The Common Application is most likely here to stay, and the benefits it provides applicants certainly outweigh the negatives. The application is, however, a bit of a challenge for many colleges. Because it is so easy to apply to multiple schools using the Common App, many colleges are finding that the number of applications they are receiving is going up, but the number of students they are matriculating is not. The Common Application makes it more challenging for colleges to predict the yield from their applicant pools, and as a result, many schools are forced to rely more heavily on waitlists . This uncertainly can come back to bite students who find themselves placed in waitlist limbo because colleges simply can't predict how many students will accept their offers of admission.
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Contrary to what is suggested in this column, both the Common App and the Universal College Application permit students to create alternate application forms and send specially-tailored test information to specific colleges or universities. For those students understanding the requirements of the schools to which they are applying, this is a reasonable way to address the problem of differing score report policies. Although this was not the original intention of the function, it works for this purpose. Again, it remains the responsibility of the student to conform to all score reporting policies—and that’s not always too easy.