Soon, high school seniors will start filling out college applications. A group called the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is trying to make it easier for students to get a head start.
The coalition offers students free, unlimited digital storage where they can track their performance throughout high school. For example, they can include awards, essays and grades starting in ninth grade.
“The idea is that at the end of high school, the college application process becomes a byproduct of having done things right all along,” coalition executive director Annie Reznik says.
Then, students can apply to any of the 134 colleges in the coalition using one basic application. In Georgia, students can submit one application to UGA, Emory and Georgia Tech.
“There’s a really good blog that the University of Georgia put out that compares it to a pizza, where 70 percent of all pizzas are going to be the same, but each college really puts their own flavor or spin on the toppings or attributes of the final product of that application — or pizza,” Reznik says.
Colleges that join the coalition have to meet certain eligibility requirements. For one, they need to commit to helping underserved students gain access to and finish college.
“You can apply to any of these schools and know that if you are admitted that it will be affordable for you to go, and the rates and the likelihood of you succeeding are high,” says Rick Clark, Georgia Tech’s director of undergraduate admission.
Clark says the coalition’s approach could help first-generation college students meet application deadlines.
“Students from underrepresented populations, they’re later testers. This deadline, and this sort of compressed timeline, sneaks up on them.”
He says a more protracted process will help those students prepare.