The Gustavian Weekly

Technical error affects college applications nationwide | The Gustavian Weekly

By Haley Bell Staff Writer | December 6, 2013 | News

Colleges throughout the nation are busy reviewing applications of potential candidates for next year’s enrollment. More than 500 institutions, including Gustavus Adolphus College, use the Common Application and have been making an effort to tend to the needs of panicking high school seniors while the system undergoes technical difficulties.

“For us, it is an issue because we are about 35 percent common app and we get about 5000 applications a year. Students will think their file is complete and will contact us saying they’re waiting when we haven’t received anything. We have had to manually go through applications,” Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Thomas Crady said.

The Common Application allows students to apply to multiple colleges with one form. The website changed its software on Aug. 1, and has had many problems since then.

“When the software came up, no one could get their applications in. We have had these problems pretty much since the software change,” Crady said.

With only weeks before deadlines for early applicants, the site has been down at various points, and students are unsure of whether or not their applications are being received.

“It is really surprising for an organization that has been around as long as this one has to not test drive this before the new software went out. It has been a huge nightmare for a lot of people,” Associate Vice President and Dean of Admission Rich Aune said.

Many students feared missing deadlines, but as a result of the issues, many application deadlines are being extended.

“It screwed up colleges’ deadlines and many were just getting applications when their deadlines were approaching,” Crady said.

Gustavus is at an advantage during the enrollment process in comparison to some other colleges.

“We were in much better shape than a lot of schools, because we aren’t Common App exclusive,” Admission Counselor and Coordinator of Marketing and Technology in Admission JJ Akin said.

With so many problems with the new software, students that wanted to hear back from the college before Jan. 1 were strongly encouraged to apply using the application specifically for Gustavus.

“It hasn’t caused us a great amount of problems because not all of our applications are Common App,” Aune said.

The staff at Gustavus, along with other Colleges, are finding ways to meet the needs of students that have struggled with the Common Application. According to Gustavus Admissions, student’s applications have been looked at individually so that those people can be contacted about any information that may be missing from their applications. Students are not being denied because of these issues and admission staff has been working to accommodate the applicants.

Gustavus has rolling, early admissions, and students don’t need to commit to attending until May.

The company has posted updates through social media saying that they are currently investigating the glitches. The website has improved on certain issues, but people are still frustrated with the way these issues have been dealt with.

“One thing that was a frustration was that Common App didn’t communicate to the students that there were problems. It was frustrating for colleges because we felt like Common App should have been communicating these things with people,” Akin said.