The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success was created to simplify the college application process for students by providing a centralized space to journey through the admissions process. As of now, 80 colleges are members including all the Ivys and top liberal arts colleges and publics with many more expected to join.
The Coalition will work much like The Common App does, giving students yet another application option. However, The Coalition boasts other tools that will help students of all income levels navigate the admissions process, and all member colleges are required to have a 70% 6-year graduation rate and be committed to either making tuition affordable or meeting the full, demonstrated financial need of admitted domestic students. The Coalition will include a virtual college locker allowing students starting in ninth grade to upload videos, photos, and written work. It still remains to be seen whether starting the college application process even earlier (students applying via The Common App create an account the summer before their senior year), will decrease stress or make it more rampant.
For answers to frequently asked questions about The Coalition, please click here.
We are all aware of the pressures students feel to achieve, and how they have resulted in devastating consequences in recent years. Unfortunately, the reality of the college admissions process ensures that only a small percentage of students get admitted to top schools. While this is unlikely to change, colleges are slowly working to transform the admissions process in an effort to temper the negative side effects students currently face, aiming to place more value on a students' overall character as expressed in their college essays and activity choices.
According to this article by the Washington Post, the report entitled Turning the Tide: Inspiring Concern for Others and the Common Good Through College Admissions, "lays out a blueprint for addressing three of the most intractable challenges facing college applicants today: excessive academic performance pressure, the emphasis on personal achievement over good citizenship, and the uneven opportunities available to students of varying income levels and backgrounds."
Frank Bruni's article Rethinking College Admissions, acknowledges that this is a step towards colleges taking responsibility for the messages they send out, though there are still many changes that need to follow:
Colleges are becoming more conscious of their roles — too frequently neglected — in social mobility. They’re recognizing how many admissions measures favor students from affluent families.
They’re realizing that many kids admitted into top schools are emotional wrecks or slavish adherents to soulless scripts that forbid the exploration of genuine passions. And they’re acknowledging the extent to which the admissions process has contributed to this.
But they still need to stop filling so much of each freshman class with specially tagged legacy cases and athletes and to quit worrying about rankings like those of U.S. News and World Report. Only then will the tide fully turn.