By Robyn T. Moreth, Universal College Application! The Common Application is no longer the only game in town. The Universal Application, an alternative to the Common Application, launched in 2007 and has grown from its initial 20 member roster to its present day total of 78 institutions. According to this article on Wikipedia, “Many large public universities do not require essays and teacher recommendations, which keeps them from using the Common Application.” What does this mean for the college-bound student? The idea is that the Universal Application will be more inclusive and attract a broader range of students because the member schools do not have to require essays or teacher recommendations. In other words, more public schools have been targeted for membership. This is key in attracting more underrepresented students who may not have the opportunity or desire to apply to Common App schools. If more publics join the Universal App online system, it can only mean that students will apply to more schools and possibly have greater options for admission. Yes, it will add to the craziness of the application season with the possibility of even more applications that admissions officers must read, but it will also provide greater access to higher education for a wider variety of students. Here in the Midwest, wouldn’t it be fantastic to have just one application for all of the Big 10 schools?! Or, specifically in Illinois, all of our state universities? I say welcome to the Universal App. The more opportunities for students to get a college education, the better.