Electronic Common App eases the college application process

In the past, high school seniors spent hours slaving over college applications. Finding a college that accepted the online Common Application was a miracle, preventing hand cramps from filling out paperwork and the stress that accompanies it. Today, it is difficult to find a college that does not accept the Common App.

According to The Washington Post, the Common Application was created in 1975 to reduce the amount of applications students complete for the college application process. A new version of the application was introduced this fall. Glitches have occurred and many colleges including Yale and Vanderbilt have extended their application deadlines to accommodate struggling students. However, Senior Director of Common Application Scott Anderson states in the article that most students have not had issues with the website.

Guidance Counselor Ms. Cindy Weeks organized a Common App help session to assist students who had issues with the website. However, Weeks found that most of the questions regarded word choice and how to organize information. “The Common App is very user friendly,” Weeks said.  “A student can make an account, work on the application a little bit, hit save, and then come back to it when they have more time.”

The Common Application has been electronic for all of Week’s five years at McNicholas, but this year is the first that the Common App is not accepting any paper applications. Weeks believes that being able to submit everything online will avoid the problem of delays between mailing applications and the colleges receiving them.

“There used to be a lot of delays, even up to a two week lag time between sending in applications and receiving notification of arrival. With the electronic application, you can see a time stamp when you submit. It’s also great from a student standpoint because they can see when I sent in their transcripts and they are notified when the paperwork is received,” Weeks said.

Despite applying to six colleges, senior Grace Hiltz is not a fan of the electronic application process. “I’d prefer my applications on paper,” Hiltz said. “Maybe I’m old-school, but paper is 100% reliable, whereas the website isn’t always reliable when it comes to saving your work, so sometimes parts of the application just disappear for no reason.”

On the other hand, English teacher Ashley Markesbery, graduate of Connor High School Class of 2004, preferred the electronic application process. “I liked it because I didn’t feel rushed. I could stop and save it at any point,” Markesbery said. “I only applied to one school, but if a student who is applying to more schools is able to do something once and send it to multiple places to make the process easier and faster, then I think that’s a great thing.”


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