The Great Common App Crash of 2014
Happy New Year!
In the world of college admissions, the first of the year is a defining day on the calendar. It’s the application deadline for an enormous number of colleges, and as such, often becomes one of the most stressful days of the year. I wrote a longer post on this here, but I thought I’d share thoughts quickly on the front page of my blog.
In my work as a counselor, I’ve experienced this many times, and one of the primary takeaway points I want to emphasize is that the “crashing of the server” is in most cases more based in myth than in fact. It’s really a “slowing down of the server” that won’t impede submission unless you literally leave only minutes to spare.
This year was an exception. With the new (and oh-so-glitchy) CA4, students couldn’t even log in to their Common Application account starting at 8:45pm EST and lasting through the next three hours. However, the initial shock gave way, again, to what historical record has shown. With patience and persistence, students were able to log in and submit. I was in contact with several students during this time, and each was able to ultimately successfully submit, but not without some nerves building with refresh after refresh.
A secondary takeaway took form the next day, when CommonApp announced that all partner schools would accept applications coming on January 2nd as well. This is what I think is really important for stressed-out applicants (and their parents) to remember. Even though many schools reject far more applicants than they accept, they are not out to get you. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. My friends in admissions offices are some of the more sympathetic (and empathetic) people I know. Good people who are really hoping for the success of every applicant whose file crosses their desk. Of course, admitting all of them isn’t possible, but admissions offices and the people at Common App are on your side, and will do what they can to ensure that every student can successfully submit her or his applications.
In the unfortunate event that you find yourself up against a deadline and thwarted by a technical difficulty, remember that you’ll likely get a reprieve.
But don’t do it twice – that just looks irresponsible.
And for anyone looking for a place to vent application frustrations or seek refuge in a community of similarly irked applicants, simply do a Twitter search for “Common App” any year on November 1, January 1, and January 15.