The Harbinger Online

Common Application Glitch Impedes Seniors

Screen shot 2013-11-07 at 3.22.14 PMBased on Common Applications errors, senior Kevin Xu has faced sleepless nights, incomplete homework and a social hiatus. Common Application, also known as the Common App, has recently encountered failed login attempts, application submission and system slowness. These problems have been traced back to the Common App’s software update on Aug. 1. In response to these glitches certain colleges have pushed back their Early Application deadlines.

“[Common App’s failures] makes me kind of nervous. Homework, my social life and sleep have taken a backseat, especially this past week,” said Xu. “I’m applying early to Princeton and have been working on [the application] for the better part of the month. Its due Nov. 1 and if the website doesn’t work for me I might not be able to turn it in on time.”

At times the website has been online, but unavailable for access.  Effects from the glitched website may inhibit students getting into their college of choice, according to Xu. This is based on the fact that students could potentially miss their application deadlines because of all Common App’s glitches.

“I’ve had to submit about four different college applications now [through Common App], but one of the problems I was having was with the PDF generator,” senior Graeham Ryan said. “Once you have everything done and you’re ready to submit, you [clicked] this button [which said] generating PDF but nothing showed up. My parents and I left it running for about an hour and it never went through.”

According to their emails to students, some colleges associated with Common App are aware of its problems and have been working towards solutions. Schools such as Texas Christian University, The University of Miami and  Northwestern have pushed back their Early App deadlines. College’s Early Action deadlines are normally Nov. 1, but have been lengthened in order to accommodate students experiencing difficulties with Common App.

“I’m glad colleges are being considerate about their applicants, especially since students have been so stressed about something they can’t control,” said Xu. “It seems like the new Common App interface is still in its testing phase, and wasn’t planned out as well as it could have been.”

Common App is a non-for-profit organization based out of Arlington, Tex. Its goal is to make the college application process easier and less stressful for students by providing an online application compatible with over 500 colleges . Common App provides a format that enables students to apply to colleges online. Common App officials were not available for comment.

Teachers can also submit letters of recommendation through the site.

“For some reason it just would not let me in”, AHAP and Sociology teacher Vicki Arndt- Helgesen said. “I got in [the site] probably Oct. 20, and then, so far, I’ve been able to be in.”

Common App has been emailing updates affected students, teachers and counselors daily.

“We get email updates every day now from Common Application explaining [Common App’s glitches],” counselor Don Baker said. “It’s how they have set up the website, they’re talking about changing the browsers.”

Varying opinions exist about the effects on Common App on college admissions. According to Xu, worry exists that the delays from submitting applications will affect the admission into the college of his choice. However, Baker disagrees. He believes that because colleges are pushing their Early Application deadlines back and students will not be affected.

“I think all its doing to the kids is frustrating them,” Baker said. “I really don’t think it’s going to hurt any student at all because I think all the colleges are going to extend their deadlines. I mean, as a college I’m not going to punish you [the student] because a middle guy couldn’t make their website work. That wouldn’t be right.”

Through their Twitter account, Common App keeps their followers informed and up to date on problems and solutions. There is currently no proposed solution to Common App’s technological difficulties.

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