University joins Universal College Application

After Common App glitches this application season, the University will offer an alternative.

By Rachel Landes

Students applying to the University of Chicago next fall will be able to submit the Universal College Application (UCA), an emerging rival to the Common Application.

UChicago, which has been a Common App member since 2008, joins 43 other colleges that accept the UCA, including Duke, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins.

The announcement follows a 9.5 percent decrease in the number of applicants. During this past application cycle, the Office of College Admissions read through 27,499 applications, nearly 3,000 fewer than last year.

University spokesman Jeremy Manier cited problems with the Common Application website as one possible explanation for the dip in the number of applicants. UChicago pushed back its usual early January deadline by several weeks to compensate for widespread technical glitches in the new version of the Common App that was rolled out in 2013.

College Admissions decided to use the UCA because it sought “an application option that is easy to use, reduces stress, and simplifies the process,” according to Dean of Admissions Jim Nondorf in a press release for Applications-Online, the company that launched UCA in 2007, and provided the original technology for the Common Application.

“We have been very happy with how easy it has been to work with the Universal College Application team,” he said in a statement.

From the outset, the UCA shares many of the same features as the Common App. It accepts ACT, SAT, AP, and IB scores, and the various supplements for participating colleges.

The Universal College Application will not replace the Common Application, according to Manier.