By Jana Persky
Stanford undergraduate admissions closed Restrictive Early Action submissions at 11:59 p.m. Monday night, after extending the original deadline by three days due to technical difficulties with the Common Application.
Stanford joined several other schools around the country in postponing the early deadline.
“We realized that the technical challenges are real and we really felt [giving] an opportunity to the applicants would really help their process as much as possible,” said Associate Dean and Director of Admission Colleen Lim M.A. ‘80. “We appreciate the process and the frustration that [students] have gone through, and that’s one of the reasons that we chose to extend the deadline.”
The Common Application, the online college admission platform that is used by more than 500 schools, has had widely documented glitches since a new version was rolled out last summer.
“This new application system was intended to be a more robust system able to effectively guide applicants and schools through the complex college application process and to efficiently handle the growth of student applications and related forms,” wrote Scott Anderson, senior director of policy for the Common Application, in a statement to The Daily. “As with any new technological launch, some difficulties arose after launch and as more users interacted with the system.”
Jake Cook, a high school senior from Georgia, said that he didn’t have major issues with his Stanford application because he had turned it early, but that he has had problems working on his applications for other schools.
“Sometimes I would submit sections of my application and get no results,” Cook said. “The website would completely freeze and I had no way of knowing if my information went through or not.
“For something as important as college admittance, this uncertainty causes a lot of stress on prospective students,” he added.
According to the Washington Post, more than 40 schools have extended their deadlines, including Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke and the University of Chicago.
Stanford’s extension was announced on Oct. 28 on the admission office’s website and social media sites.
“The deadline was Nov. 1, which is Friday, so we were concerned with the students who were going to have difficulties and would not be able to reach us over the weekend,” Lim explained. “We extended it to Monday so that we would actually be here and be able to provide the best service possible.”
Lim said it was hard to assess the effect the Common Application’s technical challenges had on Stanford applicants. She said that the admission received more than 700 emails last weekend, but most of them were typical admission questions and a few were related to technical concerns.
On the morning of Nov. 5, the Office of Admission posted a note addressing students who still hadn’t been able to submit their application.
“As we messaged on Friday, we’ll be as flexible as possible if a student truly had technical difficulties that precluded them from submitting their application,” Lim said. “So we’ve asked people to be in touch with us on our website and follow those steps.”
Stanford’s current Regular Decision application deadline is Jan. 1, and Lim said it was too soon to know if that deadline would be affected at all.
“[The Common Application] is working pretty much 24/7 to rectify the issues and challenges and so we are seeing progress,” Lim said. “We’re trying to recognize all the issues and trying to be as flexible as we possibly can.”
Contact Jana Persky at jpersky ‘at’ stanford.edu.