With the Common Application’s 2014-15 debut on Aug. 1 came questions surrounding its ability to bounce back from a troubling year. As many colleges and universities evaluate their application process, some Common Application users consider alternatives.
Taylor Buscemi, a UNC freshman from Cary, was one of thousands of students affected by the 2013 Common App glitches that forced UNC and 45 other schools to extend their application deadlines.
“It would be loading, loading for hours, and it would never actually load,” Buscemi said of her application.
In 2013-14, more than 750,000 students used the Common Application, which allows them to submit one standard application to multiple schools. With 36 new member institutions this year, the nonprofit company expects that number to climb higher.
The coming application season will mark UNC’s fourth year on the application. Freshman applicant numbers have shot up since UNC began using the Common App. There were about 23,000 applicants for fall 2011 — the year before UNC adopted the Common App — and more than 31,000 applicants for this year’s incoming class.
Steve Farmer, vice provost of undergraduate admissions and enrollment, said he thinks the switch to the Common Application has been a good move for UNC, helping recruit out-of-state and international students.
In August 2013, the Common Application launched an updated version of its online system. But technological snags cropped up right after the application’s debut.
“It really hadn’t been fully alpha- and beta-tested,” said Cristiana Quinn, founder of College Admissions Advisors, a private consulting service.