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Students panic over online college application glitches

Glitches in the new version of the online Common Application is making it difficult for students to turn in their college applications.
October 21, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Many high school seniors are finding it difficult to send in their college applications early this year because an online application portal called the Common Application has been plagued by glitches in its new software. And what's worse than a stressed out senior? How about a panicked parent?

Jonathan Chan went online to apply to several colleges through Common Application.

"It's hectic, it's a lot of work, I'm just glad it's done," Chan said.

Using only one form, students can pick their colleges from a list of more than 500 universities in the US and abroad. It's been so popular, Common Application decided to spend millions of dollars to upgrade its system. But when students started to fill out the early applications this month there were clearly problems with the software.

"Parents have been emailing me telling me their daughter has been trying to submit and then they go to 'my colleges,' all their colleges that are on a list, and half of them are gone," college placement advisor Michelle Myers said.

Myers is an independent college advisor in Walnut Creek. All of her 20 seniors have had some kind of problem. There are reports of students repeatedly being logged out or duplicated payments.

Chan says he spent days trying to get his application in.

"And what we realized was that when I typed in my name into the Common App account, I said Jonathan Chan and I put a space bar after and that set off a bunch of problems and I wasn't able to connect," Chan said.

Twitter has been a place to report and vent the problems.

Some colleges have been forced to extend their early application deadlines. St. Mary's College in Moraga says it may have to do the same. The college is now behind in the college application process because of these glitches.

"This has never happened before. We have a wonderful staff of folks that will work late into the night to make everything happens correctly for our students and our families," St. Mary's College Senior Associate Director of Admissions Omar Zazueta said.

The Common Application has apologized and over the weekend and managed to fix two of the major problems with the website.

They will now issue daily updates to help students meet their deadlines.


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