Dec 3, 2014

Apps are up and complaints are down as the Common App looks toward next year

Emory University saw an increase of early applications for the Class of 2019

In a message recently forwarded to Common Application members, interim CEO Paul Mott proudly
pointed out huge improvements in both the technological and service systems put in place for this year.

“Perhaps the greatest indicators of improvement are ticket traffic [Help Center inquiries], which, cumulatively is less than two-fifths what it was at this time a year ago (55,105 versus 144,281) and the corresponding response times, which also tell a dramatically different story than a year ago,” explained Mott in his email to chief admission officers.

Ten days after the big November 1 deadline, the Common App crossed the one million application mark, and as of Tuesday, November 25, the total stood at just short of 1.4 million applications (up 10.25% from a year ago) accompanied by slightly more than 5.4 million recommendations.

Other bits of information provide an interesting portrait of the application “business” as well as a compelling insight into the pattern of procrastination typical of most college applicants:
  • Overnight Sunday to close-of-business Monday is, by far, the busiest “day” of each week.
  • Labor Day week was the first week during which more than 1,000 applications were submitted daily, although the numbers “tailed off” for Friday night through Saturday.
  • By the middle of September, application submissions were running somewhere between 6,000 and 7,000 per day.
  • The 100,000 application barrier fell on October 1, by which time application submission rates were, at a minimum, 11,000 to 12,000 per 24-hour period.
  • Students were very busy over Columbus Day weekend, when 25,000 applications were submitted during another of those Sunday night through Monday 24-hour periods.  A total of 210,000 applications were submitted during the following week (30k, 38k, 49k, 24k, 21k, and 23k on each respective day).
  • The one millionth applicant profile was created on October 22.
  • With nearly 300 individual member deadlines on November 1, almost a half million applications (480k+) were submitted during the preceding week—including two 100,000-application days and one 200,000+ day.

The biggest application days of the year potentially come at the end of this month, and the Common Application feels the system is more than ready to handle the volume, according to Mott.

In the meantime, Mott reports that the Common App is continuing to work on pricing for next year.  At the request of the membership, the Common App is moving away from “exclusivity-based” pricing to a new, more dynamic model to go along with new membership requirements, which include dropping the personal statement or essay as part of a ‘holistic’ review of applicant credentials.  

As a result, executive staff has been working on the release of “platform-based” membership tiers which will dictate the price each member pays for applications submitted through the system.  Colleges not requiring essays will presumably pay less than those with complicated upload or supplement requirements.

While possibly saving some members money, the new pricing model has the potential to pose complications for colleges considering what level of functionality best suits their admissions needs. 

At least one Vice President for Enrollment Management recently posed the question to his faculty, which responded with concerns about “competing” institutions discontinuing essay requirements for next year.   

Interestingly, the debate was less about how removing a writing sample from among application requirements will affect the quality of the review and more about how keeping an essay might decrease the number of applications submitted by high school students anxious to dodge the extra work.

Because at the end of the day, it’s all about the numbers.

No comments:

Post a Comment