Common App concerns, 10/29 update

We are under the impression that things are getting better with the Common Application with every passing day. According to Scott Anderson, Common App’s senior communication guy, the Common App had processed 350,000 applications, an increase of 28% over last year at this time. More important, he says that “while submission volume is growing daily, we have seen no recurrence of what  happened on October 14, the day many users were unable to log in to their accounts.”

If, however, you are one of the folks running into issues trying to submit your Common Application, here—directly from the Common App—are a couple of common problems and fixes:

Error Page upon Submission. On occasion, an applicant may see an error page upon submission. If this happens, the applicant should:

  1. log out of his or her account
  2. log back in
  3. go the Dashboard. The Dashboard should display confirmation that the application was submitted despite the error message observed during the submission process. The problem is with the page redirect, not the actual submission. We are working to fix this issue.

Unable to Create Account. There are some cases where recommenders are not able to create an account after clicking the “here” link within the recommender email invitation. If you encounter this issue, please contact the Help Center at so that the support team can resolve this for you.

Remember, if you’re having problems with the application itself, please get in touch with your Lawrence admissions counselor so we can (a) be aware of the problem and (b) make any necessary accommodations.

The Common Application essay prompts for 2014 are here!

Lawrence University is an exclusive user of the Common Application. The newly overhauled version of the “Common App” for the 2014 academic year goes live on August 1, 2013, but the Common App board has already released the new essay prompts. If you want to start thinking about the prompts, and maybe even drafting some early versions of your essay, here is what you’ll find on August 1:

Instructions. The essay demonstrates your ability to write clearly and concisely on a selected topic and helps you distinguish yourself in your own voice. What do you want the readers of your application to know about you apart from courses, grades, and test scores? Choose the option that best helps you answer that question and write an essay of no more than 650 words, using the prompt to inspire and structure your response. Remember: 650 words is your limit, not your goal. Use the full range if you need it, but don’t feel obligated to do so. (The application won’t accept a response shorter than 250 words.)

  • Some students have a background or story that is so central to their identity that they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.
  • Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what lessons did you learn?
  • Reflect on a time when you challenged a belief or idea. What prompted you to act? Would you make the same decision again?
  • Describe a place or environment where you are perfectly content. What do you do or experience there, and why is it meaningful to you?
  • Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.