Several of the nation's top colleges and universities have postponed their early application deadlines over the last few days, prompted by continued reports that students and high schools are stumbling over technical problems with the Common Application.
Nov. 1 deadlines have been pushed back to Nov. 8 at Northwestern, the University of Chicago, Duke, Columbia, Barnard, Dartmouth and Tufts. Boston University announced a delay to Nov. 15, while Syracuse postponed its Nov. 15 deadline to Dec. 1. Earlier, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill extended their Oct. 15 deadlines to Oct. 21.
"There's always anxiety approaching deadlines, but this has been on a different scale," said Christoph Guttentag, dean of undergraduate admissions at Duke. "We've been getting a lot of e-mails, a lot of phone calls, from students and counselors and teachers who were feeling very challenged by the process."
At colleges that have announced delays, officials said they hoped it would not only give some practical relief to people struggling with the application, but also calm them down.
Some of the most competitive universities, including Princeton, Stanford, Yale and Harvard, which take the Common Application, have not announced any deadline changes.
In recent days, some colleges that rely heavily on the Common Application have sought to bypass it, at least partly. Princeton said it would start to accept a competitor, the Universal College Application, which is used by fewer schools. Other colleges have said they will accept documents from high schools on paper, rather than electronically.
The Common Application, which students fill out online, is used by 517 colleges and universities, including nearly all of the most prestigious. In August, the company behind it, also called the Common Application, released a new version that has had a long list of problems, making it harder for students to fill out, for high schools to send transcripts and recommendations, and for colleges to download all of that material to their computers. And on Monday, the Web site crashed for hours.
Rob Killion, executive director of the Common Application, said of the problems: "We're very close to having them all fixed. Most of them are."
Officials largely agree, but judging by the flow of comments on Twitter, some students are still hitting obstacles.education
This article originally appeared in The New York Times. First Published October 19, 2013 2:01 PM