Common App concerns, 10/21 update

by Ken Anselment on October 21, 2013

Last week was a rough week for many people touched by the Common Application:

  • students trying to apply with the Common Application (however, not all students are encountering problems, which is either weird, or a sign of hope that things are getting better, albeit incrementally);
  • teachers and counselors trying to submit recommendations for those students (same thing; the problems are not universal);
  • parents trying to comfort their kids as they struggled through completion;
  • the 500+ Common App colleges who are themselves struggling to help these groups navigate a stressful college application process that has been exacerbated by the Common App’s mechanical issues.

All of this might explain the message that I and my other Common Application college admission colleagues received Friday night from the Common Application’s director of communications acknowledging the poor quality of their communications about the issues plaguing Common App users. The director promised that, from that point forward, they would do a better job communicating about Common App issues (along with the better job they promise to be doing fixing the issues with the Common Application).

True to their word, Monday morning brought some updates from the Common Application. I’ll share below the ones that are relevant for students, parents, teachers, and counselors.

October 21, 2013

As promised, we are sending daily updates regarding system performance and support. We will continue this communication as long as there is news to share.

Parchment. Parchment informed us this weekend that it had completed the work necessary for its counselors to be able to submit transcripts to our system.

Preview PDF Progress. Last night we released a fix to address the problem that has been preventing some applicants from seeing the Preview PDF during the application submission process. As with all new releases, we will monitor this one closely over the next several hours to ensure that it is working as intended.

Help Center Interruption. On Saturday night, the Help Center was unavailable for approximately 3 hours due to a service interruption at the third-party vendor that operates our support software. The vendor worked quickly to identify and resolve the problem, and they join us in apologizing to users who were impacted by this delay. The vendor has taken extra precautions to avoid any future interruption in service.

Editing/Saving Errors. On Saturday night and again on Sunday morning, some students encountered errors when trying to edit and save their applications. None of our internal monitoring indicated a problem, which suggests the issue was isolated to a particular server or part of the system. That would explain why most users did not encounter any difficulty. In all, we received about 100 support tickets on the topic.

I will share relevant updates with you as I receive them from the Common Application, along with any news from our end, as well. If you’re on Twitter, you can follow @CommonApp and get the same updates directly.

Again, if you are a Lawrence applicant encountering problems with your Common App, please connect with your Lawrence admissions counselor directly.

Thank you for your patience.

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