Southern to Accept 'Common App'

Undergraduate Admissions

Students wishing to apply to Southern will find the process to be a snap starting next year.

students on campusThe university has been accepted into the Common Application membership association – a not-for-profit organization that aims to streamline the applications process for prospective college students. As a result, Southern will accept what is popularly known as the "Common App" – a uniform application used by more than 500 colleges and universities throughout the United States, as well as other several other countries.

Students who apply to Southern for the fall semester of 2015 (starting this fall) will be able to submit this standard application – a change that will save students the time to fill out a separate form, according to Kimberly Crone, associate vice president for enrollment management. The Common App makes it more likely that students who are considering Southern as one of several options will actually submit the paperwork needed to apply.

"Generally, schools that use the Common App see an increase of between 10 and 30 percent in their applicant pool," Crone says. "This is especially valuable at a time of declining high school enrollments. The Common App also is likely to increase the geographic diversity of our applicants."

But Crone says while the Common App should bolster the number of applications, the university is also developing a strategy to convert the increased number of applicants into higher yield rates and increased enrollment.

Alexis Haakonsen, director of admissions, agrees.

"We are developing a comprehensive plan to communicate with students at every stage of the admissions process, continuing the very successful on-campus events for which Southern is well known, and involving the faculty and our alumni in the yield process," Haakonsen explains.

The university coordinates various events during the year, such as open houses, orientation sessions and programs aimed at high school students.

"It's all about making connections with students, whether it's by their academic interests, a student organization, a faculty mentor, sports, activities or on-campus living," she adds. "I want to see every incoming student connected to Southern in a direct and personal way as they transition into our community."

During the 2012-13 school year, 723,576 individuals used the Common App, according to the association's website. Most of those were generated within the United States, from 47 states and the Washington, D.C., though a small number were from outside the nation. That total represents a 9.2-percent increase from the previous year. During the four-year period from 2008-09 to 2012-13, an increase of 74.9 percent has been recorded.

Regionally, New England schools generated the highest number of applicants in America from at 5.4 per individual. Schools in other U.S. regions recorded averages ranging from 3.6 to 5.2 a person.