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Common App for Transfer Streamlines Application Process for Non-Traditionals

The Common Application for Transfer has hit the ground running with hundreds of colleges and universities participating in time for the 2018-2019 application season. The new service is intended to bring the convenience of the Common Application to transfer or "post-traditional" students. Students who set up a Common App for Transfer account will be able to fill out a single application and compile one set of supporting documents and have them apply to multiple programs at participating schools. It was developed by the Common Application and Liaison International, both of which have experience in simplifying the college application process. The Common Application is a nonprofit member organization that runs the long-standing service enabling students to fill out a single undergraduate application and have it sent to any number of participating schools. Liaison provides the same "Common Application Service," or CAS, for graduate schools.

The new app will enable people to simplify the process for transfer, whether the student is moving from a community college to a four-year school, enrolling during or after military service or just returning to school as a working adult to finish his or her degree. So far, 650 colleges and universities have signed up to participate.

Common App for Transfer

The process of developing the new transfer application began last year, when the two organizations convened a gathering of institutions, student advocacy groups and education policy experts to examine the barriers for people who are returning to school rather than coming in fresh from high school. As the group discussed, transfer applicants are more likely to be first-generation students who balance work and family responsibilities alongside school.

One such school, Illinois' DePaul University, said making sure the transfer admissions process works well for everyone is a top priority. According to Jim Rohde, assistant director of transfer admission and adult enrollment, the university is especially attractive to veterans wishing to become students. "We have 600 student vets on our campus, and 25 percent are over 24 years old." The campus is "excited" for the new transfer application, he added in a statement, because "we understand the needs of this significant group of adult learners. Now is the time to ensure that those who've served our country feel welcomed during the college admission process and are aware of their options — especially with the recent expansion of the GI Bill."

Virginia's University of Lynchburg said it's participating through a commitment to "the success of transfer students from the search process to their graduation and beyond." As Rita Detwiler, vice president for enrollment management, explained, "the Common App for Transfer provides a conduit for this critical student population to broaden their search to find the best fit college."

The new online service includes these features:

  • The ability for institutions to develop "extended profiles" to ask an applicant for information about goals, degree status and credits earned;
  • A prerequisite coursework feature, to let applicants specify the courses they've completed that could apply toward prerequisite requirements;
  • Expanded document collection to cover DD214 and Joint Services transcripts;
  • Tracking of experiences and achievements to enable applicants to report volunteer, internship and work experience, along with awards or honors earned outside of the classroom;
  • A "recommendation portal," to allow applicants to choose recommender types — high school official, academic, professional and personal — and the ability to write and deliver a personal message with a deadline date to each recommender; and
  • A centralized transcript collection, which lets applicants request transcripts from the most recent institutions just once, and have them used by every institution they apply to.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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