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The Beautiful Empathy of Common App’s New Direct Admissions Program

Applying to college can be an intimidating and humbling experience. Even more so for the student who may be the first in their family to consider going to a university. Lots of things can happen along the way to cause a young person to question their credentials and perhaps abandon the whole process. Now through a newly announced program, a student who just “created a Common App account and provided enough academic information” (but has not yet completed their application) can be offered admission directly to one of 70 participating colleges and universities.

This proactive program to give students an acceptance before they even finish their application could be a game changer. Not only for helping students to “know they are worthy and welcomed on a college campus,” as the press announcement suggests but also through the boost of confidence getting an acceptance somewhere might offer for a student to devote more time and attention to their application to get into even more schools. 

Early results of the program show that the “impacts of the intervention were strongest for Black or African American, Latinx, and First-generation students” with more than 33,000 offers made to students already. In a time when we constantly hear about the unaffordability of college, this sort of program is a sadly rare but welcome example of how to actually make the opportunity of college more inclusive. 

Watch my interview with Jeff Selingo, author of Who Gets In and Why, which takes you inside the college admissions process and offers an unusual look at how to really get into college and what mistakes to avoid.

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