What is Direct Admission?

You’re likely familiar with the admissions and application process at colleges – submit applications, wait for acceptance (or rejection) letters, and accept or decline the colleges’ offers. And that’s how many students will approach the application process. But there’s a new game in town – direct admissions. What is it though, what does it mean for your application process, and should you use it?

Admissions for College – What Is Direct Admission?

Direct admission is a fairly new method of getting accepted to a college. Instead of submitting an individual application for a college, the school messages the student with an acceptance letter! These letters also tend to include financial aid offers. It’s very similar to getting a pre-approval for a mortgage or credit card.

How Does Direct Admission Work?

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There are a few different programs that currently use direct admission, including Concourse and the Common Application (Common App).

Concourse requires a $75 fee (that can be waived), but students can create a profile and get it certified by a guidance counselor, teacher, or another school representative. The profile needs to contain information about the student including test scores, GPAs, college interests, location, and other basic details. Concourse will then “match” students with universities that participate in the program.

The Common App also recently started using direct admission. Students who completed their profiles but hadn’t quite finished submitting applications yet had their details sent to schools. 

Other programs currently offer direct admissions systems to students, including Niche and FastTrak. If you’re thinking about signing up for these, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of each program to ensure you’re not overspending – you also want to be sure you’re working with a program that is partnered with schools you’re interested in!

What Schools Participate in Direct Admission?

Most colleges do not participate in direct admissions, but that number is growing year over year. In 2021, for example, only six schools took part in the Common App direct admissions program. In 2022, there were fourteen. These include schools like Augsburg University, George Mason University, Marymount University, Mercy College, Montclair State University, Utica University, and Virginia Commonwealth University, among others.

This information is changing regularly, but if you’re ever curious about what schools are participating in, be sure to check out the specific details related to the program you’re using! Every program partners with different colleges and universities!

What Are the Pros and Cons of Direct Admission?

Pro: It Saves You Time

The number one benefit of direct admission is the time it saves for students. Since the individual only has to complete a single profile per program, they can save countless hours on applications. In addition, some of the direct admission programs do not require students to write an essay at all!

Pro: It Saves You Money

Another major benefit of direct admission is the fact that it saves students money. Applications to colleges can add up in cost, but thanks to direct admission programs, you likely only have to pay one time to “apply” to several schools!

Con: Not Many Schools Use It

Still, new, not many colleges use direct admission yet and it remains to be seen if it will catch on for a more mainstream approach to applications. It’s very unlikely, therefore, that your dream school accepts these types of applications.

Should You Complete Profiles for Direct Admission?

So that brings us to the question, “Should you?” 

Well, ultimately, there is no harm in completing the direct admission profiles outside of the initial expense. However, if the money gives you pause, you’ll want to first see if you’re interested in any of the schools that participate in the program. If you aren’t, there’s no sense in signing up! On the other hand, you could end up finding your dream school through this avenue.

With the Common App, you’re automatically entered into direct admissions, too, so you don’t have to give a second thought to the question. There’s no downside if you’re already using the Common App – it simply gives you more choices!

Whether or not you sign up for a direct admission program is up to you. It’s important though to have realistic expectations – it’s unlikely your dream school is currently participating. However, the programs are still fairly new, so we may see more colleges and universities join the direct admission ranks in the coming years.

If you’re curious about how you stack up against other students, direct admissions or not, College Raptor’s own College Match tool can help you identify the best schools for your goals. Simply sign up (for free) to get started! You can explore colleges, education costs, careers, majors, and more – all through College Raptor!