The 4-1-1 on This Year’s Common Application

It looks like the widely used Common Application has taken some cues from the new Coalition Application.

The new changes to the 2017-18 Common App for colleges mirror features found in the Coalition App. Competition often creates innovation and the Common App has some much-needed updates. The Common App changes this year will benefit high school students and make the application more user friendly.

While these changes will be welcomed by students, it’s too early to tell whether or not they will bring with them glitches in the application system. Here are some possible complications that could arise as high school students attempt to use each new section.

1. Detailed Course and Grade Section

Previously, in order for colleges to see a student’s previous years’ class schedule, they either had to request it or wait and view it on the official transcript. Now a college can view a high school student’s academic performance before the arrival of the transcript. Students input their own grades and can view their own academic performance while in the Common App. This is an option that the Coalition App currently provides as well.

This consolidates the grade-reporting process within the Common App and allows colleges to have detailed information provided by the students themselves. It’s still not clear whether this option will be required or optional, but students should always provide as much information as possible when applying to colleges.

2. Integration with Google

Recognizing that many high school students use a cloud platform to create and collaborate on assignments, the Common App has added this feature to its 2017-18 version. This allows students to upload essays and high school resumes directly from their Google Drives into their applications.

It is possible that students will experience formatting and other glitches that sometimes happen with cloud documents. These changes could mean problems for students, but until the application is widely used, we won’t know about technical problems. High school students will be able to write, revise and proofread documents easily on any computer before uploading them to the application. Since many students use school or public computers, this function will make it easier for them to complete the process. This is another functionality that is similar to the one offered by the Coalition App.

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