Common Application glitches stress colleges, students

11:12 PM, Nov 1, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - Like there's not enough anxiety for students applying for colleges, now they also must wonder if colleges are actually receiving their completed applications.

A series of glitches in the online Common Application used by 500 colleges across the country is stressing students and causing increased workload for admission offices.

"It's been frustrating, to say the least," said Tom Crady, vice president for enrollment at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter.

Crady says his admissions staff has been putting in extra hours scanning applications and notifying students about material mysteriously missing from their applications.

"It's been a mess," he added.

At Hamline University, Milyon Trulove, dean of admissions and financial aid, says he became alarmed when he went online this week and saw half the number of Common Applications the university would normally expect.

"There have been a lot of comparisons made to the new healthcare website," chuckled Trulove.

He's had little to laugh at the past few days as the decision was made to delay the deadline for early decisions until the end of next week.

"We have to communicate with students to let them know that it's not their fault that they can't submit an application," said Trulove.

The Common Application is supposed to be a time-saver, allowing students to fill out one application for multiple schools, but a summer software upgrade did not go according to plan.

The organization that administers the Common Application acknowledged in a statement it was "too slow to respond" to the challenges facing applicants. It pledged to do better.

Winona senior Calvin Dretske finished his Common Application Thursday night without problems, though he had yet to file it as he toured the Hamline campus Friday.

"I've heard about it from a few friends and they've had difficulties with it," he said.

Still Dretske seemed unfazed.

"The few schools I'm looking at have extended their deadlines."

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