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More colleges extend application deadlines due to Common App woes

Evy Mages/For The Washington Post - High school student Nathan Myers, 17, is seen at Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg. Myers is one of many students experiencing difficulties using an online college application form. High school student Nathan Myers at  Quince Orchard High School in Gaithersburg had troubles with the Common Application. (Evy Mages/For The Washington Post)

A growing number of colleges and universities around the country are extending early decision application deadline beyond Nov. 1 because of the continuing problems that some students, counselors and schools are facing with the newly designed online Common Application.

While a number of schools have extended the deadlines, some others have provided students with optional ways to submit applications; for example, Princeton University, Trinity College (in Connecticut), Tufts University  and Hampshire College have signed onto the online Universal College Application.

Schools that were early in extending their deadlines — including the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Georgia Tech — have been joined by a number of others, including  the University of Chicago, Yale, Columbia, Duke and Northwestern universities and Dartmouth College. So have Vanderbilt, Butler, Fordham, Johns Hopkins, George Washington, Villanova, Syracuse and Boston universities, along with others. Students are advised to check the Web sites of the colleges to which they are applying for final deadlines.

The Common Application, a not-for-profit organization, was developed in 1975 to make it easier to apply to college by reducing the number of separate applications and essays a student would have to complete for different schools. A new version of the Common App was introduced this fall, and there have been  numerous glitches with it, including problems with logging onto the site, staying on the site, submitting applications and uploading teacher recommendations.

Scott Anderson, senior director for policy for the Common App, said in an e-mail to counselors that a number of fixes to various problems had been made and others were ongoing. He said that more than 350,000 applications — a 28 percent increase of the same period last year — had been processed, and that most students did not encounter  problems.


Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.



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Valerie Strauss · October 28, 2013

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