UI to use CommonApp for fall 2021 admissions


Photo Courtesy of Joyce Seay-Knoblauch

Aerial of Main Quadrangle looking northwest including Foellinger Auditorium, Gregory Hall, Lincoln Hall, the English Building, Henry Administration, the Illini Union, Harker Hall, Noyes Laboratory, Davenport Hall, Foreign Language building.

By Sophie Casaburi, Staff Writer

Governor J.B. Pritzker announced on March 19 that all Illinois public universities will implement the Common Application for Fall 2021 admissions.
According to Andy Borst, Director of Undergraduate Admissions, the University will use the Common App, the Coalition and the myIllini applications beginning in Fall 2021.
“The Governor’s Office has been talking to us about the Common App for well over a year,” Borst said via email. “We are currently discussing which components of the Common App we intend to use, including the essays. We have not made a final decision yet.”
The purpose of this change is to keep more students in Illinois for their higher education.
“Time will tell if joining the Common App will have the desired impact of keeping more students in-state,” Borst said via email. “Generating more applications is one thing, but we need additional state funding for higher education in order to make the cost reasonable for in-state students.”
According to Borst, the University estimates that applications will increase between 10% and 30%.
The University estimates that it will need approximately $250,000 annually to effectively manage the increased volume, especially for additional staff resources to respond to an expected increase in inquiries, applications and document processing.
Pritzker has proposed $1 million for all Illinois public universities to cover the cost of the Common App, but the Illinois legislature must approve it in any final state budget.
Many students use multiple application portals when applying for college. Varun Bhargava, senior in Engineering, used the myIllini and Common App application portals.
“(The Common App) was exhausting, to say the least,” Bhargava said. “I was doing the IB program at my school and … it was a bad time in terms of (all the) work, so (it’s) a little frivolous to be doing so much to be applying to college.”
Bhargava said a major difference between the two applications were the essays required.
“I found the (myIllini) essay prompt to be the most no-frills prompt available,” Bhargava said. “It was important to me to be able to talk about my major and why I chose it, and I don’t think the Common Application generally gave me the opportunity to do such a thing.”
Bhargava also appreciated the reduced costs of self-reporting of grades and test scores in the myIllini application.
“The only thing we had to pay was the fee for the application,” Bhargava said. “You didn’t have to pay for transcripts to be sent over, you didn’t have to pay for anything else. I was in an international school, so no mail fees, no nothing.”

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