News, Metro, Administration

BC Considers Joining Coalition To Make College App More Accessible

A new coalition wants to make the college application process more accessible and understandable for high school students. Private and public universities from across the nation are coming together to form the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success—a new online portal that will help streamline the college application process free of charge.

There are 80 institutions across the country that have joined to form the coalition, but Boston College is not one of them. BC officials are currently reviewing the benefits of joining the coalition before making a final decision.

Many Boston-area colleges and universities like Amherst College, Harvard University, Tufts University, and, most recently, Northeastern University have agreed to join this national movement that hopes to provide students with all of the necessary tools to ensure that they present a competitive and comprehensive application when they apply for admission to college.

The new website, which will launch in the summer of 2016, aims to improve the current application process by giving students of all economic backgrounds access to planning tools that will help bridge the opportunity gap between higher and lower income students. By providing a supportive platform free of charge, the group believes that “early engagement supports under-resourced students during the preparation process,” according to its newsletter.

The website itself is currently still in the works, but among its key features will be a collaboration platform, an application portal, and what the coalition calls “the locker”—a tool available to students that will help them to privately collect select classwork, awards, journals, and letters of recommendation, among other documents.

The locker aims to be a place where students can keep all of his or her documents organized in one place and can be accessed as early as freshman year of high school.

“Starting to think about college earlier reduces some of the pressure of the application process, but more importantly, it sets the expectation that students should aspire to attend college,” Seth Allen, vice president and dean of admissions at Pomona College, said in a press release. “There are so many talented students who should aim for a great school, but they often don’t understand the path to get there.”

In order to become a part of the coalition, public institutions must provide low-cost education to in-state students, while private ones must commit to meeting 100 percent of the demonstrated need of domestic students.

“Boston College is eligible for membership in the Coalition,” Kristine E. Dillon, president of the Consortium on Financing Higher Education and member of the Board of Directors of the coalition said in an email. “Officials [from BC] have been determining if the college can participate in using the new application next year.”

When asked about BC’s position in relation to the coalition, Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Nanci Tessier said that BC became aware of preliminary discussions regarding the possible new application in the fall of 2014.

“Representatives … attended a meeting in summer 2015 at which time the Coalition was discussed,” Tessier said in an email. “In addition, we have, along with many others in our professional associations, attended sessions at the National Association for College Admission Counseling and the College Board National Forum. We are currently reviewing the benefits of membership.”

One of the most discussed aspects of the new online portal has been the virtual locker and the potential benefits it can afford students across the nation.

A main reason many institutions have joined the effort has been the prospect of both presenting students with the tools necessary to put them on the path to go to college while also ensuring that they can go to an affordable college, according to the coalition’s newsletter.

Being a part of the coalition, however, will also increase each institution’s national exposure, an attractive prospect for BC.

“Boston College endeavors to raise awareness of the benefits of its educational experience to talented students across the nation and the world,” Tessier said. “Prospective students who utilize the coalition may become aware of member colleges and universities that they had not previously considered thus prompting them to further explore those institutions.”

Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Staff

November 18, 2015