The University of Oregon is joining the Common Application, a move that will make it easier for thousands of prospective students who apply to several schools in addition to the UO.
The Common Application started in 1975, but the UO will be the first public institution on the West Coast to join the organization. Beginning in August, students seeking freshman admission will still be able to use the UO’s own application or choose the Common Application, which is accepted by more than 700 member schools in the U.S. and beyond.
“By participating in the Common Application, we anticipate significantly growing the number of prospective students with UO on their radar,” said Roger Thompson, vice president for student services and enrollment management. “By making it simpler to apply, students and families who might not have considered us before will be more likely to take that next step.”
Jim Rawlins, the university’s director of admissions and assistant vice president of enrollment management, said the change will be particularly valuable at the UO, which receives more than 20,000 applications a year for freshman admission. That’s the most of any institution in the state of Oregon.
“However, no student ever claimed that filling out the application itself was the most enjoyable part of the experience, especially if they’ve been applying to a large number of colleges in total,” he said. “They feel like they answer the same questions again and again.”
The Common Application serves a growing number and variety of colleges across the country and provides students, families and school counselors a variety of tools, resources and efficiencies to ease the application process. In academic year 2015–16, approximately 947,000 students used the Common Application to submit more than 4 million applications for college admission.
While many in-state students might continue using the UO’s own application, the university predicts that the opposite will happen with the 80 percent of Oregon’s applications that come from out of state or beyond the U.S.
“For several years, counselors and students around the country have let us know they would prefer having this more streamlined option,” Rawlins said. “We are not only responding to this demand but hoping that our many in-state applicants will find this a helpful resource in their college application and search process.”
In the coming months, UO admissions staff will be conducting workshops around the state. Students and their families — and the counselors who work with them — will have an opportunity to learn more about the Common Application.
“Because the Common Application is used by a variety of institutions from coast to coast, its availability may also make it easier for first-generation or low-income students in Oregon to connect with a group of schools that includes liberal arts colleges, Ivy League schools, 10 historically black colleges and universities, as well as a variety of other public and private institutions who are the UO’s fellow members in the Association of American Universities,” Thompson said. “Last year, 33 percent of students using the Common Application would be the first generation in their family to earn a college degree.”