The Common Application aka Common App is a centralized digital application site that serves over 900 colleges and universities. The process of filling out these forms, however, proves difficult for many families. In response to alarming enrollment trends following the effects of the pandemic, the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA) announced the AXS Companion to Common App. Let’s discuss exactly what the AXS Companion is and how it might affect the way you approach your college application process.
First things first
Firstly: the Common App was intended to make students’ lives easier by centralizing many individual versions of the same information into one place. And while filling out a lengthy form beats filling out a lot of similar lengthy forms, that doesn’t mean the task is easy. Difficulty understanding the requirements (and how to navigate them successfully) is common—especially for first-generation applicants. In addition, those from underrepresented backgrounds are disproportionately affected by a lack of support and guidance for such tasks in-school.
“According to Common App, approximately one-third of their applicants are first-generation students. The COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbated challenges facing under-resourced students. Closed schools meant reduced or no access to counselors, as well as limited opportunities for support from fellow students and teachers. Last year, Common App reports, 700,000 high school seniors created accounts on their platform but never completed an application.”PRWeb
The AXS Companion
The AXS companion (pronounced “access companion”) is a free online resource developed in partnership with Oregon State University. The project aims to reduce barriers to college admissions for under-resourced students. The guide consists of 50+ video modules and illustrations, created by counselors, to walk students through the application form correctly.
In fact, the creators predict that the guide will be fully approved and running for students in the Fall 2023 admission cycle—access beginning in September 2022. Until then, you can view their website and an introductory video at <https://vimeo.com/716453197/4289686c79>. For the most updated information about deadlines and the Common App itself, visit <https://www.commonapp.org/>.
What can I do?
While these resources have great potential for the Common App, other institutions don’t rely on the Common App at all. Ultimately, staying organized and planning ahead are two key factors to success. In addition, we encourage families to incorporate individual college counseling into their high schooler’s education plans. A counselor working one-on-one with a student to build a valuable mentor relationship throughout high school leads to the most customized, nuanced advice. Creating a strategy for your overall college application process gives you better oversight and time management as you work through the senior year.
The big picture
At Empowerly, our counselors are experts in not only guiding students through the Common App but also developing their applicant profile through extracurricular projects and stellar essays. For these elements, it’s never too early to start; we work with students as young as middle school. Our goal is to help students become the best version of themselves and put their best foot forward in the admissions process. Every student deserves a great future.