App Fallacy," a columnist New York University's Washington Square News argues wisdom Common Application college application process. You read essay college newspaper; opportunity responds.
The fallacy of "The Common App Fallacy"
The Common Application is a standardized application that makes it very easy for college students to apply to a multitude of schools, all of which use its basic format. A student merely has to fill out the forms associated with the Common Application once and then can send the form electronically to a wide range of institutions spanning from Cornell University to the University of Miami to The College of New Jersey. According to NYU student Damon Beres, it has made it too easy to apply to college, particularly competitive colleges, with a touch of a 'send' button. Beres cites statistics which indicate only a very tiny minority of highly qualified students are able to get into the Harvards and Yales of the world. Beres sees this as an injustice: by encouraging too many people to apply to too many schools using the Common Application, many of his fellow, qualified students are being turned away. Beres' solution and logic is simple: do away with this universal app and numbers will magically decrease and so will competition to get into the nation's top colleges. However, despite his impressive academic pedigree as an NYU undergraduate, Beres' logic is extremely flawed.
First and foremost, Beres' analysis does not take into account the full reality of applying to an elite school through the Common Application. Almost all of the major colleges that accept the Common Application (including NYU) require applicants to write extensive and detailed supplementary essays in support of their candidacy. While it may indeed be easier for students to apply to a few less-competitive schools on the Common Application that do not require supplementary materials, this would not solve what Beres sees as the main problem facing academia today, namely an overabundance of applicants for elite institutions, which he feels makes competition absurdly high even for the most hard-working and intellectually gifted of seniors.
Having separate applications would merely mean students would have to fill in their identifying name and school information on different forms for NYU, Harvard, Dartmouth, and so forth. This would be unlikely to deter an applicant from applying who had been honing his or her high school resume in the hopes of being accepted at a top school. In other words, it is assuming that the most competitive candidates are so lazy they will not bother to fill in a few extra lines on a separate application and will reduce the number of schools they apply to as a result. (Remember, they already have to do the 'hard work' of writing extra essays to apply to these schools, even using the Common Application). Finally, the mere fact that applications are online facilitates the process. Even if there was no Common Application, students can still fill out an online form with far greater ease than a paper form, thus increasing the potential they will apply to more schools (based upon Beres' logic). The Internet enables students to research a wider variety of schools than…
Sources Used in Document:
Beres, Damon. "The Common App Fallacy." Washington Square News, 22 Jan 2008:1-2.