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Common Application ends longstanding requirement that member colleges use holistic admissions

The Common Application announced here Friday that it would no longer require member colleges to use “holistic” admissions in which candidates are reviewed in ways that go beyond numbers, most typically with essays.

The shift is a significant one for the Common Application, which has seen huge growth in membership over the last decade, experienced major technology problems a year ago,and could face difficulties growing if it continued its ban on colleges that don’t use holistic admissions, which has been a requirement since the organization started 40 years ago. In the past, Common Application leaders have spoken with pride of the holistic requirement, and used it to distinguish their service from other entities that process applications.