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Colleges contend with Common App problems by extending January deadlines

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A handful of colleges are quietly notifying students on their mailing lists of regular decision (RD) application extensions granted as a result of recent problems with the Common Application.

In the hours leading up to New Year’s Day deadlines, the Common App slowly ground to a halt and eventually shut down 30 minutes before midnight.

Although the application was brought back online three hours later, applicants still experienced issues throughout the evening and into the next morning with missing data and blank fields.

Knowing that application volume would reach its peak the evening of January 1, the Common Application increased Help Desk staffing in the days leading to New Year’s. But even with additional support, the Help Desk failed to keep up with the number of inquiries and requests for assistance that flooded in as anxious students struggled to submit their applications on time.

A number of colleges had been following the situation closely and began contacting students on their mailing lists as well as those students they knew had not fully submitted their Common Applications.

In an email titled “The Top Twelve Reasons to Finish Your Application,” the University of Chicago listed the twelfth reason as, “In the spirit of the holidays, we will even give you until January 3rd to submit your application. So now you have 3 extra days and no excuse not to finish it!"

And Swarthmore advised applicants of their extension to Monday, January 6, by acknowledging the Admissions Office “…heard from many of you that issues with the Common Application website are ongoing and that January 1 was a particularly challenging date for online activity.”

Although colleges are changing their websites to reflect the new deadlines, the Common Application has not consistently kept up with the changes on their member grid.

Students still experiencing problems with their applications should both check their emails and admissions webpages for the new dates. More importantly, they should contact the Common Application Help Center for assistance.

In the meantime, here are a few colleges that have extended RD deadlines:

American University: RD and ED2 to January 20*
Amherst College: RD to January 10*
Barnard College: Extending deadline (no date provided)*
Boston College: RD to January 12*
Boston University: RD to January 3
Brandeis University: RD to January 8*
Brown University: Extending deadline (no date provided)
Carnegie Melon University: RD to January 2
Colby College: RD to January 5
College of William and Mary: RD to January 8*
Columbia University: RD to January 6
Cornell University: RD to January 9
Dartmouth College: RD to January 10*
Duke University: RD to January 5*
Fordham University: RD to January 8*
Hamilton College: RD to January 8*
Johns Hopkins University: Extending deadline (no date provided)
Lehigh University: RD to January 10
Middlebury College: RD and ED II to January 10
Princeton University: RD to January 2
Stanford University: RD to January 2
Stonehill College: RD to January 22*
Swarthmore College: Winter ED and RD to January 15*
Syracuse University: Applications submitted by January 2 will be considered on time; applications received after will be considered on a "space available" basis
Tufts University: Extending deadline (no date provided)
University of Chicago: RD to January 3
University of Virginia: Will be “flexible”
Vanderbilt University: ED II and RD to January 15
Vassar College: RD to January 8*
Wake Forest University: RD to January 10*

* Update

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