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Admissions Applications Soar With First Use of Common App

As expected, the number of applications for admission to Carolina last fall went through the roof with the use of the Common Application.

UNC received 5,468 more applications than the previous year’s 23,753 — a total of 29,221 and a 23 percent jump. It was the biggest-ever one-year increase.

The Common Application, the product of a nonprofit association, can be used to apply to any of more than 450 member colleges and universities in and outside the U.S. The members may ask additional questions through a supplement, as Carolina does.

While it streamlines the processing of applications, the Common App also makes it easier for students to apply to more schools. Another benefit is to participating high schools, which can upload transcripts and other data through the Common App’s system. But UNC, which is using the new tool for the first time, was hesitant to join the association.

“We have two categories of misgivings,” said undergraduate admissions Director Steve Farmer. “We [had] spent about three years developing a new application, and invested a lot of time in it, based on the advice of consultants working with the University then.” The other concern, he said, “is that we would be part of the rush nationally with students applying to ever more schools. We want them to apply, but didn’t necessarily want to make it easier for a student to apply to Carolina on a whim.”

While the new application comes “ready to read” and eliminates some processing time, the admissions office still has to read every application.

Out-of-state applications accounted for most of the increase at UNC. Nonresident and in-state applications were up about 30 percent and 5 percent respectively.


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