Every college applicant knows about the "hardship essay," which asks a teenager to write about overcoming an obstacle. Here's a suggested approach:
"Being a high school senior unnerved by college applications was tough enough until I tried to fill out the Common Application and the site froze, then refused to accept my writing and rejected my teachers' recommendations."
That's right. College application season turned into a nightmare this month as the Common App site crashed just as hundreds of thousands of early applicants got to work. This debacle could have been avoided. More important, it underscores the problems of using a single site to apply to a dozen or more colleges.
The Common App, which started in 1975, has been a great tool for students who want to apply efficiently to several colleges. But like everything on the high end of college admissions, it's gotten way out of hand.