The Common Application Addresses Systemic Racism

Over the years, we’ve been quite critical of The Common Application. We’re especially vocal around college admissions deadlines since The Common App. has a history of, well, going down at key moments. As an example, we had a student this past Regular Decision deadline who nearly fainted when the platform announced that an application deadline had expired when in fact it was hours before the deadline in the student’s time zone. Common App. ultimately got it together and fixed the issue but it couldn’t erase the stress the organization put on that student and the student’s family. But, today, we wish to applaud the organization behind the nation’s most relied upon college application. And why’s that? Because The Common App., as we previously reported but goes into effect today, finally dropped the disciplinary question, a question that for too long adversely impacted the cases for admission of so many deserving students, particularly underrepresented minorities.

The Common Application Removes the Discipline Prompt

A piece up on CNBC focuses on The Common Application’s decision to remove the disciplinary prompt.

As Abigail Johnson Hess reports for CNBC in a piece entitled “The Common App will officially no longer ask about students’ disciplinary records,” “Students will no longer be required to report whether they’ve been cited for a disciplinary violation at school. The change was announced in Sept. 2020 but officially goes into effect on Aug. 1.  ‘We want all students to feel supported by Common App regardless of where they are on their path to education attainment,’ says Jenny Rickard, president and CEO of Common App, in a statement. ‘This is about providing the tools and resources needed to meet more students where they are and help them navigate the path to and through college. Our hope is that the incremental changes we’ve made on the application this year will be a critical step in our collective effort to reduce barriers for students of color and those from low-income backgrounds.'”

We Salute The Common Application for the Bold Move

We salute Ms. Rickard and The Common App. for finally doing right by young people across our nation and around the world who deserve an opportunity to not be held back by a mistake they may have made years ago. In our experience, these often small, seemingly inconsequential mistakes too often have jeopardized the cases for admission of deserving students. But does a student smoking a cigarette on school property really warrant being denied admission at elite university after elite university after the student did everything else right? Does a student posting one somewhat salacious photo on social media really warrant being denied his dreams? We don’t think so. We think it’s a grey area yet too often admissions officers see the disciplinary history and just say no. When they receive so many applications for so few slots, they have the luxury of being picky. The Common App.’s move takes away some of these gatekeepers’ power because with great power comes great responsibility. And these gatekeepers have shown that they can’t handle it.

 
 

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