Dec 20, 2011

The Common Application Continues to Warn Last Minute Applicants

In a recent post on Facebook, officials from the Common Application organization warn college-bound seniors to submit materials well in advance of posted deadlines and to pay particular attention to the order in which they send required elements of individual applications.
“If you are applying to a college that requires a payment before you can submit your application, do not wait until the deadline to pay,” according to the Common Application. “Processing of credit card and eCheck payments can take up to 48 hours, and you will not be able to submit your application until the payment has gone through.
Approximately one-third of the Common App’s member colleges and universities require that students submit a payment or supplement—or both—before submitting the application. In these cases, the requirements are clearly displayed in the Application section of a student’s My Colleges page.

Unfortunately, online credit card payments can take up to two days to go through the system. Because a record of payment will not appear in a student’s account until the fee has been processed, students who wait until the last minute may find they are unable to submit an application because of delays in updating their account. And once a deadline has passed for a particular college, the Common Application may no longer permit applications to be submitted to that college.

Locally, Christopher Newport, the College of William & Mary, Towson University, UVa, and the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) require both payment and the required supplement before the application may be submitted. Other area schools including American University, George Washington, the University of Mary Washington, and Johns Hopkins want their applications first and payments second. In other words, there’s no predicting who wants what. You just have to pay attention to the instructions!

In addition to potential submission snafus related to forms sequencing, students should also be aware that technical support is not an instantaneous operation. The Common Application annually reminds students that waiting until the “eleventh hour,” may not leave enough time for staff to respond to questions submitted electronically “before the clock strikes midnight.”

For those keeping track, the Common App reports that individual applicants registering with the system now number over 411,799—19 percent more than last year. And as of December 15th, 1,372,017 applications have already been submitted to Common App member colleges. This represents a 20 percent increase over this time last year.

For more information or further clarification of rules relating to the timely submission of applications, visit the Common Application website.

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