Katherine Hazen '18News Editor
Smith College and 82 other institutions of higher education presented the Coalition Application, a new alternative to the standard Common Application, to the National Association for College Admission Counselors (NACAC) Conference in San Diego earlier this month.
Vice President of Enrollment for Smith, Audrey Smith along with two other board members of the Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, presented their work. The Coalition aims to launch the application in the summer of 2016, according to Smith.
“The conversation about developing a new application platform began two years ago when there were some challenges with the Common Application, which was the only form used by many schools, including Smith,” said Smith.
The Coalition and Common Applications differ mainly in that the Coalition has a “virtual locker” that is available to a student at the beginning of high school and would ensure a more holistic admissions process.
The “virtual locker” reflects the Coalition’s belief that “early engagement supports under-resourced students during the college preparation process,” according to a statement on their website.
However, some believe this may only add fuel to the fire that is the college application process.
The members of the Coalition, including neighboring schools, Amherst and Mount Holyoke consist of a “diverse group of public universities that have affordable tuition along with need-based financial aid for in-state residents and private colleges and universities that provide sufficient financial aid to see the full, demonstrated need of every domestic student they admit,” according to a press release from the Coalition.
“If planning tools were added to an application platform, more could be done to get low-income and first-generation students thinking about colleges like Smith and other Coalition schools that could serve them well,” said Smith.
“Making the tools free to students, families, counselors and teachers who did not have them through their schools could serve to help level the playing field in college admissions,” Smith added.
Many questions remain for the 83 partner institutions as a whole, such as the favorability of one application over the other or how the “virtual locker” component will be evaluated.
“Smith plans to accept both the Coalition Application and the Common Application, and will not give preference to one application over another,” said Smith. “Students should use the one that will work most effectively for them.”