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Problems with Common Ap cause colleges to push back deadlines

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via the Washington Post  by Valerie Strauss

Problems with the new version of the online Common Application — which is accepted for college admissions by more than 500 colleges and universities — has prompted some schools to push back early decision deadlines, and others are waiting to see when the problems are resolved before deciding whether to do the same thing.

Panicked students and high school admissions counselors as well as college admissions offices have been complaining for weeks that many students have had problems getting onto the Common App site, including staying on the site, entering information, requesting teacher recommendations  and making payments.

For some time, essays that were entered into the Common App writing section showed no paragraph breaks because, according to a recent e-mail from Common App spokesman Rob Killion, “Paragraph breaks weren’t originally supported in our writing text box (Line breaks yes, paragraph breaks no).”  Students and counselors spent hours trying to find ways to get around it, but there was no way to do so until it was fixed.

This note was on the Common App Web site Tuesday morning:

We are aware that some users are experiencing problems with the PDF previews. We are investigating the cause and will report as soon as we have information to share. As frustrating as this problem is for those who encounter it, please know that it is not systemic and does not impact all users.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgia Tech are among the schools that have announced that the original Oct. 15 deadlines have been pushed back to Oct. 21 after weeks of troubles with the Common App Web site.  Other schools, such as Princeton University, gave students a different method of applying, such as using the Universal College Application, which is different than the Common App. The Universal College Application is accepted at about three dozen schools, but more may sign on now.