Common App Text Boxes Incorrectly Tallying Word Counts

As if students and colleges don't have enough on their minds already, here's another blunder by the Common App which continues to be fraught with problems since the launch of its new system on August 1. This year, the Common App requires that students paste their main essay into a text box to ensure that the length is not less than 250 words and no more than 650 words. While students have noticed numerous formatting issues and even parts of their essay missing when pasting text into the temperamental boxes, many are yet to notice that the boxes are not accurately counting the number of words being pasted in.

For those students pasting in from a text editor, you will escape this issue and many of the formatting issues as well, but for the majority of students pasting their essay from Microsoft Word, OpenOffice, or another word processor, you may be shocked by the initial word count you see, which appears to reduce the length of an essay by as much as 70 words. But don't panic! After you've diligently removed all the additional spaces that the Common App added in, the word counts will display correctly. So as you deal with the myriad other Common App issues this season, definitely keep this one in mind.

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