Oct 12, 2015

15 uncommon questions from Common Application members

Harvard takes a strong stand against application cheats.

One of the more interesting features of the current version of the Common Application is the extent to which member colleges and universities are encouraged to individualize their applications by tailoring questions on their member pages and creating unique prompts in writing supplements. 

It’s almost as if a handful of the 611 Common App members went to a candy store and emptied the shelves in a quest to fashion uniquely probing packages for applicants to complete.

Although some creativity is evidently at work, colleges are also provided with a fairly comprehensive bank of questions from which to select more routine inquiries. 

And these questions are supposed to result in greater standardization among applications and a general simplification of the process of defining interest in academics, living arrangements, residency, honors or majors.

At times the questions are repetitive to the point of tedium, and more than one Common Application user has been heard to moan, “Why do colleges keep asking me the same questions over and over again?”

But directly beside that which might seem repetitive, there exists a variety of curiously uncommon requests from Common Application member colleges.  

In fact, some colleges looking for evidence of non-cognitive personality traits and skills like persistence, grit, empathy, creativity and critical thinking. And then, there are those that are simply looking to be entertained—reading applications can get awfully tedious.

A sample of some more uncommon requests from Common App members may be found here.

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