Students trying to submit their college applications–including their essays–to The Common Application are finding all sorts of glitches and problems this fall. Apparently, it’s a new system and some students have spent literally hours trying to make it work–and often without any luck. Some colleges have had to extend their deadlines.

The good news is that my friend, Lynn O’Shaughnessy, a renowned college expert from San Diego, has written a list of tips you can follow to try to avoid the nightmare–or at least find ways to deal with it. I love Lynn because she’s also a professional journalist who knows how to get the best inside scoop and communicate it well. (If you are trying to figure out how you are going to pay for your education, you should check out her web site, blog, books, workshops, and everything she offers that you can get your hands on!)

Lynn did a terrific job explaining the entire CommonApp debacle in this recent article. She graciously let me share her tips for students below:

What You Should Do

1. Check to see which schools use the Common App. This might not even be an issue for your child.

2. If your child will be applying regular decision to Common Application schools, I’d sit tight for now. With deadlines typically in January or later, let’s hope that the Common App folks right this ship before then.

3. Students who plan to apply Early Decision or Early Action to schools should consider searching for alternative ways to apply. Nonexclusive Common App schools still allow students to apply to their institutions.

4. See if any schools on your child’s list use the Universal College Application.

5. Follow the Common App’s public announcements through its Facebook page.

6. Work on the Common Application during non-peak times. The worse periods are after school and Sunday afternoon.

7. Consider using Chrome or Firefox browsers when working on the Common App.

8. Check out some additional Common App tips from Nancy Griesemer.

Lynn mentioned two additional tips: If you are experiencing problems, try contacting the Common App help desk. Here is the link:

*Also, some schools are allowing students to send their college essay directly to them. Here is a link to a list:

Try not to let any glitches drive you too crazy. It’s just not worth the energy. Take steps to deal with it the best you can–and realize you are not alone. With some luck, things should smooth out soon.