Commitment to Increasing College Access

The Common Application Board of Directors today approved a revised mission statement that will guide organizational priorities into the future.  Held at the fall meeting of the Board of Directors, the vote follows a nearly yearlong engagement with enrollment deans and admission offices from the 549 colleges and universities that are The Common Application.

The revised mission statement, which goes into effect officially on July 1, 2015, reads: “The Common Application is a not-for-profit, member organization committed to the pursuit of access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process.”

The Board unanimously approved the statement to more accurately articulate The Common Application’s focus on increasing access.  “Our Membership expressly asked us to better define the vision of their organization,” said Paul Mott, Interim Chief Executive Officer.  Specifically, an overwhelming majority of Members agreed that there should be a greater focus on access, equity, and integrity – three ideals central to the organizational mission and forty-year history as the innovator and standard-bearer for a shared application.  “The refocused mission statement speaks to our commitment to reducing the barriers – especially those created by the pointless friction in the admission process – to a college education and how The Common Application can mobilize the collective strength of our Membership to truly increase college access, especially for underserved students.”

The last major revision to the mission statement came in 2001, when the then Board of Directors approved the inclusion of the statement “Membership is open to colleges and universities that promote access by evaluating students using a holistic selection process.”  At that time the organization began to require explicitly that all Members evaluate an applicant based on at least one untimed essay and a letter of recommendation.

Although the holistic selection criterion is no longer in the mission statement, The Common Application embraces the principle of a well-rounded review.  “We understand that many institutions practice holistic review and selection in various ways.  By moving away from the very prescribed definition, we support our Members in evaluating applicants through the admissions process that works best for them – be it a resume, a video essay, an interview, or other as yet untapped approaches,” said Eric J. Furda, Board of Directors Chair and Dean of Admissions at the University of Pennsylvania.