If you’re a regular reader of our college admissions blog, you know that we’ve been very tough on the Common Application this year, even questioning whether or not the company is restraining trade. We can’t think of a year in which the company has made more mistakes and experienced more public embarrassments than this past college admissions cycle. And so it should come as no surprise that the person at the helm of the Common App. for the last decade, Rob Killion, is out and a new interim CEO has been appointed. The new interim CEO is Paul B. Mott, a Dartmouth alumnus who is a former Williams College assistant director of admissions and, most recently, marketing and communications consultant to Stanford’s office of undergraduate admissions.
According to an article on the Common App. change in leadership in “The Examiner,” “In an email forwarded to Common App members, Thyra Briggs, president of the board of directors and vice president for admission and financial aid at Harvey Mudd College, quotes colleagues who describe Mr. Mott as ‘smart, thoughtful, analytical and a clear communicator.’ She goes on to characterize him as a ‘leader in organizations going through transition.'” Well, the Common App. is certainly an organization going through transition. That’s one way to put it!
This past year, thousands of high school students attempting to submit their applications to colleges experienced glitches with their applications. Thousands submitted help tickets to the Common App. only to get no responses. Thousands tried to click ‘save’ when the Common App. tried to shut down by itself only for these students to realize…there was no ‘save’ button! These are but a couple of the many, many mistakes the Common App. made this year that severely damaged their reputation and cost them some marketshare.
The appointment of a new CEO — even an interim one — is good news for high school applicants and for colleges across the country. The Common App. needs to make some major changes and it should start at the very top. This is a good indicator that they’re listening to our criticism. But, then again, we already knew they were!