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Common Application Gears Up for Busiest Day of the Year

Lots of high school seniors will be celebrating the New Year in front of their computer screens trying to meet college-application deadlines, and officials at the Common Application say they are ready to handle the volume.

Historically, Dec. 31 is the highest traffic day for the Common App site, which processes online applications for students wanting to attend one of its 500 member institutions, according to Scott Anderson, the senior director of policy for the Arlington, Va.-based nonprofit.

The Common Application is expecting a total of 900,000 applications and related documents to be submitted in the three weeks leading up to Jan. 15. So far, nearly 480,000 applicants have used the system to submit college applications since the August 1 launch of the new 2013-14 Common Application—nearly a 20 percent increase in application volume over last year, says Anderson.

This fall, students faced technical glitches with the rollout of the new version of the Common App. Some fall deadlines were extended to accommodate the delays that many faced uploading documents.

Anderson says fewer than five member institutions have alerted his organization that their January deadlines will be pushed back in anticipation of any continued problems. Inside Higher Ed reports that Cornell University and Lehigh University are among the schools that have extended their early January application deadlines.

"We are cautiously confident that the preparations we have taken and the improvements we have made over the last several weeks will allow applicants and recommenders to continue submitting successfully," Anderson wrote in an email to Education Week. "We know that individual users will have questions, and our support team is ready to assist."

To prepare for the year-end volume, Common App officials have conducted a final round of testing to simulate the expected volume on Dec. 31, and there will be three times as many support team members as last year to assist with questions 24/7.


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