Towson University joins Common App direct admissions program

By Sarah Sternhagen, Contributing Writer  

Towson University is one of 70 colleges and universities in the U.S. to join the Common App’s direct admissions program that will automatically send offers to in-state applicants who meet a minimum GPA requirement set by the university. 

Common App is an online portal through which students can apply to over 1,000 colleges and universities using the same application.  

Its new direct admission program aims to address problems surrounding access and equity in the college admissions process, specifically for low-income households and first-generation students, according to a Common App blogpost on the program launch.

“Overall, the program eases the application process,” Amy Moffatt, assistant vice president of the Admissions Office, said in an email Monday. “We hope it will present TU as an option to students that might not otherwise consider applying.”

There are no fees when applying directly. The program is non-binding, so students are not required to enroll in the colleges they are directly accepted to, according to an FAQ on the program

Common App will determine student eligibility for the program based on responses in the profile, family and grades sections of the application, the FAQ said. 

Towson will share observations of the program’s impact on enrollment in the spring to be “fully considerate of the entire application process,” Moffatt said. 

Institutional participation in the Common App direct admissions program was invitation-only, according to a message Wednesday from Jamie Abell, assistant director of media relations at Towson. 

The University of Maryland Eastern Shore is the other University System of Maryland college that was invited to join. 

Denitta Gladding, assistant director of that university’s Office of Admissions & Recruitment, said in an email Tuesday that it hopes to reach prospective students in underserved communities that meet its admission criteria, especially Hispanic students. Hispanics made up 4% of the fall 2022 student population at the historically Black university, according to the University System’s Institution Data Dashboard.

Capitol Technology University is the third Maryland college participating in the program. 

A 2023 study conducted by independent researchers for Common App investigated the effectiveness of direct admission in addressing long-standing racial and socioeconomic disparities in higher education. 

Ultimately, it found that direct admission offers paired with an automatic application fee waiver increased chances of students applying to any college. Impacts were notably and consistently higher for racially minoritized, first-generation and low-income students.

However, there was no significant increase in student enrollment to the college they received the direct admissions offer from.

Gabriel Donahue contributed to this article.


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