Common application for updating gender identity questions on college applications

As part of an ongoing effort to revolutionize and create a fairer admissions process, Common App today announced a series of upcoming changes to questions on its app. Beginning with the 2022-2023 admissions cycle and continuing through the 2023-2024 cycle, questions related to gender and fee waivers will be revised to better reflect the more than one million students who use Common App each year.

For the 2022-2023 bid season, Common App will add “Mx”. and “other” options for counselor, parent, recommender, teacher, and counselor prefix options, as well as adding “legal” to the first/first name question label.

Starting with the 2023-2024 bid season, Common App will add ‘X’ or ‘another legal gender’ as an option in addition to ‘female’ and ‘male’, similar to adding ‘X’ as a gender indicator legal on US Passports. The change follows the addition last year of a question to offer candidates the chance to share their preferred first name and an option for students to add their set of pronouns, among other changes. Additionally, 24 states already allow a third option for legal gender markers on official government documents.

“These changes represent the next step in an ongoing effort to create a fair, just, and inclusive college admissions process for all students, regardless of identification,” said Jenny Rickard, President and CEO. from Common App. “To fulfill the promise of higher education as a pathway to economic opportunity, it is incumbent upon colleges, universities, and organizations at every stage of the admissions experience to remove barriers that may prevent students to pursue the next stage of their educational journey.”

“These changes are a welcome addition to the college application process. As institutions continue to work towards more inclusive practices, it is admirable to see the Common Application ensuring that they take a hard look at their practices. also comforting to know that small changes of this nature will also allow students to feel comfortable knowing that they can show their true selves throughout this process, no matter what aspect of the application they they fill,” said Camille A. Bouknight, Director of Admissions at Emerson College.

“We are grateful for Common Application’s continued commitment to removing barriers and promoting inclusion in the college application process. These recently announced changes will be welcomed, not only by our applicants, but also by our admissions committees. We are optimistic that the changes will lead more people to realize that there is a place for them in higher education and that their identity is recognized and respected,” said Timothy Brunold, Dean of Admissions at the University. of Southern California.

“Campus Pride applauds Common App as it evolves to be more equitable and inclusive with respect to gender identity issues. These changes represent a holistic and intersectional approach for all students and empower campuses to take responsibility for trans and non-binary students.When trans youth are targeted across the country in the most inhumane ways, the Common App announcement sends a clear message that trans people deserve recognition, respect – and , most importantly, their inclusion and safety are important. Campus Pride is partnering with the Common App and its members to help wholeheartedly support these efforts,” said Shane Windmeyer, CEO and Executive Director of Campus Pride.

For the 2022-2023 application season, Common App will also expand the fee waiver question label to include the list of eligibility criteria, so students are clear about who is eligible. The common application will also simplify the process by providing a yes/no option instead of having to select multiple criteria. These moves are rooted in Common Application research identifying nearly 39,000 first-year applicants who were likely eligible for the Common Application fee waiver, but did not apply for one. Another 55,000 likely qualified students may have dropped an application due to fee fears.

These changes are all part of Common App’s Evolving the Application initiative, an ongoing effort to regularly review and revise parts of the Common App that may pose barriers to students.

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