A Salute to The Common Application

Ivy Coach salutes The Common Application for their embrace of the LGBTQ+ community.

Yes, you read that headline correctly. We’re saluting The Common Application, a company we historically love to poke fun at when, say, their platform goes down as college applicants are applying at deadlines. So why are we saluting Common App. today? Because the organization through which millions of students apply to hundreds of colleges demonstrated their support for transgender applicants recently. Any move by an organization with a footprint in college admissions that makes the admissions process more inclusive deserves our praise. So what did Common App. do exactly?

As Scott Jaschik reports for Inside Higher Ed in a piece entitled “Common App Adds Questions for Trans Students,” “The application will:

  • Add a question to provide applicants with the option to share their preferred first name.
  • Add a pronoun question to give students the option to multiselect or add a pronoun set.
  • Shift the presentation of a question from ‘sex’ to ‘legal sex’ to reduce student confusion.

The changes are all designed by thinking of the ways to avoid making certain applicants feel excluded. The last change is designed to replace an earlier effort at inclusion for trans students. The application has asked about ‘sex at birth.’ That question ignored that some trans students have had their legal status changed by the time they apply to college. The question was first changed to ‘sex’ and now will be changed to ‘legal sex.'”

We applaud The Common Application for their efforts to make it known that their platform is for everyone. For too long, the application didn’t give a space for transgender applicants to identify as they wish. But, well, the times they are a-changin’ — for the better. Of course, it’s in Common App.’s business interest to embrace the LGBTQ+ community since the vast majority of their customers, the hundreds of subscribing colleges, care deeply about LGBTQ+ rights. But whether it’s in their business interest or not, Common App. still is doing right with these important changes.


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