The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday January 17th

UNC may switch to the Common Application

Rise in number of applications likely

This year’s applicants to the University could be the last to submit applications without the Common Application.

On Tuesday — the last day to submit applications to join the class of 2015 — the undergraduate admissions advisory committee discussed the possibility of adopting the Common Application this fall.

More than 400 universities currently use the Common Application in an effort to simplify the college admissions process.

“It allows the student to fill out an application one time and then to choose the colleges among those members of the group to submit the application to,” said Barbara Polk, deputy director of undergraduate admissions.

UNC would expect an increase of 15 to 20 percent in total applicants if the Common Application were enacted, Polk said, adding that peer institutions such as the University of Virginia and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor experienced similar increases when they adopted the application.

Triangle-area schools such as Duke University and Meredith College in Raleigh have already adopted the Common Application.

“Most of the top-tier colleges in the country use the Common Application, and we’re one of the few that don’t,” Polk said. “That isn’t necessarily good for the positioning of the University.”

Schools that use the program have the ability to create a supplemental form, which allows them to customize their application by adding additional essays or short questions.

David Ravenscraft, an associate dean in the Kenan-Flagler Business School, said the supplement could act as a means of controlling the increase in applications the Common Application would bring.

“You can control how many more applications you will get by controlling the supplementary,” he said.

At UNC, the supplement could also be used to steer students into the honors program or into other extracurricular activities, Polk said.

The University will hear back in February on whether they have been officially admitted to the Common Application group, but committee members expressed confidence that UNC would gain admission.

“We are trying to plan carefully and not be caught surprised, but it would be wise for us to plan for a significant increase in applications,” said admissions director Steve Farmer.

If enacted, the Common Application would be available alongside the current application and the College Foundation of North Carolina application so that students would be able to choose their preferred option.

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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