Greenwich Academy Press

The Student News Site of Greenwich Academy

Greenwich Academy Press

Greenwich Academy Press

Deadlines Approach, Common App Raises Stress

Deadlines Approach, Common App Raises Stress

With application deadlines approaching, the stress affecting the senior class is palpable. Add to this stress beach-balling PDF previews, slow connection, and error messages, and the application process becomes unbearable.

Screen Shot 2013-11-24 at 11.14.51 AM

Seniors, college counselors, and even the admissions officers of the 517 colleges and universities that accept the Common Application are in panic mode as Early Decision deadlines recede and Early Action deadlines approach.

Established in 1975 by a group of fifteen private colleges, the Common Application was created so students could submit one standardized application to any of the different member schools. Students wanting to apply to more than one college or university did not have to complete separate forms with the same exact information.

This year marked the launch of the CA4, the fourth generation of this crucial website. Instead of updating the previous Common App software, the CA4 was built from scratch. According to New York Times reporter Richard Pérez-Peña, the newly designed CA4 was supposed to make the application process much smoother by providing a user-friendly website and making it easier for colleges to upload their supplements.

However, the transition to the CA4 has been far from smooth. Students have complained of improperly formatted essays, incomplete payment checkouts, and password trouble.

“Right as I was about to submit [my application]… my Common App deleted my entire activities section, so I had to put it in again,” said Nikki Kaufmann, Group XII.

Kaufmann added that the print preview for both the Common App and supplemental essays took a long time to load.

Britt Mikkelsen, XII, experienced difficulty when trying to pay the submission fee. “When I went to pay, the payment process got frozen, and I had to repay,” Mikkelsen said.

The College Counseling Office has had its own share of issues stemming from the new Common App. Naviance, the program the school uses to send students’ transcripts, teacher recommendations, and other forms to colleges has shown some incompatibility with the new Common App.

According to Mrs. Melissa Anderson, the Assistant Director of College Counseling, the glitches “have made it difficult for colleges to download students’ applications.” Of course the most pressing problem for the College Counseling Office has been managing the rising stress levels from both students and parents.

Responses from Common-App-accepting colleges have varied. Although all colleges and universities acknowledged the obstacles that students have had to face with the CA4, many universities, including Harvard, Yale, and Princeton did not change their November 1 deadlines.

A few Early Decision schools including Columbia, Duke, and Tufts pushed their deadlines back to November 8. Some Early Action schools such as Georgia Tech and UNC Chapel Hill extended their October 15 deadlines to October 21.

Despite the extensions, college admissions officers have still promised to send decisions out to applicants in mid-December.

For its part, The Common Application issued a statement to its member schools, urging them not to penalize applicants for errors that have emerged in the text-to-PDF conversion of essays and supplements.

The team has continued to work to fix the errors that have been occurring and hopes that by the time Regular Decision deadlines approach, the website will be functioning smoothly.


More to Discover
Activate Search
Deadlines Approach, Common App Raises Stress