Sep 11, 2010

The Universal College Application Adds New Members

Business is booming at the Universal College Application (UCA), as students are using the UCA online application in record numbers and new colleges continue to join the Baltimore-based consortium.

“We do have fans out there,” said Josh Reiter, founder and president of ApplicationsOnline, corporate home of the UCA. “Hopefully, we can capitalize on this in the future.”

In its fourth year, the UCA quietly competes with the Common Application for recognition and membership. The applications are entirely interchangeable at colleges accepting both, and neither offers a particular “edge” in the admissions process.

Since July, nine new colleges and universities have signed on with the UCA, including St. Mary’s College of Maryland and the College of Notre Dame of Maryland. Other members include Harvard University, Johns Hopkins, Washington University in St. Louis, Duke, and Tulane.

Although many UCA members also use the Common Application, an increasing number are choosing ApplicationsOnline as a sole provider for these services. From an institutional perspective, the UCA has none of the “extra” membership requirements of the Common App and can easily accommodate a variety of colleges or universities including those not requiring recommendations or essays.

And in the highly competitive online application market, the UCA listens to consumers and makes product adjustments as necessary.

For example, responding to admissions staff complaints about computer disks or videos mailed separately from applications, the makers of the UCA added an enormously popular feature allowing students to provide links to online content. With one click, colleges have immediate access to audition videos, websites, online picture albums as well as recruiting or personal video supplements. And the process potentially provides a level of privacy that YouTube cannot.

To accommodate projected growth, the UCA added several new staff members and continues to place a high premium on customer service. “The site is monitored 24/7,” Reiter assured. “We can’t give feedback on essay topics or driving directions to colleges, but we will walk a student through the steps necessary to complete required information and send ‘customized’ applications to each college on his or her list.”

To learn more about the Universal College Application or register for a free, no-strings-attached account, visit the UCA website.

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