Common App, Common Problems

Every year, high school seniors across the United States come together to cry, pull their hair out, and doubt themselves. They wonder if anything they’ve ever done was right. Who’s to blame for the stressed-out mass of students? You guessed it: our friends at the Common Application.

Applying to college is hard enough as it is. Students rack their brains to figure out if they are just interesting and intelligent enough to get into their school of choice. Did I take enough APs? Did I do enough volunteer work? Should I adopt a child to seem compassionate? These days it seems like students need to go above and beyond what is possible to achieve as a human being in order to have so much as a fighting chance at being admitted to a good college. However, college stress is only amplified by the issues the Common App has been presenting this year after its makeover last summer.

If a St. Luke's student wants to have any hope of walking in the Harvard Yard, they will have to weather the challenges of a flawed applications process.

If a St. Luke’s student wants to have any hope of walking in the Harvard Yard, they will have to weather the challenges of a flawed applications process.

Many students have had serious issues with sending in applications this year. Colleges have had to push back their early deadlines in order to allow students to make sure they have enough time to send their applications in on time without having to fight the Internet.

Senior Amber Calhoune is one of these students. “I went to send in my application to my top school the day before it was due,” said Calhoune, “and it said ‘Sorry, but we cannot process your application’ and I tried for an hour and it kept saying that, but I’d been billed for the application. So the next morning I had to log back in and it let me skip a few steps and click apply.”

Even though Amber was eventually able to complete her application successfully, and has received confirmation from the university, the stress that comes with the inability to process something as important as a college application is immeasurable.

Maddie Jodka ’14 had a similar problem when it came to actually submitting her application. Jodka said her problem was similar to Amber Calhoune’s, “After I paid to submit the first section of the Common App, I clicked okay and then it said server not available – so I was like, did it not work?”

She, like Amber and many others, eventually figured it out and was able to submit her application successfully however she worries about the money wasted on accidental payments, saying that “some people probably paid twice because of [problems].”

Robert Powis ’14 had a different problem. As a resident alien, Powis is forced to upload a photo of his green card to the website. However, the Common App wasn’t liking what he submitted. “I spent an hour trying to get it to be to the Common App’s liking,” said Powis. “All together it took like three hours longer [to do].”

Gardner Tregallas ’14 found himself in a particularly frustrating position: editing his essay multiple times to make sure everything he wrote was there. “My problem with the CA was when I tried to post my CA essay into the text box it would delete random sentences in my essay,” said Tregallas. “So I had to go through my whole essay over and over again making sure all the content was there.”

The good people at the Common Application are aware of the problems occurring with the website and in attempts to reach out to those having problems have created a solution through means of the most up-to-date technology: Twitter. Yes, the Common Application has a Twitter account that guides students through the application, tweeting helpful tips and frequently asked questions. However, sometimes Common App takes a break to get to the important issues such as bullying math. On September 5th, 2013, the Common App tweeted, “A teacher’s plea: “It’s ok if you don’t like math. Just try not to bad mouth it to your kids. You only make [our] job more challenging.” You know, super important things that students want to be weeding through as they search for the answer to the question they just can’t seem to get answered sufficiently.

So seniors do not fret. There are a few things you can do if you find yourself suffering at the hand of the Common App. Always make sure to giver yourself time to turn in applications, double check all of your information, and follow @commonapp on Twitter to get updates on any new problems discovered with the system.

— Riley Vaske, Staff Writer

Posted by on November 13, 2013. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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