The Common Application has intentions to add a question onto their ubiqutous application. The question is proposed to read as follows: “Where else are you applying?” Like many in the college admissions community, we at Ivy Coach believe this question to be preposterous and downright wrong. We’ve read a number of emails on the NACAC listserv over the past few days in which admissions officers, high school counselors, and private college counselors have voiced their displeasure with the question. And indeed we echo their sentiments, but there is one point we’d like to make that nobody seems to have made.
The fact is that many colleges find out the other universities students are applying to already, even though this question doesn’t yet exist on the Common Application. And how’s that? Well, rogue alumni interviewers quite often ask students which other schools they’re applying to. Even if these alumni interviewers are instructed by their alma maters explicitly not to ask this question, many do so anyway. And they then write down the other colleges a student’s applying to in their evaluation forms. While colleges may say this doesn’t matter, the fact is that they read what alumni interviewers write. That list of colleges goes into their heads.
So while we believe the Common Application should certainly not add this question to the application (what business is it of anyone’s but the student’s?), we also believe that colleges should better police their alumni interviewers. We’re tired of hearing that this question was asked in alumni interviews and we’ve trained our students over the years how best to answer this prompt on the fly.
We strongly urge Common App. to reconsider adding this prompt!