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Common Application problems send students scurrying

Glitches plague application site used by thousands of colleges

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Frustration is mounting as the Nov. 1 deadline for early decision applications looms for many universities and colleges across the country.

Ken Anselment offers a yoga instructor’s advice to high school seniors and parents who are panicking about glitches in an online college application system used by more than 500 higher-education institutions to decide who gets in and who doesn’t.

“Take a deep breath. Hold it. Lower your shoulders. Exhale.”

Anselment, dean of admissions and financial aid for Lawrence University, wrote on the school’s admissions blog: “Your application to Lawrence will be OK.”

The system, known as the Common Application, is the only way to apply to Lawrence, at least for now. The school is working on a Plan B if the bugs aren’t worked out of the latest version of the Common App—bugs such as portions of essays being deleted or jumbled, submitted applications or parts of applications not going through, even double charges for the same application.

Frustration is mounting as the Nov. 1 deadline for early decision applications looms for many universities and colleges across the country.

The early decision deadline is for students who are certain they want to attend a particular school. It might be their best chance of getting in, especially if it’s a top-flight institution, because schools tend to admit a higher percentage of applicants who apply early.

(Next page: What colleges are telling prospecting students who experience trouble with the Common Application)

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