Common App data processes continue to slow down operations

December 2, 2013

Across the United States, thousands of high school seniors are preparing to apply for college. While many institutions use their own form, a larger pool of universities use the Common Application. Slate contributor David Auerbach found that about 517 schools utilize this data entry service and expect that more schools may follow suit, unless their website continues to have issues.

Because of the Common App’s lack of data on applications that have been successfully processed, it is unclear how much further the system needs to expand its data processes to meet demand.

“Common App doesn’t have those numbers and has no plans to provide them,” Auerbach wrote. “If they haven’t figured out that they needed that mechanism yesterday, they’re doomed.”

The Common App aggregates a vast amount of information ranging from a home addresses to supplementary essay materials to college admission officers. Since the website revamped its interface in August, the website continues to slow down the process for these high school hopefuls. When Auerbach tried to address these concerns, he did not find great success in finding solutions to these Common App problems.

When asked about the percentage of successfully processed applications, Common App’s senior director of policy Scott Anderson told him that “[t]hose are not statistics that we track.” However, Anderson did admit that the Common App is wrongfully reporting to students that their application is incomplete because the system’s “automated retrieval process” still has its glitches.

It is unclear when the Common App will face these problems head on, but if they do not do so soon, it can hurt a prospective student’s chances of meeting deadlines. On the other hand, colleges that were considering the Common App may decide not to utilize their service either.

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