|Harvard University is a long-time member of the UCA.|
The Universal College Application (UCA) went “live” today for 2015-16, with three new member colleges.
Joining the University of Chicago, Vanderbilt, Rice and Duke in addition to Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Princeton, are Roger Williams University, Beloit College, and the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
And this year’s state-of-the art application more than lives up to the goal of making the process of applying to college easy, accessible, and way less stressful.
“We listen carefully to what students, recommenders, and admissions offices have to say about our application,” said Zach Bowman, UCA assistant director. “And each year, we make adjustments—some small and some significant—based on what we have learned.”
For example, counselors wanted to be able to download application forms to use in group presentations or to assist individual students who might be without easy or dependable access to the internet.
UCA listened. Located throughout the application are a number of print buttons with downloadable materials and explanations, including clearly stated requirements and deadlines. The materials can be printed for hardcopy files or moved to virtual folders to help students keep track of what colleges want when.
Students wanted to be able to search for colleges by location or major. The UCA responded by adding search functions that make it easier to for them to find colleges based on specific criteria.
For applicants who need a little reminding, the UCA also introduced a feature linking deadlines to online calendars. Students simply search for UCA colleges on their list and click on the appropriate deadline—Early Action (EA), Early Decision (ED) or Regular Decision (RD)—to generate a gentle reminder.
Again this year there are small enhancements to the application form but one thing that remains is the tremendous flexibility of its features. This flexibility differentiates the UCA from other application products and remains part of the attraction for member institutions and applicants.
For example, everyone likes to have options, whether it’s uploading a document, linking to online media, or editing elements of the application. And the UCA makes all of these processes as simple and straightforward as possible.
“Applicants can choose to upload an essay they’ve formatted or copy and paste a draft onto the application. They can also upload ‘Additional Information,’ whether it’s a resume or some other kind of document they feel is essential to their application,” explained Bowman. “And they can easily edit their application if they wish to submit different information to different colleges.”
But beyond functionality, for some applicants timing is everything and they want to get started a little earlier. So UCA made it possible for them to begin submitting forms as early as July 1—long before August sports and marching band take over.
For more information and an introduction to the Universal College Application, visit the UCA website. And watch for new colleges as they are added to the membership list throughout the summer.