Common Problems for the CommonApp

The CommonApp is having troubles. Lots of them. PDF problems, billing problems, and login issues, just to name a few. We could go on and on, as social media has, about how inconvenient this is for students applying early decision, but I’d rather look to action steps for regular decision.

Start early

If you’re applying regular decision to one of the 500+ colleges that accept the Common Application, may this fiasco serve as a lesson: start the process early and try to finish well ahead of schedule. Hopefully the CommonApp will fix its errors and we’ll have smooth sailing for the regular decision season, but it’s a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. Try to get your applications polished and submitted before the influx of students hits the server on December 31st.

Check with your school

If you’re applying early decision, many schools are pushing back the early decision deadline to accommodate the CommonApp’s glitches. Call your school’s admissions office to stay updated as to its deadlines for early and regular decision.

Keep tabs on your payment history

Some students are reporting that they are billed several times for submitting one application because they click the “submit” button several times. If the system doesn’t log your request the first time, don’t keep on clicking the button unless you want to pay dozens of processing fees! Note the time and day of your submission, as well as any automated emails sent from CommonApp. The CommonApp is issuing refunds for those multiple submissions, but it’s still a good idea to keep a running tally on your end.


College admissions is a stressful time, and technological glitches certainly don’t help. But colleges won’t penalize thousands of students unnecessarily because of problems outside their control. Stay updated with your colleges and with the CommonApp, but rest assured that they are working hard to get your applications to their destination.

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