Updated Common Application to Debut Next Summer (Chronicle of Higher Education)

The Common Application, which allows college-bound high school students to send out one application to many different schools, has had an $8 million makeover. The new online system has been designed to handle a growing number of applications from around the world, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Among the changes to the application is the absence of a “topic of your choice” as a possible essay topic. Some college admission counselors object to the loss of this prompt, saying it helps students express their creativity. At least one counselor, however, argues that removing the prompt “levels the playing field,” because all students will now be limited by the same questions.

Other changes include a tool that forces applicants to adhere to the minimum or maximum number of allowed essay words — 250 to 500. And the application will streamline the fee-waiver system, allowing students to indicate if they qualify just once instead of making multiple requests of different colleges.

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