All posts by Eric Hoover


‘Coalition’ Expands Eligibility Criteria for Shared Admissions Application

The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success has expanded its membership criteria, the group announced in an email to college counselors on Monday. The new standards could allow a more-diverse array of colleges to start using the new shared admission application as early as next year.

In an interview with The Chronicle, Annie Reznik, the organization’s executive director, said representatives from several member institutions had expressed concerns about “gaps” in the group’s requiremen…


ACT Will Change Scoring Scale for Writing Test

The ACT plans to change the score range for the optional writing test on its college-entrance examination, the organization announced on Tuesday. Starting this fall, the writing test will be scored on a 2-to-12 scale. The writing test itself will not change, according to a news release.

Last year the ACT revised the writing test, and students began receiving results on the same 1-to-36 scale used on the multiple-choice exam. But the change caused confusion, ACT officials say. “Converting the …


ACT Plans Center to Help Underserved Students Succeed in College and Work Force

These days, everyone’s talking about “equity,” and now a testing company has affixed the word to a new effort. The company behind the ACT on Wednesday announced plans for a Center for Equity in Learning, which will focus on helping underserved students succeed in college and the work force.

At a news conference in Washington, officials from ACT Inc., in Iowa City, said the center would conduct research on — and develop strategies for — closing achievement gaps. The center plans to collaborat…


Common Application Gets New Leader From U. of Puget Sound

The Common Application has appointed a new executive director, the organization’s Board of Directors announced on Thursday.

Jenny Rickard, now vice president for enrollment at the University of Puget Sound, in Washington state, will take the helm of the nonprofit group that oversees the widely used admission-application platform in August. She will succeed Paul Mott, who left the organization this year.

* * *

Ms. Rickard describes her vision for the Common App in a Chronicle interview.

* * *



Common Application to Change Gender-Identity Options

[Updated (4/26/2016, 12:01 a.m.) with news of the Universal College Application.]

Starting this summer, students who use the Common Application will be asked to state their “sex assigned at birth.” There also will be an optional free-response text field in which applicants may describe their gender identity.

Those changes, announced on Monday by the Common Application’s leadership, follow calls from students and advocates to change how the standardized application form asks about gender. Curre…


Common Application Seeks New Leader

Paul Mott, the Common Application’s chief executive, has left the organization after nearly two years at the helm. In an email to members on Monday, the group’s board of directors said it had hired a search firm to find his replacement. The message did not specify the reason for Mr. Mott’s departure; he had been working on an interim contract during his tenure with the organization.

A former college counselor who had also run an NBA basketball team, Mr. Mott came to the Common Application after …


PreACT Test, to Help Students Prepare for ACT, Will Debut This Year

ACT Inc. will offer a new multiple-choice examination for 10th graders this fall, the Iowa-based organization announced on Tuesday. Designed to help students prepare for the ACT exam, the PreACT will test students in English, mathematics, reading, and science. (It will not include a writing portion.)

The new product will arrive as a handful of testing companies continue to vie for a share of the common-standards market. Two of those players — ACT Inc. and the College Board — own rival colle…


Harvard’s Admissions Dean Shares Concerns About New Application

Harvard University’s top admissions official has concerns about the plans of the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success for a new application platform, reports The Harvard Crimson.

The newspaper reports that William R. Fitzsimmons, the dean of admissions and financial aid, has “repeatedly opposed” the coalition’s membership requirements, which include a six-year graduation rate of at least 70 percent. He also criticized the proposed application’s virtual “locker” feature: “I worry that…


Group of Colleges Unveils Plan for New, Streamlined Application

A group of more than 80 private and public colleges has formally announced plans to develop a free platform that would “streamline the experience of planning for applying to college,” according to its website.

As The Chronicle first reported last fall, the shared application would allow students to apply to one or more member institutions. The group — the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success — plans to make college-planning tools available to students in January, with many of the…


Annual Rankings Include ‘Most Innovative’ Colleges

It’s time once again to find out which colleges are better than others, at least according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual rankings. For the first time, the magazine has compiled a list of “most innovative” colleges. Criteria? The opinions of college presidents, provosts, and admissions deans. This year’s peer-assessment survey asks respondents to nominate as many as 10 institutions that are “making the most innovative improvements in terms of curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, t…