The Common Application Launches New Transfer Application to Improve College Access for Millions of Bachelor’s Degree Seekers

Aug 14, 2018

More than 650 colleges and universities will offer the new Common App for transfer in 2018-19 application season

ARLINGTON, VA. (August 14, 2018) –According to the National Center for Education Statistics, only 15 percent of college students in the United States attend a 4-year institution and live on campus. The remaining 85 percent of students are a diverse group of adult learners, full-time employees, low-income students, students who commute to school, and working parents. These “post-traditional” students often face challenges during the college application process that make it difficult for them to access the full range of higher education options available to them.

Last year, The Common Application, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process, convened a group representing 2-year and 4-year colleges, student advocacy groups, and education policy experts to identify key barriers to access for post-traditional students. Their findings led to the development of a redesigned Common App for transfer which takes into account the unique circumstances of today’s transfer and adult student populations.

In the 2018-19 application year, more than 650 member colleges and universities will use the new Common App for transfer to improve the pathways and outcomes for bachelor’s degree seekers hoping to transfer from one 4-year college to another 4-year institution, those who want to transfer from a community college to a 4-year institution, active military members and veterans, online learners, as well as adults returning to school to complete their degree.

University of Lynchburg, located in Lynchburg, Virginia, is one of those institutions launching the new transfer application this year. “The University of Lynchburg is committed to the success of transfer students from the search process to their graduation and beyond,” said Rita Detwiler, Vice President for Enrollment Management, University of Lynchburg (VA). “We were honored to work with the Common App team to launch an application to serve their specific needs. The Common App for transfer provides a conduit for this critical student population to broaden their search to find the best fit college.”

Students can now explore hundreds of colleges and universities that will use the new transfer application and learn how to apply. Common App member institutions continue to be added to the search feature on as their programs go live with the transfer application. Students can also find the latest list of live Common App members accepting the new Common App for transfer in the Applicant Solutions Center along with additional resources.

Just as the support needs of transfer students often differ from those of traditional undergraduates, so too does the admissions process. For that reason, The Common Application and its membership of more than 800 colleges and universities worldwide set out to reimagine the transfer application process in collaboration with technology partner Liaison International, the leading graduate and professional admissions solution provider. Last year, The Common App convened a Transfer Advisory Committee that included a diverse pool of Common App member institutions, organizations with expertise in the transfer space including The Aspen Institute, and community colleges — where nearly 40 percent of transfer students start their higher education.

Transfer applicants are more likely to be first-generation students, often having to overcome the barriers of balancing their education with job and family responsibilities. For the 2017-18 college application year, 38 percent of transfer students using the Common App were the first in their families to apply to college. The organization and its members recognized that in order to help transfer students realize their potential and pursue their bachelor’s degrees, The Common App needed to provide them with an application that’s relevant to their life story while also making the process of applying more efficient by simplifying the way fee waivers, transcripts, and other documents are submitted.

“One of the best things we can do to increase educational attainment — especially for underserved populations — is to ensure the transfer admissions process works well for everyone; we must make it a top priority,” said Jon Boeckenstedt, Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing, DePaul University (IL).

DePaul University, a founding member of the Transfer Advisory Committee, was one of nine early adopter institutions of the new Common App for transfer to further reach the large population of student veterans who transfer from local community colleges.

“DePaul is a top destination for veteran students in Chicago; we have 600 student vets on our campus, and 25 percent are over 24 years old,” said Jim Rohde, Assistant Director of Transfer Admission and Adult Enrollment, DePaul University (IL). “We’re excited for The Common App’s new transfer application because we understand the needs of this significant group of adult learners. Now is the time to ensure that those who’ve served our country feel welcomed during the college admission process and are aware of their options — especially with the recent expansion of the GI Bill.”

Some of the new enhancements delivered in the Common App for transfer enable institutions to provide students with:

  • Targeted application experience via the Extended Profile that includes tailored pathways and programs based on age, goals, degree status, and credits earned.
  • Prerequisite coursework feature, so applicants can select courses they completed to apply toward prerequisite requirements for a given academic program.
  • Expanded document collection to centralize collection of documents, including those applicable to transfer applicants such as DD214, Joint Services Transcript, and financial transcript.
  • Tracking of experiences and achievements that allows transfer applicants to report volunteer, internship, and work experience, as well as any awards or honors they’ve accumulated outside of the classroom.
  • Common App Recommendation Portal, so applicants can choose recommender types: Academic, Professional, Personal, and deliver a personal message with deadline date to each recommender.
  • Additionally, with centralized transcript collection, applicants using the new transfer application need only to request transcripts from their most recent institutions — where they were previously or are currently enrolled — once, thus reducing transcript request fees and time spent completing their applications. Transcripts are easily scanned, verified and attached to the applicant’s record.

“When many people think about today’s college student, they may picture a recent high school graduate living on campus. In reality, she has a full-time job and a family to support. She may be a returning military veteran seeking a new career. Or, she may have a variety of other life circumstances that have prevented her from pursuing a direct path to her future,” said Jenny Rickard, President & CEO of The Common Application. “We’re committed to providing better pathways and equitable opportunities for the talented and growing group of individuals who didn’t take the so-called ‘traditional’ path to college but are determined to achieve their educational goals. The Common App and our members are just as determined to meet these applicants where they are in their lives and help them pursue their dreams.”

Over the last three decades, Liaison has helped over 40,000 programs on more than 1,200 campuses more effectively manage admissions through its Centralized Application Service (CAS™) technology and complementary application processing and support services. The higher education technology leader supports its partner institutions’ total enrollment goals by pairing CAS with its Enrollment Marketing (EM) platform as well as the recently acquired TargetX (CRM) and advanced analytics software Othot.