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CommonApp.org causes problems for college applicants

5:15 PM, Oct 31, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- We have all heard about the healthcare website woes

Some high school seniors are running into major speed bumps because of another website. This one's supposed to help them get into college.

CommonApp.org is supposed to make the application process easier for students, who can submit applications through the site. It also works for schools as they can keep better track of who has applied and where they are in the process.

"By having just the common application students nowhere to go and it eases the process for them," said Laurie Koehler, Sr. Associate Provost for Enrollment at George Washington University.

But for many, this year, an already stressful time has become even more stressful.

The non-profit CommonApp.org provides applications for students to submit to more than 500 participating universities, recently made some upgrades to their website. 

Those have not gone as planned.

Students and parents have complained about college essays being deleted, being unable to submit letters of recommendation and an inability to submit information or log in to the website. Some have been double-charged for a single application and there are some instances where the website has crashed all together.

"I've heard from some of my friends that some of their top choices and early decisions have been extended by a week or so," said Stephanie Seiden, a prospective student at American University, among other schools.

Across town, GWU uses the Common App exclusively. It is the only way to submit an application to the school. The problems they have run into have prompted some changes.

"We did decide to extend our early decision deadline by ten days that was really to ease the anxiety of students and teachers and counselors," said Koehler.

Many schools around the country have followed suit as Common App works on fixing the glitches. But some students, like Seiden, have personal no complaints.

"It has worked flawlessly so far," she said.

Isabella Riog is a junior at American University who used the program when applying in 2011. She says it was a seamless process then and again this year for her younger sister.

"[She] is a senior in high school and she has had no problems," said Riog.

No problems. At least none other than the normal stress of applying to colleges.

Getting in touch with Common App has been another struggle for stressed out students and parents, as the non-profit as been directing people to their website.

But universities have been receiving updates from Common App.

So, if you are in this situation, a good place to start is to try to communicate with the university you are applying to.

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