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Penn State Joins Coalition To Improve College Admissions Process

The college admissions process is generally recognized as a stressful and hectic time. A crucial moment for any prospective Nittany Lion is when they finally click the “send” button on the online application. Though applying to colleges is stressful no matter which schools you are interested in, Penn State’s application is one of the most straightforward; it simply asks for core academic information, extra-curriculars, and a brief (and optional) personal statement.

This type of application brings its own stresses, as the highly objective application numerically compares thousands of potential students against one another. However, it is likely this process may soon be done differently.

Penn State, along with more than 80 other public and private colleges and universities, has recently joined a coalition to make college more affordable and accessible that will radically change the college admissions process for future students. The coalition hopes to use free online tools to streamline the process and make applying to college a more gradual and personal task. The new method will be available to current high school freshmen and sophomores starting in January 2016.

In general, the goal is to start engaging students in the college application process sooner, so that it happens over time rather than in a few short, stressful months. The hope is that this new process will make college seem much less daunting, and will therefore work to take down the barriers that prevent many people from applying to college and earning a degree. Starting students on the path sooner has the potential for numerous benefits, especially for those who will be the first in their family to attend college and are nervous about the process.

The online tools include a digital portfolio, a collaboration platform, and an application portal. Together, these tools will make it possible for a student to begin compiling his or her application during freshman year of high school. Students can add accomplishments to their portfolios as they occur to create a full, well-rounded picture of who they are for the college admissions board to review.

Looking at Penn State specifically, it seems unrealistic that the admissions office can get an in-depth look at the lives of every single student who applies. In the summer/fall of 2014, the Penn State received 66,577 first year applications. However, the point of the new system is that students will end up only applying to colleges that have been identified as a good fit for them; likewise, admissions offices will be able to begin looking at applicants sooner in the process.

With implementation just around the corner, applications will provide a more all-encompassing look at students all while make the process that much less stressful. It’s hard to have any regrets about applying to Dear Old State, but life could soon be getting easier for future generations of Nittany Lions.

About the Author

Katie Klodowski

Katie is a senior from Pittsburgh, PA and a retired editor at Onward State. Currently, she works as a staff writer. True to her hometown, she is a fan of Steel City sports but also uses her ballet and music training to be a tough critic of all things artsy. The fastest ways to her heart are through pizza, sushi, and a solid taste in music (this means no Taylor Swift). To be constantly razzle-dazzled, follow her on all social media forms at @KatieKlodowski

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