For years, The Common Application has been the main show in town. They haven’t had a whole lot of competition, although the Universal College Application has put up some fight (and we’ve cheered them on as much as we can!). But with the Coalition for Access on the horizon, a coalition that is certainly not without its (major!) issues, the firm grip that The Common Application has on the admissions process is more tenuous than in years past. And while The Common Application has, in our humble opinion, attempted to restrain trade by financially penalizing universities that do no subscribe to Common App. on an exclusive basis, this tactic may not hold up going forward.
So suffice it to say that Common App. is in no position right now for everything not to go smoothly this year as students submit their applications to colleges. Remember the year in which there were so many glitches with Common App. that colleges had to extend deadlines? Those of us in the college admissions community sure do. While we haven’t seen major glitches with the Common App. this year, there are glitches and since we know the folks at Common App. read our college admissions blog, we figured we’d point them out to them. They may not be able to fix these issues in time for the Early Decision / Early Action deadline, but perhaps they can fix the issues in time for Regular Decision.
Here are the two main issues we’ve encountered: 1.) Students can’t form new paragraphs this year. They can’t indent to demarcate where a new paragraph should start. That’s really silly. The ability to form a new paragraph is kind of important, we’d argue, in essays. This shouldn’t be too hard for Common App. to fix so that paragraphs don’t all blend together. It’s not aesthetically pleasing; (2) Even when students write essays that are within the proper word counts, the last paragraph often disappears. After cutting and pasting the last paragraph in separately, this usually corrects itself but many students are going to accidentally submit their essays without closing paragraphs.
Come on, Common App. Fix these errors and fix them with expedience.