MISSOULA – The University of Montana is the state’s only public university on the Common Application, an online platform that more than 1 million students use to apply to college.
An educational nonprofit, the Common Application provides a single application portal to more than 800 colleges and universities in 20 countries.
For students without resources to pay for multiple, separate college application fees, the Common Application is a popular tool for exploring higher education. In addition to college applications, the platform also shares schools’ admission requirements, tuition scales, and academic and student lifestyle offerings. About one-third of applicants who use the Common Application are first-generation college students, and the platform also serves transfer student applicants.
UM Undergraduate Admissions Director Emily Ferguson-Steger said UM has been on the Common Application for about a month, generating 30 admitted UM students so far.
“I’m really excited for UM to be part of such an amazing program that empowers students to apply to a multiplicity of schools,” Steger said. “Today’s student applies to between six and eight schools and having UM on the Common App places us at their fingertips, so we’re really meeting them where they are.”
Steger said UM worked with the Common Application to ensure UM’s homegrown application and the platform’s central application are similar. Cindy Ferguson, UM analyst for Enrollment Services Systems, also worked to parallel the Common Application’s system with UM’s digital structure.
“In that sense, we’re not asking more of them,” Steger said. “We worked to align our application requirements with that of the Common App so that applying to UM is not a duplicitous effort or a roadblock of any kind.”
Placing students at the very center of all work performed at UM is President Seth Bodnar’s top priority of five priorities. Steger said UM’s inclusion on the Common Application reflects this priority exactly.
“Essentially, we’re providing access to UM at the fingertips of interested students, who are already applying to several schools,” Steger said. “We expect to see an increase in matriculation and look forward to welcoming a new cohort of students to UM.”
Including UM on the Common Application actively supports the University’s mission of public access for all, said Cathy Cole, UM vice president for enrollment and strategic communications.
“Certainly, we’re proud to recruit in our backyard, as we want to be top-choice for our Montana students,” Cole said. “But part of our enrollment strategy also is to recruit our best-fit students, using various strategies. As we know Generation Z, the students we are currently working with, are tech-natives. They absolutely want to use technology to engage with us. The Common App gives us one more channel in which to engage with them.”
The Common Application includes 68 institutions of higher education in the West. To visit UM’s application profile, click http://bit.ly/2v11oYZ.