With early admission deadlines looming for hundreds of thousands of students, the new version of the online Common Application shared by more than 500 colleges and universities has been plagued by numerous malfunctions, alarming students and parents and putting admissions offices weeks behind schedule, The New York Times reports.
“It’s been a nightmare,” Jason C. Locke, associate vice provost for enrollment at Cornell University. “I’ve been a supporter of the Common App, but in this case, they’ve really fallen down.”
Colleges around the country have posted notices on their admissions web sites, warning of potential problems in processing applications. Some Minnesota colleges have created an optional partial application. The Georgia Institute of Technology has one of the earliest fall application deadlines, Oct. 15, but it was not able to start reviewing applications on a large scale until last week and has postponed the deadline for some supporting paperwork until Nov. 1.
The problems have sown worry among students like Lily Geiger, a 12th grader at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan, increasing the stress level in an already stressful experience. When she entered her essays into the application, what appeared on her computer screen was a garbled mess. Some words were mashed together; others were split in two by random spaces; there were swaths of blank space where text should have been; paragraph indentations were missing.
“I was completely freaked out,” she said. “I spent the whole weekend trying to fix it, and I kept thinking, what if I can’t fix everything by the deadline, or what if I missed something?”