Applying to College: Making a Stressful Process Empowering and Equitable

by | Feb 12, 2021 | Entrance Requirements

For decades, it’s been widely accepted that applying to college is a hard, stressful and time-consuming process. Students can easily spend months on university preparation and the application process, as well as thousands of dollars in application fees. Parents aren’t always sure which universities are the best fit for their students’ needs and qualifications. The anxiety is real, and when students receive rejection letters, it can be crushing.

There’s got to be a better way.

College admissions made easy: Less testing, more talking

The bureaucratic, time-consuming and unpredictable admissions process needs to be streamlined to help students understand and access their best fit higher education options. Due to the pandemic, many universities waived SAT and ACT score requirements and the College Board got rid of SAT essays and subject tests. These are positive steps towards simplification, but it’s not enough. Better tools and systems are needed to help cut through all the mass marketing, and connect students and parents with the right higher education options that fit their personal, academic, and financial requirements.

Direct dialogue between high school counselors and university admissions helps students break through the stacks of applicants. Having a system where counselors can advocate on behalf of students increases their chances of standing out and ultimately getting accepted.

Flipping the script on the admissions: universities come to students with offers

Recognizing that college admissions needs to be fixed, Concourse works like a cross between the Common App and a dating app. Working directly with their high school counselors, students create comprehensive profiles that university admissions officers can peruse. No more long applications or essays, just a form that takes about 20 minutes. Based on the profile, universities come to students with admission offers if they fit based on skills, interests, and budget. The success rate is impressive, with 95% of students receiving on average 4.2 offers for less than the cost of a single traditional application fee.

University admissions officers see anonymized profiles — no names, contact information, images, or other personal information — which eliminates racial or other bias. Assessments are based solely on the students’ credentials. This also protects students’ privacy and prevents them from getting unsolicited emails.

Once a month, Concourse hosts an event called Global Clearing where university admissions officers make their best offers to qualified students. Upon receiving each offer, students can book meetings directly with university representatives to learn more about the program being offered, explore the opportunity, and get personally acquainted.

Study abroad: Open up a world of possibilities

The best-fit university may not be in your state, or even your country. Being open to places that you may not have considered or even knew existed can result in a rewarding higher education experience. Concourse works with high schools in 93 countries, helping students explore higher education institutions around the world like the University of Adelaide (Australia), Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), and the University of Auckland (New Zealand). Concourse allows students to discover a wide range of higher education institutions from multiple countries, often with scholarships available. Sixty-percent of students have been awarded scholarships totaling $24 million.

The college admissions journey doesn’t need to be a painful “assessment” process filled with demoralizing rejection. Instead, it can be an empowering discovery process, where students can explore opportunities, expand their horizons and find higher education options that fit their areas of interest and budget.

See the original article, published on Parenting for College.