A new website service called College Runway is trying to make its way into the college admissions process. College Runway, a NJ based firm, made its debut this week with hopes of enticing new members by offering free membership to New Jersey high school juniors and seniors who sign up before December 31, 2013 using the coupon code CRNJHS. Thereafter, the student registration fee is $29.95.
College Runway allows students to create a profile that highlights their unique talents, skills or accomplishments while still including the information required by the Common App for college admissions like SAT/ACT scores and GPA. The idea behind the service is that students do not have to be limited to consideration by the schools they apply to, but rather, can expand their options to participating colleges that they have not identified or applied to. While there are certain colleges one may not be interested in attending, a student may find out about other attractive schools not previously on their radar. Lesser-known schools may also find this service useful to identify their ideal applicants. Students have the ability to designate the geographic regions of colleges they would consider.
While the premise of this service is enticing, a few drawbacks exist. For one, participating colleges and universities are not disclosed, so interested students have no idea of how many or which colleges have access to their profile. With this in mind, it seems that signing up and paying the fee after December may be a questionable investment. College Runway’s corporate policy prohibits the disclosure of their college participants, but in response to a request for more information, a representative replied that they are still signing up schools and they are coming in at a rapid pace.
Creating a unique market profile that will get the attention of the participating schools may also be a challenge for student members. For one, there is no more of an opportunity to list or include accomplishments or skills than on the Common App, so it appears that the primary benefit from creating a College Runway profile is to have it seen by an otherwise “overlooked” school.
Aside from the widely-known and promoted athletic or talented student recruitments that already exist, it is questionable whether the larger and more selective colleges and universities need this service to attract more applicants. Colleges interested in attracting more students may find a benefit in advertising their participation with College Runway. At this time, the only schools currently advertising on the site are Quinnipiac University, West Point Academy and Auburn University.
As the admissions process grows more competitive each year, College Runway contends that the “average student” could get a huge benefit from creating a greater market for themselves by showcasing their accomplishments to the wide range of schools looking for candidates. That may be, however not knowing the types and numbers of colleges and universities who will actually access the student’s profile, the advantages of membership are currently uncertain.