Earlier this year, it was announced that by January of 2016 there will be a new way to apply to college. Coined the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success, the new program allows high school students beginning in 9th grade to build a digital portfolio of work from all four years in high school.
The idea behind the program is to engage low income and underrepresented students and minimize differences faced by high school students without counselors. This new program hopes to level the playing field by focusing more on a students' pieces of work from school rather than standardized test scores, which are usually impacted by more wealthy students hiring tutors. The new application also allows students to receive feedback on their portfolios.
80 colleges so far have agreed to join the Coalition including Ivy leagues, liberal arts colleges, and top public institutions. Specifically, some of the schools are Stanford, University of Virginia, Amherst, College of William and Mary, Cornell, and Duke to name a few. To be a part of the Coalition, colleges and universities must have a 70% 6-year graduation rate. In addition, public universities must have affordable in-state tuition, and private universities must have a commitment to meet full, demonstrated financial need for admitted students.
While this seems like an excellent way to engage students in the college process from earlier on, there are some potential downfalls. For instance, students may feel more pressure as ninth graders than ever before, knowing that their work will used in their college application. Also, it puts international students at a disadvantage because they may not decide to apply to U.S. colleges until late in to high school.
While this new program will become available, the Common Application will still remain an option.