CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University has helped develop a free online toolkit to assist students globally in completing college applications. The service launches on Sept. 1.

The resource, AXS Companion, was developed in partnership with the Independent Educational Consultants Association and includes videos that walk students step-by-step through the Common Application, which is used by more than 1,000 colleges and universities in 50 states and 20 countries, including Oregon State.

“This tool provides critical assistance for underserved and first-generation students navigating the process of applying to college,” said Ed Feser, Oregon State’s provost and executive vice president. “The collaborative development of this tool also speaks to Oregon State’s commitment to providing access to a college education not only for learners in Oregon, but throughout the nation and world,”

Through the Common Application, each year more than 1 million students apply to college, research financial aid and scholarships and connect to college counseling resources.

While the Common Application was created to make applying to college easier, it still can be a daunting task for students, particularly those who come from low-income families and homes where English is not the primary language, said Jon Boeckenstedt, Oregon State’s vice provost of enrollment management.

Last year, 700,000 high school seniors created accounts on the Common Application platform but never completed an application, according to Common App, the nonprofit organization that oversees the application.

“Applying to college, once a simple rite of passage for high school students, has become more stressful,” Boeckenstedt said. “Anyone involved in college admissions even a short period knows that the best way to increase access to college is to knock down barriers the system can put between students and a university degree.”

Marilyn O’Toole, an IECA member and founder of The College Consortium, which provides parents and students personalized support through the college application process, saw that same need to break down barriers.

“Our goal has been to create change by increasing access and clarity for students as they navigate Common App, particularly students in the under-resourced communities,” O’Toole said. “Our IECA team provided resources and guidance similar to what we offer our students.”

O’Toole and IECA Chief Executive Officer Mark Sklarow reached out to Boeckenstedt to discuss how to store and organize the video resources. He connected with Lisa Templeton, associate provost for Ecampus, Oregon State’s top-ranked provider of online education.

During the past year, Ecampus built the platform and IECA provided the content, including writing and editing curriculum and scripting and recording audio and video for more than 50 modules for sections of Common Application. Topics include supplemental essays, financial aid and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act waivers.

Ecampus staff trained IECA members to audio and visually record each section and then edited hours of recordings and added animation to make the directions and guidance clear.

“We were happy to support this important initiative to improve access to college for students who need assistance, or even just assurance, as they move through the college process,” Templeton said.

General OSU

About Oregon State University: As one of only three land, sea, space and sun grant universities in the nation, Oregon State serves Oregon and the world by working on today’s most pressing issues. Our more than 36,000 students come from across the globe, and our programs operate in every Oregon county. Oregon State receives more research funding than all of the state’s comprehensive public universities combined. At our campuses in Corvallis and Bend, marine research center in Newport, OSU Portland Center and award-winning Ecampus, we excel at shaping today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.

Story By: 

Sean Nealon, 541-737-0787, [email protected]


Jon Boeckenstedt, 541-737-0759, [email protected]


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