Sep 30, 2013

Minnesota Colleges find a way around the Common Application

Carleton College in Minnesota
You betcha’!  As early admissions deadlines loom, several of Minnesota’s most popular liberal arts colleges have found clever ways around ongoing problems at the Common Application.

It’s no secret that since its launch on August 1st, the Common Application has produced one headache after another for applicants, recommenders, and colleges.

The most recent software glitch may result in damaging delays for colleges waiting to receive completed applications—as late as October 15, according to one college website.

And because colleges work under tight deadlines particularly for their early admission programs, the clog in the Common App system could have serious repercussions for the entire 2013-14 admissions season.

But smart administrators at Carleton, Macalester, and St.Olaf colleges have come up with ways to get the flow of applications started sooner rather than later.

Because they did not fall for “exclusive” arrangements marketed by the Common Application, these three schools retained the option of introducing alternative forms or applications to “kick start” the process without violating the terms of their agreements with the Common App.

Each is now requesting that applicants complete a Part 1 application form, entirely separate from the Common App, but enough to get the ball rolling for prospective students.

In fact, Carleton is offering to waive the application fee for students willing to submit basic information by completing its Part 1.

And some of these forms are really very comprehensive and could be used as the basis for at least a preliminary if not a final decision on a student’s candidacy--should the need arise.

Other Minnesota Common App members have been more aggressive in their efforts to bypass the Common Application.  At this writing, Augsburg’s website makes no mention of the Common App and only provides a link to its own application.

The Gustavus Adolphus “Apply Online” webpage only provides a button for their application, although the Common Application has a link in another area of the admissions website. Hamline University provides top billing for their inhouse application, and the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University offers their GET INspired application as an alternative for students not applying to other Common Application schools (is this a subliminal message?).

Click here for information on how to apply to six Minnesota liberal arts colleges.

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