Let’s make the Common Application the common application

Emily Caldwell

“OK, so you need two essays and three short answer responses for this application and three essays and two short answer responses for this one. Oh, and it looks like the prompts are different, so you can’t just copy and paste.”

I recently helped my sister, a senior in high school, fill out college applications. With some schools on one application platform and others with their own, applying to college can quickly become an ordeal. 

If UT, one of the highest-ranked public universities in the nation, truly cares about facilitating its application process, making resources available to its applicants, and attracting the most diverse application pool possible, it needs to make its application for admission available on the Common Application.  

As of right now, potential incoming students — both freshmen and transfers — can apply for admission to UT using the ApplyTexas application. Miguel Wasielewski, the executive director of admissions, said it’s been that way for 20 years, and the University is mandated by Texas law to accept the ApplyTexas application. 

However, Wasielewski said UT’s Office of Admissions has recently added the Coalition for College application as a new option for potential incoming freshmen and transfer students to apply for admission. Wasielewski said the Office of Admissions is committed to providing resources and options to its students, which in part inspired the office to adopt this new application method. 

While the adoption of this new application method is a step in the right direction, the University still can, and should, do more. 

To ease the overall workload that comes with applying to colleges — a workload that rests solely on applicants and their families — and potentially diversify UT’s applicant pool, UT should go one step further and make its application available on the Common Application. With 869 schools currently using the Common App, UT would be joining a large and diverse community of universities and allow more potential students access to its application. 

According to Wasielewski, the Office of Admissions has considered allowing applicants to use the Common Application before, but decided against it. As the Office saw it, allowing students to use the Common Application would only increase the number of out-of-state applicants and create more competition for all incoming student applicants. 

“Texas is different in the way that we’re legislatively mandated that 90% of the students that enroll every year have to be Texas residents,” Wasielewski said. “When you think about the fact that adding in the Common Application would substantially boost your out-of-state applications, that doesn’t necessarily become the best fit for us.”

However, this reasoning seems to only consider the potential workload faced by UT’s Office of Admissions, not that of student applicants. Why would the only students applying to UT using the Common Application be applying from out-of-state?

I interviewed three in-state students currently attending UT, all of whom used the Common Application to apply to colleges and universities both within Texas and out-of-state, and all of whom had to create a separate ApplyTexas application to apply to UT. 

Varij Shah, an international relations & global studies freshman, said he applied to 12 schools, including two schools in Texas, using the Common Application. Fabiha Mohin, an international relations and global studies senior, applied to four schools using the Common Application, and Taylor Newman, a journalism senior, applied to a public school far larger than UT using the Common Application — Ohio State University. 

All three said that if the Common Application would have been an option during their application process, they would have used it. All three agreed that if UT were to adopt the Common Application, it would benefit future UT applicants. 

Instead of attempting to avoid an excess of applications, UT should instead prioritize providing more accessible application resources to its out-of-state and in-state students.

Caldwell is a Latin American studies and journalism junior from College Station.