student filling out online college application (Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com)

West Point eyes cloud-based Common App platform

To widen the pool of applicants and more easily collect data on prospective students, West Point is looking to a cloud-based Common Application platform.

The Common App was developed in 1975 to streamline the college admissions process and is accepted by over 900 member colleges in the United States. Applicants fill out one basic application, which can then be sent to several colleges. Individual institutions can add custom requirements, such as the congressional district data and service academy-specific questions West Point requires.

Currently, West Point receives approximately 15,000 applications each year, through what a July 9 request for information described as an antiquated, error-ridden online process that is not mobile friendly. The Common App offers several benefits to the school: It would increase the visibility of the West Point brand, make it easier for applicants to apply and allow the school to batch upload candidate data daily into its Academy Management System for use by admissions and ROTC programs.

Through the Common App, West Point officials said they expect to see a 45% increase in applications over the next four years.

Academy officials are looking for a turnkey cloud-based system that would make application processing easier and open files on prospective students. The system should also give applicants access to the school’s “candidate portal” within 24 hours of an application’s submission. 

While the Common App is a popular tool for college admissions, it is not universal: neither the Naval or Air Force academies use it, nor does MIT, Georgetown or the University of California system.

Read the full RFI here.

About the Author

Shourjya Mookerjee is an associate editor for GCN and FCW. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and has written for Vox Media, Fandom and a number of capital-area news outlets. He can be reached at [email protected] – or you can find him ranting about sports, cinematography and the importance of local journalism on Twitter @byShourjya.

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