The dreaded college application process has caused sleepless nights for many high school students, but students looking to apply to USC in the future might be able to breathe a little easier.
USC will be joining the Common Application’s 2011-12 admission cycle, along with 48 other institutions.
USC’s Office of Admission, lead by Dean of Admission Timothy Brunold, has been working with the Common Application for many years to switch from the in-house online application to the Common Application.
“[The USC admission staff] wanted to be more responsive to the people we work with,” Brunold said. “High school guidance counselors and students would ask why we didn’t accept the Common App and when we were going to.”
Changing the application procedure is expected to increase efficiency and make it easier on students and guidance counselors, according to Kirk Brennan, USC’s director of Admission.
“The Common App will save [guidance counselors and prospective students] from many steps and from repeating themselves [in applications],” Brunold said.
In applying to multiple institutions, high school guidance counselors and teachers will only have to submit letters of recommendation, transcripts and evaluations once through Common Application’s online portal.
Brunold said there will be a USC supplement to the Common Application.
“The form is a starting point and we are in the process of creating the supplement … it will be very similar to what we are already asking students,” Brunold said.
Current USC students agree the switch will bring increased efficiency to the application process.
“I wish the Common App was available when I applied because it always felt like I was filling out the same form twice,” said Kathleen Colao, a freshman majoring in heath promotion and disease prevention. “It will be beneficial for applicants and relieve some stress in applying to college.”
USC has been fine-tuning its own online application for close to 20 years, and the new Common Application form will take significant work to perfect, according to Brennan.
“If you look at the top 20 universities according to US News [& World Report,] all of them, except MIT, participate in the Common App. It has become a growing trend over the years,” said Gene Bickers, vice provost for undergraduate programs.
In switching to the Common App, USC’s admissions office hopes to increase the number and diversity of students from different geographical locations, ethnicities and economic backgrounds, according to Brennan.
“By joining our not-for-profit association of colleges, USC will have access to 700,000 college applicants next year, one-third of whom are students of color, one-fourth of whom are first generation college students and one-tenth of whom are international students,” said Rob Killion, executive director for Common Application, Inc.
Some USC students said they think the transition to the Common Application will enhance the students USC can attract.
“Converting to the Common App is a good thing,” said Meredith Reed, a sophomore majoring in philosophy. “The new application will make it easier for more students to apply, which will result in a greater student body diversity.”
The Office of Admissions is confident in its decision to switch to the Common Application, according to Brunold.
“[The switch] was not an easy decision,”Brennan said. “If we [USC admissions] don’t do it carefully we will lose the personalized feel of our application.”
Applicants will be able to access the Common Application beginning August 1.
Prospective graduate students will continue to use USC’s online application portal.