“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
This adage may have a couple of errors in it, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the plethora of problems experienced by users of this year’s highly-touted CA4, the new version of the Common Application. It has made an already anxiety-provoking situation even more difficult. Students, counselors, advisors and parents have spent hours battling the endless loops, the inability to do paragraphing, the difficulty getting to see PDF previews, and the multiple charges of the application fees, to say the least. Of course, all new websites have glitches – but the Common App shouldn’t have had so many. Applicants are shaking their heads in disbelief at the Common App’s proud statement of its commitment to “providing reliable services that promote equity, access, and integrity in the college application process.”
There will be time for blame and recriminations after the deadlines have passed and the dust has settled, but for now, perhaps there should be an across-the-board postponement of November 1 deadlines to November 15 while some of the more egregious errors are corrected. Individual schools have already started to take the situation into their own hands. For example, Columbia University sent out the following email to applicants on October 15:
“If you are considering applying Early Decision to Columbia College or Columbia Engineering, please note that we are extending our deadline for applications and all supporting credentials to Friday, November 8, given the challenges some applicants have experienced with the Common Application.
Of course, this has not been updated on the Common App’s dashboard. Nor have the extensions offered by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgia Tech from October 15 to October 21.
If you “like” the Common App on Facebook (a relative term these days), you will be able to read their posts as they grapple with each problem. It may not make you feel much better, but at least you’ll know that you’re not alone!
Note: The Washington Post offers details in its article published on October 15