Has the Common App Resolved its Issues for the 2014-2015 Application Season?

common-app-picLast year the Common App experienced an unprecedented number of issues leaving students struggling to complete their applications and resulting in numerous colleges extending their deadlines. The Common App has since promised to promptly resolve its glitches and create a less stressful user experience.

So how is the Common App measuring up so far for the 2014-2015 application season? While it experienced supplements for some schools appearing and disappearing when it first went live three hours before the expected August 1 midnight opening, it has since become stable, and for the first time in its history, many of the colleges' supplements were available on August 1 (though many are still unavailable!). Log into your College Essay Organizer account to see which schools have questions available. Here are a few remaining issues to look out for:

  • If you save your writing supplement with all the questions completed and you later try to go back and edit it, the text boxes sometimes disappear (for all schools) and you have to log in again.
  • Some questions don't specify required vs. optional on the supplement, but on the sidebar a check mark will appear on your writing supplement tab when all required questions have been filled out. If an optional question is left blank, it will still be checked. If a required question is left blank, it will remain unchecked.
  • On the dashboard, it will say a supplement is not required (indicated by a red dash), but when you click on the member questions, it will say the questions are not yet available. This is happening in schools that do have supplemental questions, so be sure to keep checking back for the supplement and check with the college to double-check if there are supplemental questions.
  • When a link to an outside page is embedded into a question, and it is clicked, the Common App throws up an error page, so you may have to copy and paste links into a browser window.
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Extended Early Deadlines are Approaching for the 2013-2014 Season

Over 40 colleges recently extended their early deadlines to account for Common App glitches that continue to complicate the admissions process. In response, the Common App released a statement of commitment apologizing for its lack of responsiveness and promising to resolve all outstanding issues as quickly as possible. November 8, a popular extended deadline is fast approaching. As an aside, the deadline is at 11:59pm your local time. It does not matter what time zone the school you're applying to is in. Here's an update on some recent concerns:

  • The Common App recently added several more staff to decrease response times, so you can expect quick assistance if you submit a help ticket.
  • If you see a payment error on the dashboard with a zero dollar amount, please make sure that you answered the Citizenship question with the Profile section of the Common Application.
  • PDF previews can now be generated.
  • If you see an error page upon submission, log out of your account, and then log back in and it should display confirmation that the application was submitted.
  • Follow up with colleges to make sure that all parts of you're application has been received as there are still outstanding issues.

Check out the Common App's facebook page for daily updates on the status of widespread issues you may be facing.

 

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The Common App Adjusts the Length of Text Boxes

Students, high schools, and colleges using the Common App this season have been faced with numerous challenges from missing, hidden and late appearing questions (we've gotten tons of thanks from our members for covering them on this end) to submitting and pasting errors.

Here's one more error we want you to have on your radar. Text box lengths for several schools have changed lengths since supplements first went live. We want you to be aware of this so that you can stay on top of any changes and not be stuck cutting down or expanding your essay at the last minute. Please be sure to check your College Essay Organizer accounts for any recent changes and practice pasting in text from a text editor well before the application due date so that you can ensure a good fit. Please email us at [email protected] if you have any specific questions about this. We're always here to help.

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Common App Facing its Most Difficult Period in its History

The Common App recently sent out an email to members in an attempt to gain back user trust, which has been slowly eroding following months of technological glitches leading to schools across the country beginning to extend early application deadlines. The letter describes how the Common App will begin revamping its approach:

"As an organization, we have been too slow to respond. That ends today. We have written this communication to highlight three core values of our mission, explain how we have fallen short in realizing them, and provide details about how we pledge to do better."

Members can now subscribe here for daily updates on the status of current glitches the Common App is working through. Unfortunately, many of the ongoing issues will not be fixed in time for early applicants. If you would like to know more about the Common App's issues and how to avoid them, you can log into your College Essay Organizer account and click on the Essay Access tab to register for our upcoming webcast on Oct. 29 at 8pm entitled, "The Common Mis-App: Avoiding the Glitches and Submitting in Style."  

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Duke University Extends Early Decision Deadline Due to Common App Glitches

Christoph Guttentag, the dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke University, recently sent an email about the deadline being extended from Nov. 1 to Nov. 8 to thousands of potential applicants. He also vowed to keep the mid-December decision notification date the same, increasing the pressure on admissions officers to complete their gargantuan task in less time. Dozens of colleges are expected to follow Guttentag's lead issuing the first known extension due to technological glitches (following a Hurricane Sandy-induced extension last year).

Will the Common App's struggles lead to schools finding other alternatives to the Common App next year? Click here to listen to  Guttentag's interview with Marketplace on this issue.

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Early Deadlines Being Extended Due to the Common App's Glitches

Colleges are appropriately responding to the many hurdles they and their students are facing due to the Common App's major glitches, with UNC and Georgia Tech both extending their early deadlines an additional week. The October 15th early deadline has opened up a whole new can of worms, revealing a host of additional issues to resolve before the even more popular November 1 deadline, from more missing questions (check your College Essay Organizer accounts to make sure you have them all) to sections of essays disappearing during transmission.

Whether or not a resolution will occur is up in the air, with many losing faith fast. While the Common App has admitted to issues, it has been in disagreement with members as to its extent. According to one student's comments, “4 different computers. 4 different locations. 4 different browsers. None work. Hmmm. Not systemic?”

To read more about the Common App's latest issues, read this article.

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