Common app not needed

Grand Valley State University is just one of the colleges across the nation that has created its own online application rather than using the Common Application, which allows students to apply to multiple universities at once. But that hasn’t stopped the number of applicants from growing.

Jodi Chycinski, director of admissions at GVSU, said the university uses its own application because it was created with the students in mind.

“As an institution, we have to consider our audience and then make decisions that meet their needs as well as ours,” Chycinski said. “The undergraduate application that we have in place seems to meet the needs of our admissions decision-making process and also the needs of the students we are trying to serve.”

The requirement to fill out an individual application has seemed not to deter potential students from applying. The number of First Time in Any College (FTIAC) applicants has still increased by about 28 percent since 2009.

And just as the number of potential students applying to GVSU has increased, so has the number of applicants admitted—by about 22 percent. The number of students actually enrolling has also increased, but at a slightly lower rate of 12 percent since 2009.

Chycinski said the GVSU application process can be completed either online or in print, and students are required to submit their transcripts, tests scores and an application fee. Letters of recommendation, which are often elements of the Common Application, are not required for undergraduate applications at GVSU.

Aba Blankson, director of communications for the Common Application, said the application program is a nonprofit organization that was created about 35 years ago and allows students to submit one application to multiple schools.

“We serve students, member institutions and secondary schools by providing applications that students and school officials may submit to any of our over 500 members,” Blankson said. “Membership is open to colleges and universities that promote access by evaluating students using a holistic selection process.”

Blankson said the paper application was discontinued this year. While convenient, the online application is not without problems, she said. More than a week ago, students trying to apply to colleges may have experienced issues with logging in, credit card payments and compatibility with Google Chrome. Blankson said these problems affected application deadlines for some member colleges, but the issue has now been resolved.

“The application submissions are up 25 percent, an indication that the system is functioning properly for the majority of users,” she said.

Blankson added that member colleges include both national and international schools, with about 9 percent of 2012-13 applicants with a home address in another country. A few schools in Michigan use the Common Application, such as Hope College for transfer students. The University of Michigan also uses it as its sole application program.