In spite of malfunctions, college will not postpone Common Application due date

Recently, the Common Application has been malfunctioning, causing many schools to extend application deadlines. As of now, however, the Swarthmore Fall Early Decision deadline remains November 15.

The Common Application, which over 500 member colleges use, updated to the Fourth Generation of the Common Application over the summer. In the past students have been able to print parts of the application to edit it or submit by mail, but this is no longer possible. In addition, the format was changed so that the application changes based on how each question is answered.

When the Common App updated all of the member colleges also had to update their applications. However, the Common App did not leave enough time for colleges to adjust to the new system.

“When they changed that system, they did not think through how long that would take for the testing and the beta testing,” said vice president and dean of admission Jim Bock. “They went live on August 1, but colleges didn’t have any of the data they needed to make those changes until July 27th.”

While Swarthmore’s application was available on August 1, when the application went live, other colleges’ applications were not. University of Chicago, Duke, Columbia and Northwestern, are among the colleges that have extended their deadlines for students. Although Swarthmore has not extended the application deadline, the college has committed itself to helping students through the application malfunctions.

“The Admissions Office is carefully monitoring the challenges that high school seniors and school counselors are facing with the Common Application and supporting credential submissions,” said the college’s Admissions Office said in a statement to prospective students, parents and college counselors. “We understand their frustration and anxiety, and we stand ready to work with all…We are monitoring the situation on a daily basis, and we will update this announcement as needed as we approach this first application deadline.”

In addition to creating challenges for admissions offices, the recent malfunctions have caused difficulties for students and college counselors.

“There are times when students cannot log-in, which always worries anxious students who have little time to devote to college apps on top of all of their other obligations,” said Catherine Ganung, associate director of college counseling, at the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut. “There are several other little quirks — completed tasks that do not show as completed can prevent students from going on to the next step, for instance.”

Despite not extending the deadline, Bock said the college will continue to work individually with prospective students as the application process continues.

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