Yesterday I attended a fascinating NJACAC College Admissions Trends session, held at Princeton University. The panel included heads of admission from Princeton, Villanova, Muhlenberg, Drexel, University of Maryland, University of Delaware and Rutgers. The session mainly addressed new developments at the colleges and demographic application/admissions trends.
Common App Issues. Once the conversation turned to the Common App, colleges, independent educational consultants (IECs), and counselors were extremely open about ongoing frustrations. All shared a positive spirit of working together to resolve challenges in order to support students and to conduct timely and informed college application reviews. Here is a summary of issues and conclusions.
Admissions officers discussed the following recent problems:
- Received recommendations where only the student’s middle name appeared.
- Could not see images of the applications, only a confirmation of data sent.
- Could not download apps in time for the 10/1 likely letters to athletic recruits.
- Inaccurate information appearing on students’ portals on college admissions sites regarding Common App components received; elements that show up as not received may actually have been received.
Counselors and IECs discussed the inconsistency between applications showing up as submitted on Common App and Naviance websites for high schools where Naviance and Common App are linked. Counselors asked colleges for their preferences in how to handle (1) the inability to know what information has actually been received; (2) the continued inability for students and guidance offices to consistently and reliably transmit information and for colleges to consistently and reliably retrieve information.
How Should Students Proceed? The conclusions and recommendations of the admissions officers on the panel regarding how students should proceed in light of the Common App issues were as follows:
- There is a general consensus among Common App colleges that students will not be penalized if they are a few days late in submitting their application due to technical challenges, but of course students should still strive to submit by the application deadlines.
- Students should check each college’s online portal after all the components of the application have been submitted. If the college does not confirm receipt of items sent, call the admissions office. Ask each college if it would prefer that you send paper copies of any application components it has not received.
As independent educational consultants and counselors, we have the unique opportunity to role model for students how to handle challenges and obstacles through a combination of creative problem solving (submit applications during low usage times such as overnight), seeking and sharing information, resilience and collaboration!