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Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What Schools Accept the Universal College Application?

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The college applications process has changed significantly over the decades. It used to be that students applying to college needed to request applications from each school they intended to apply to, and then fill each out by hand and mail them in. Later, electronic applications were introduced, allowing students to submit applications through the Internet. In addition, the introduction of the Common Application meant that students applying to Common App schools would only need to fill out one application, to be sent to multiple colleges.


Since the introduction of the Common Application, other application platforms have also arrived on the scene. In this post, we’ll discuss the Universal College Application, what it is, who accepts it, and if you should consider filling one out. Keep reading to learn more.


What is the Universal College Application?


In 2007, the Universal College Application threw their hat into the ring. This for-profit college application is accepted by a handful of colleges across the country. But what makes it any different from the Common App?


Unlike the Common Application, which is currently shifting currently towards a more holistic approach to college applications, the Universal College Application does not try to reflect a specific admissions philosophy. Instead, it sticks to your essential data and letters of recommendation.


Another factor that sets the Universal College Application apart is that it does not include an essay. Essays are an option for colleges that require them, but on its own, the Universal College Application does not request essays. Even when colleges require a supplemental essay, these are limited to 500 words by the Universal College App.


Finally, the Universal College App is the only online application that allows you to link directly to your online presence. Through it, you can link to web portfolios, social media accounts, and online newspaper or musical compositions.

What Schools Accept the Universal College Application?


The specific schools accepting the Universal College Application change annually. As of 2010, 77 schools were accepting the Universal College App, and of those, more than 50 also accepted the Common Application. These days, only 18 colleges accept the Universal College Application. They include:


  • BARD COLLEGE AT SIMON’S ROCK (Great Barrington, MA )  
  • BRYANT UNIVERSITY (Smithfield, RI)   
  • EARLHAM COLLEGE (Richmond, IN)   
  • HARVARD COLLEGE (Cambridge, MA)   
  • LAKE ERIE COLLEGE (Painesville, OH)   
  • LANDMARK COLLEGE (Putney, VT)   
  • NAZARETH COLLEGE (Rochester, NY)   
  • NEWBERRY COLLEGE (Newberry, SC)   
  • RANDOLPH COLLEGE (Lynchburg, VA)   
  • RHODES COLLEGE (Memphis, TN)   


Who Should Consider Using the Universal College Application?


The most important factor in choosing a college application platform is usually what schools accept that specific application. Few students want the hassle of filling out applications on different platforms unless there is a real discernible reason for doing so.


Before you choose which platform to use, check to see which applications are accepted by the schools on your list. In most cases, it makes sense to streamline the process by filling out a single application, which can disqualify the Universal College Application in many cases, as it is not widely accepted.


There are some reasons why applicants might choose the Universal College Application regardless of how many schools accept it on their list. As we noted above, the Universal College Application does not subscribe to a specifically holistic admissions approach. This means that it generally requires less writing and fewer explanations. If you are the kind of student who shines on paper by virtue of your test scores, GPA, and achievements, the Universal College Application might be a good choice for you.


Beyond that, there is no essay required for the Universal College Application, so it is a good choice for students who do not shine in written work. If you suffer from writer’s block or have always had a hard time expressing yourself on paper, the Universal College Application provides, in many cases, the chance to apply to college without any essay or personal statement.


In addition, some students report that the interface for the Universal College App is quicker and easier to navigate. Because the Common Application serves over 800 colleges, it makes sense that it might be slower to respond, especially at peak application times. The Universal College App has less traffic overall, so the interface is reported to be more streamlined.


Similarly, the Universal College App tends to have faster, more responsive customer support. Its smaller pool of applicants and colleges served means that each applicant generally has better access to one-on-one support as needed.


Ultimately, before you decide to use the Universal College App, ask yourself these questions:


  • Are all the schools on my list covered by the Universal College App?
  • Are the schools on my list not covered by the Universal College App also not covered by the Common App?
  • Will my application be stronger without an essay?
  • Are my grades, test scores, and other stats enough to speak for themselves?


If the answer to these questions is yes, the Universal College Application may be a good choice for you.


Curious about your chances of acceptance to your dream school? Our free chancing engine takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your odds of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the U.S. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started!

Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger

Short Bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.