Admissions offers alternatives

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    One-third of prospective TCU students are being offered an alternative way to apply to the university; the Office of Admissions calls it the uncommon application.The Office of Admissions randomly selects 25,000 prospective students from the 60,000 student pool and offers them the uncommon application, which includes no application fee and students are notified of TCU’s decision within two weeks of submitting their application, said Wes Waggoner, director of undergraduate admissions.

    “It gives even more access for students to apply to TCU,” Waggoner said. “It encourages students and helps us get them through the application process.”

    The application, which Waggoner said has been offered for the past three years, also offers prospective students the chance to submit a different writing sample than the traditional application essay.

    Pam Spells, an administrative assistant in the sociology, criminal justice and anthropology department, said her son, Phillip Carlisle, is applying to TCU using the uncommon application in part because of the essay options.

    Students may submit writing samples ranging from an essay written for another class in high school to a poem or a short novel, Waggoner said.

    “We get a little bit of everything,” Waggoner said. “It helps us assess writing and we learn something about students.”

    Spells said her son was happy to have this option.

    “He’s not comfortable with his writing,” Spells said. “Having a subject he has strong feelings on helped him write a stronger essay.”

    Spells said Carlisle, a senior at Keller High School, opted to write about his grandfather who recently died.

    “Giving more essay options is good for students,” Waggoner said.

    Another draw of the uncommon application, Waggoner said, is the two week wait for a response from the university.

    “We find some students excited about the prospect of a fast response,” Waggoner said.

    Freshman Meredith Phipps said the fast response is why she used the uncommon application.

    “I had already applied using the regular application when I got the uncommon one in the mail,” said Phipps, a nursing major. “Then I sent the new one in and found out that I got in in two weeks.”

    “It’s simply a matter of offering more options,” Waggoner said. “It’s something that has been very successful for us.