The New Common App

It removed some questions and added questions -- and 60 members.

August 2, 2021

The Common App unveiled its application for the next academic year Sunday.

It features a number of changes (previously announced), including no longer asking applicants about their high school disciplinary record and veterans about their discharges.

The new Common App also features new questions to help transgender students. The changes:

  • Add a question to provide applicants with the option to share their preferred first name.
  • Add a pronoun question to give students the option to multiselect or add a pronoun set.
  • Shift the presentation of a question from “sex” to “legal sex” to reduce student confusion.

The 2021-22 application will also include a new essay prompt: “Reflect on something that someone has done for you that has made you happy or thankful in a surprising way. How has this gratitude affected or motivated you?” The prompt is inspired by scientific research on gratitude and kindness, specifically the benefits of writing about the positive influence of other people in our lives.

In addition, the Common App announced more than 60 new colleges have joined the application system, which already has more than 900 members.

The new members include historically Black Claflin University, Florida A&M University, Florida Memorial University, Lincoln University (in Pennsylvania) and South Carolina State University.

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Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

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