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The Common Application Launches New Transfer App

A new app designed to aid the transition of transfer students will be used by more than 650 colleges and universities for the 2018-19 academic year.

Last year, The Common Application, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to access, equity and integrity in the college admission process, convened a group representing two-year and four-year colleges, student advocacy groups and education policy experts to identify major barriers to access for post-traditional students. Their findings led to the development of a redesigned Common App for transfer that takes into account the unique circumstances of today’s transfer and adult student populations.

Jenny RickardJenny Rickard

Only 15 percent of college students in the United States attend a four-year institution and live on campus, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The remaining 85 percent are a diverse group of adult learners, full-time employees, low-income students, commuters and working parents. These so-called post-traditional students often face challenges during the college application process that make it difficult for them to access the full range of higher education options available.

Schools will use the transfer app to improve the pathways and outcomes for bachelor’s degree-seekers hoping to transfer from one four-year college to another four-year institution or from a community college to a four-year institution, or who are active military members, veterans, online learners and adults returning to school to complete a degree.

Students can now explore hundreds of colleges and universities that will use the new transfer application and learn how to apply. Common App member institutions continue to be added to the search feature on as their programs go live with the transfer application. Students can also find the latest list of live Common App members accepting the new Common App for transfer in the Applicant Solutions Center along with additional resources.

Just as the support needs of transfer students often differ from those of traditional undergraduates, so, does the admissions process. That prompted The Common Application and its membership of more than 800 colleges and universities worldwide to reimagine the transfer application process in collaboration with technology partner Liaison International. Last year, The Common App convened a Transfer Advisory Committee that included a diverse pool of Common App member institutions, organizations with expertise in the transfer space including The Aspen Institute and community colleges where nearly 40 percent of transfer students start their higher education.

Transfer applicants are more likely to be first-generation students, often having to overcome the barriers of balancing their education with job and family responsibilities. For the 2017-18 college application year, 38 percent of transfer students using the Common App were the first in their families to apply to college. The organization and its members recognized that in order to help transfer students realize their potential and pursue their bachelor’s degrees, The Common App needed to provide them with an application that’s relevant to their life story while also making the process of applying more efficient by simplifying the way fee waivers, transcripts, and other documents are submitted.

Some of the new enhancements to the app enable institutions to provide students with targeted application experience via the Extended Profile that includes tailored pathways and programs based on age, goals, degree status, and credits earned; a prerequisite coursework feature so that applicants can select courses they completed to apply toward prerequisite requirements for a given academic program; expanded document collection to centralize collection of documents, including those applicable to transfer applicants such as DD214, Joint Services Transcript, and financial transcript; and tracking of experiences and achievements that allows transfer applicants to report volunteer, internship and work experience, as well as any awards or honors they’ve accumulated outside of the classroom.

“When many people think about today’s college student, they may picture a recent high school graduate living on campus,” said Jenny Rickard, president and CEO of The Common Application. “In reality, she has a full-time job and a family to support. She may be a returning military veteran seeking a new career. Or, she may have a variety of other life circumstances that have prevented her from pursuing a direct path to her future,

“We’re committed to providing better pathways and equitable opportunities for the talented and growing group of individuals who didn’t take the so-called “traditional” path to college but are determined to achieve their educational goals. The Common App and our members are just as determined to meet these applicants where they are in their lives and help them pursue their dreams.”

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