it offers admission to students who've created accounts and provided some academic information without finishing open applications.
One of the most prominent other players using the model is Concourse, a company that markets its services as colleges applying for students. Concourse focuses on low-income applicants.
Consultancy EAB purchased Concourse in September.
The Common App began wading into direct admissions in March 2021, bringing in three historically Black institutions — University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Fisk University, in Tennessee, and Norfolk State University, in Virginia.
It then broadened its program again in January and announced in August it would expand the program to 10 colleges.
Now, the Common App will reach 14 institutions with direct admissions. They are:
- Augsburg University, a nonprofit institution in Minnesota.
- Austin Peay State University, a public institution in Tennessee.
- Frostburg State University, a public institution in Maryland.
- George Mason University, a public institution in Virginia.
- Iona University, a nonprofit institution in New York.
- Kean University, a public institution in New Jersey.
- Marymount University, a nonprofit institution in Virginia.
- Mercy College, a nonprofit institution in New York.
- Montclair State University, a public university in New Jersey.
- Stockton University, a public institution in New Jersey.
- Utica University, a nonprofit institution in New York.
- New Jersey City University, a public institution.
- University of Maryland Eastern Shore, a public institution.
- Virginia Commonwealth University, a public institution.
Jenny Rickard, the president and chief executive of the Common App, in a statement praised direct admissions programs for “changing the narrative of a college education from one of scarcity to one of opportunity.”
“No waiting, no wondering if the institution is looking for a specific set of characteristics,” Rickard said. “While we’re still in the early stages of this pilot, we’re excited about the potential of this work to help more students pursue a college education.”