Common App Tweaks, Studies Crime Question

May 10, 2016

The Common Application last week told members that it was tweaking the question it asks about applicants' criminal backgrounds and also starting a study of the utility of asking the criminal background question. The changes came just prior to an Education Department report released Monday calling for colleges to consider whether they really need to ask such questions.

On its application to date, the Common Application has asked: "Have you ever been adjudicated guilty or convicted of a misdemeanor, felony or other crime​?" The question is being revised to eliminate the "or other crime" part of it. Details on the study will be announced in the weeks and months ahead. In January, New York University asked the Common Application to conduct such a study.

The Universal College Application, a competitor to Common App, asks a similar question, and officials there said that the organization would continue to ask colleges for feedback on the question.

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