Focus Groups Guide “My Colleges” Screen Display

User tests have played a big role in the development of this year’s Common App. We’ve been collecting feedback from high school guidance counselors, independent college counselors, and college-bound students to pinpoint sections of the online application that can be refined to improve the user experience.

For example, we asked Dave Paganin, director of student services at Centreville High School in Fairfax, Virginia, to convene a group of his students to assist us in this effort. Here’s what he says:

“We gathered about 10 seniors and 10 juniors with a goal of getting them to talk about the application as they used it. A representative from Common App asked them about the placement of certain features and elements. The Common App developer then showed them different options for displaying the “My Colleges” screen that indicates your progress for each college you are applying to. It turned out that collectively, both the juniors and the seniors preferred the same choice.”

Chris White, member of the Common App Board of Directors, and director of college counseling at High Tech High, in San Diego, California, adds:

 “The Common App development team allowed several of my seniors and juniors to view two screen shots of potential solutions.  My students were asked to provide feedback as they reviewed the variation of green check marks, check boxes, and detailed instructions.  The gathering of the student feedback helped inform the developers as to which sets of variables made it most clear that specific components of the application were completed.”

A huge thank you to Centreville High School, High Tech High, and everyone else who is helping us to continually improve the process.

My Colleges Before



My Colleges After