Upcoming IECA Conferences:

May 10-13, 2017
Denver, CO

November 15-18, 2017
Washington, DC

College Admissions Panel at NJACAC Addresses Common App Problems

Julie Gross

by Julie Gross, IECA Member (NJ) 

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!

5 Responses to College Admissions Panel at NJACAC Addresses Common App Problems

  1. Dear Julie,

    I am so glad you had the opportunity to post this information on our blog. I was in attendance as well and it was really unbelievable and emphasizes the fact that more than ever we have to be outstanding guides for our students and our families as we help them navigate this challenging time. We will help them get all their information in on time and in good shape. They can count on us more than ever to stay in good spirits, and keep them on the right track, so that their college search process (the first one for most of these seniors) continues to be a positive experience!

    with a warm smile,
    Carolyn Mulligan
    Insiders Network to College

    See you in San Diego!

  2. Susan Sykes says:

    Julie, This is helpful information. Thank you for taking time to share your experience with all of us. Knowing specifically what colleges are seeing allows us to support our students more effectively as they make their way through the application process.

    • Julie Gross says:

      My pleasure! It’s so helpful for us to share information. Good luck with November 1 deadlines!

  3. Lori McGlone says:

    That’s a really productive way to frame the issue. Confusion and technical difficulties are a reality in today’s world (college admissions, health care insurance registration). Modeling how to function and move forward and remain productive in the face of this stress is what makes you a great asset to a family!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CAPTCHA * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.