Stanford adopts Common App to make application simpler for students

Students applying to Stanford University will now be able to use the Common Application, and regular decision applications will now be due on Jan. 1.

Stanford Dean of Admissions Richard Shaw announced this week that the decision is meant to make the application process more convenient for students, who previously were required to complete a Stanford-specific application and apply by Dec. 15. Students using the Common App will also have to submit a Stanford-specific application supplement.

Dean of Admissions Jeff Brenzel said he agrees that the changes will improve the process for students applying to Stanford.

“I know Rick Shaw pretty well, and I expect that he intends their move to the Common App and to a Jan. 1 deadline to open access and make it easier for students to apply to Stanford by using an application and schedule already in widespread use by others,” he said. “This sounds to me like a good thing for Stanford and a good thing for students.”

The Common App asks students to provide basic information, including extracurricular activities and academic data. It also offers a choice of six essay questions, ranging from an evaluation of a significant personal experience to a discussion of an issue of personal, local, national or international concern. In the 2007-’08 year, more than 300 colleges will accept the Common Application.

Stanford students said the school might see a shift in the composition of its applicant pool due to the decision, but that the change will probably not alter the makeup of the freshman class.

Danny Karp, a sophomore at Stanford, said he would have preferred the Common App option when he applied, though he enjoyed the opportunity to provide Stanford with an application specific to the school. This admissions decision might lead to more applications and a decrease in Stanford’s admissions rate, he said.

“I don’t know if it will really change the composition of the class because the people who really want to go to Stanford and are passionate about Stanford would have applied anyway,” Karp said. “Obviously, lazy people will begin to apply more often, so that’s good for Stanford so they can be more selective.”

Applicants for the Yale class of 2006 were the first allowed to use the Common App in place of the Yale application.

This year, Stanford accepted a record-low 10.29 percent of an applicant pool of 23,956.

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