The Instigator
Pro (for)
5 Points
The Contender
Con (against)
6 Points

All colleges and universities should accept the Common Application for undergraduate admissions.

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/12/2010 Category: Education
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,178 times Debate No: 10760
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (5)
Votes (2)




Resolved: All colleges and universities should accept the Common Application for undergraduate admissions.

The Common App represents a convenient, efficient, and effective way for students and colleges to interact. Rather than requiring students to fill out tediously repetitive admissions applications to numerous colleges all asking the same questions, the Common Applications offers one questionnaire that can be filled out and submitted to a number of colleges without having to pay fees for each one. What I am advocating is the requirement that all colleges accept this application.

Contention 1: Benefits to Students
The benefits of this are numerous. For one thing, it makes life easier for students by reducing the amount of paperwork they have to fill out from 3-5 sheets per college to one form for every college. It is also cheaper for students, as many colleges and universities have application submission fees, regardless of whether the student is accepted or not, and would allow students of lower economic means to apply to all of the schools the had their sights set on without having to worry about being unable to afford to do so. Using the Common App would streamline the process of college admissions.

Contention 2: The "Green" Factor
Another simple benefit that using the Common Application offers is that it would cut the amount of paper required for admissions. While there is no official estimate of the amount of paper used by potential undergraduate students I am certain that it is a substantial amount. The Common Application is entirely electronic and uses no paper. This would, in essence, mean that the only producers of paper during the application process were colleges, and would cut the amount of paper used substantially.

Contention 3: Benefits to Universities
Finally, the Common Application offers benefits to colleges. When colleges receive applications from the Common App, they receive all the information in the form of digital media. This makes it easier for them to organize and keep track of student records. Rather than having to keep filing cabinets upon filing cabinets filled with folders of student information, school can instead use computer databases to store the information, making it more easily organized and accessible.


I thank my opponent for starting this debate.

While I agree with my opponent on several of his points, it must be pointed out that there are many reasons why use of the Common Application should not be made mandatory to every school and better yet, why the use of the Common Application should be disbanded entirely.

Nearly every school that uses the Common Application requires a supplemental to be filled out, usually in the form of additional short-essays. It is clear to anyone who has undergone the college application process that these essays are a huge contributing factor to your acceptance, since things like GPA and transcript do not really set you apart from other applicants.

Although grades are important, I believe that making the Common Application widespread would make the process even more cut-and-dry, black-and-white, and impersonal. The decision to attend an institute of higher education is one that will change your entire life, and should not be reduced to forms.

I propose, instead, that the Common Application be removed entirely.

My proposal, which for convenience, I shall call the "Kleptin Application", will be made up of three parts:

1. The raw transcript from school
2. Standardized grades from Collegeboard or other testing facilities
3. Recommendations from others
4. One essay, 4 pages long
5. An hour-long interview with an alumnus.

The transcript and the test scores can be sent directly from school and the testing company. These would serve as the black and white numbers. The recommendations would be written and sent along with the essay. The most important parts of the application would be the essay and the interview.


The essay should culminate a variety of issues including (but not limited to) the educational journey of a student, aspects of his or her life that have impacted him or her in a way that will lead in to college, and why that college was chosen.

The college essay provides a chance for the acceptance official to peek into the past, present, and future of an applicant, and also provides the applicant the opportunity to contemplate and reflect.

It is essential that a new essay be written for each college that the student applies to, because it keeps the integrity of academia. What is the use in churning out Common Applications with one essay meant to be a desperate outreach to as many colleges as possible?


The interview would be given to applicants in order to gauge their personalities. Applicants who study hard but have severe social issues such as anger, poor attitude, etc. should be rethought for their acceptance. This also gives the applicant a chance to get to know the school through experienced eyes and to rethink himself, whether or not the school is for him.


The College Application is a way to streamline the college acceptance process, something that definitely should not be done. College is becoming a fast-food business for several reasons and proceeding by standardizing college acceptance would do nothing but perpetuate the loss of academic integrity. Colleges should only accept students willing to make sacrifices and who have the integrity to uphold that of their institutions. It should not be an impersonal cut-and-dry process made easy for the students. It should actually be made as hard as possible.

I look forward to my opponent's response. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 1


ZKnecht forfeited this round.


My opponent has forfeited his last round, and all my arguments extend forward.
Debate Round No. 2


My opponent is attempting to counter my argument with a counterplan. However, what he fails to realize is that all of the aspects of the plan he poses are part of the common app process. To apply to a school, even with the common app, school transcripts, standardized grades, and recommendations [2] are required. At least two essays need to be written, one for the general application and one for college-specific supplements [1], not to mention any other essays for performing arts or athletic supplements. While alumni interviews are not necessary, they are still very important to the application process, and any serious applicant should schedule one.

Here is where things stand right now. On the one hand, if my opponent is right and the Common Application is a way of standardizing the college application process and will harm academic integrity, then both my opponent and I's cases are forfeit. On the other, if, as I affirm, the Common Application is a useful and convenient way to apply to colleges, then my opponent in essence agrees with me.

Either way, my second two points concerning the environmental friendliness of my proposal and its benefits to colleges have gone unaddressed, and remain intact as this debate enters the voting period.

Once again, I would like to apologize for forfeiting the previous round of debate, and I respectfully urge a Pro vote.



I thank my opponent for his response.

My opponent makes a strange argument as his conclusion. He attempts to show that the "Kleptin Application" I propose actually in some way includes the Common Application. This is, of course, far from the truth.

The common application allows room for a "general essay" as my opponent has stated. However, it is this general essay that I have problems with. The suggested page length is no more than 2 pages and it is supposed to be an essay that applies to all schools. I find this to be a lack of integrity on the part of the applicant and have made arguments to illustrate why.

As I have stated before, a standardized application process is fine. It is just a problem if the standardization involves a loss of academic integrity. This does not stem from the actual standardization, but rather on the method of standardization. The common app encourages students to apply in bulk, whereas the Kleptin application encourages students to submit new works to each school that he or she decides to apply to.

This is the key difference and my opponent has not even attempted to address this main issue. My opponent states that his "Green" arguments were unaddresed but in reality, I did not address them because I thought it was obvious that my "Kleptin Application" would also be completely electronic, making this point void.

To conclude: The Common Application encourages students and colleges to view higher education as a fast-food industry, to mass-apply to colleges without any heart or feeling, and to burden colleges with applicants that have no integrity or intent to attend even if accepted.

My proposed Kleptin Application is different in that it makes the application process more difficult and time consuming on the part of the student, but easier on the part of the school. Students will be inclined to apply to less schools because they need to come up with an original 5-page essay for each school, and need to fully understand why they believe the school is for them since an interview is required. This application process retains academic integrity and attempts to return higher education to the institution it once was.

Thank you to the audience and to my opponent.

Vote CON.
Debate Round No. 3
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by Lexicaholic 8 years ago
Odd debate, with an equally odd RFD. Here we go:

B&A: Tie. I'm indifferent to the administrative tools of any institutions I do not currently intend on dealing with.
Conduct: Con. Pro forfeited a round.
S&G: Con. Pro used phrases such as "opponent and I's" and "rethought for their acceptance".
CA: Pro. Con's plan did not appeal to me any more than Pro's did, nor did Con manage to prove that streamlining institutions of higher learning had any negative impact, and therefore Con simply did not challenge Pro's argument well enough to refute it. In addition, Pro noted that most of what Con wanted was already available in the Common Application process, and that adoption of the Common Application does not mean that an institution can not supplement the Common Application with additional procedures unique to each institution. The benefits of making it more difficult to get in (and therefore having a less educated public) do not seem to outweigh the numerous benefits Pro mentions and supports in his opening round.
RS: Pro. Pro used sources in the last round. Con had the opportunity to provide sources of his own as last responder but didn't. Points to Pro.
Posted by Kleptin 8 years ago
Conduct: CON. Pro forfeited a round. Although Con offered additional arguments in the last round, this is fine since Pro forfeited a round that could have been used to develop new ideas.

S&G: TIE. No major differences.

Arguments: CON. Pro did not adequately fulfill his burden and Con shed effective doubt on the proposal. Con's arguments were never rebutted adequately, as inaccurate assumptions were made by Pro in responding to Con's arguments.

Sources: TIE. Although Pro used more sources, none of these sources actually contributed much to his argument.
Posted by ZKnecht 8 years ago
My apologies for forfeiting the last round. It was finals week leading up to a major debate tournament and I just didn't have the time. I will be able to do so this weekend, however.
Posted by Maikuru 8 years ago
If only, Pro. If only...
Posted by rougeagent21 8 years ago
Agree with PRO. I might take this anyway :D
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Lexicaholic 8 years ago
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Vote Placed by Kleptin 8 years ago
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Total points awarded:04