Section: Opinion

Drop Common App

Another April finds the Kenyon admissions office in the full motion of a second admissions year unfettered by the writing supplement, and I must say that as a campus we should step back and congratulate ourselves. We are easily on the way to becoming the 29th-best private liberal arts college in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

With a magnificent surge – upwards of 60 percent – in applications following the writing supplement’s ousting, the admissions office has been busy reaching out to students who previously found Kenyon inaccessible. I am made to understand that we have widened our admissions pool to include candidates whose other diverse choices included Duke University, MIT and the Mount Vernon Nazarene University. It is a bloom of new audiences.

With prospective students’ likely top three reasons for applying ranked as “ease of application,” “John Green” and “other,” I believe that we have arrived at an epoch of new students who may know Kenyon better than Kenyon knows herself. These new figures, particularly our 24-percent acceptance rate, is something we may all proudly hang our hats on. But it would be foolish to stop here.

If so small a change in Kenyon’s admissions ethos leads to such immense results, I daresay we would be unintelligent to be content with it. Only think of the increased diversity an even broader prospective student pool might lead to, if we are willing to do a bit of roadblock removal.

I think that if we are truly dedicated to increasing the cast of the Kenyon net, it is time to do away with the universal Common Application. It is not universal enough. It was, as most of you might recall, simplicity itself. But as all progress eventually does, the Common Application is now defeating its purpose. We might take inspiration for a new course from a presidential candidate.

Republican hopeful Ted Cruz has lately endorsed the brilliance of a flat tax Americans might file on a tax form the size of a postcard. I’m rather taken with the idea, and I think there’s no reason Kenyon should not apply it to its own admissions goals. If we might mail an application postcard to every eligible highschooler in America, there is no end to the countless applications we would receive. Think of the thousands we might turn away; our admissions rate would make Harvard look like the University of Phoenix. We might house the requisite admissions staff in the Buckeye Candy Building.

Kenyon is on the cusp becoming a viable contender in the admissions game played by all of our peers. I say we finish what we started when we did away with the writing supplement, and give the Cruz admissions policy a go; simplification of Kenyon’s admissions process is our ticket to being number one. Or at least number 28 on the U.S. News & World Report.

Matthew Eley ’15 is an English major from Howard, Ohio. Contact him at


Comments for this article have closed. If you'd like to send a letter to the editor for publication, please email us at