You NEED To Visually Inspect Your College Essays Before You Hit Submit (As of 2020, There Are Still Bugs in the Common App)
Crazy story: a few years ago, there was this weird bug in the Common App website that caused the last paragraph of essays to get deleted.
That means that countless applicants spent hours brainstorming, writing, and revising their essays... Only to submit an incomplete essay with no conclusion.
This didn't happen to any of my students, though — I warned them repeatedly to check the word count and make sure that the number in the Common App form matched the number in your Google doc. (If your essay was 648 words and not it's only 622, something has gone wrong.)
I told them to visually inspect the essay to make sure:
1) The whole thing is there.
2) There are no weird formatting issues.
3) Any special characters copied over correctly.
4) Your italics are still italicized.
5) Your entire essay isn't in bold font for some reason.
6) Everything is as expected.
Because all of these issues have come up at least a dozen times over the years.
A recurring one I've noticed most recently (as of Sept. 13, 2020) is that, for some reason, some essays are bolded in the Common App.
So when you paste your essay from Google Docs or Word or whatever you're using to draft and edit...
Make sure your entire essay isn't in bold font.
I mean, sure. Your essay will be intact and the admissions officers will still be able to read it. But accidentally doing that shows that you're not paying close attention to detail... and indicates that maybe this essay doesn't matter very much to you.
Heck, for all I know, this little "bug" is actually a feature to see who's actually paying attention.
So pay attention.
Don't put all those hours into writing the perfect Personal Statement, Short Takes, Short Answers, and Supplemental Essays...
Only to have something weird happen when you paste them into the website.
Or, as Professor Moody would say, CONSTANT VIGILANCE.
Eva Glasrud completed her B.A. and M.A. at Stanford. She is now a college counselor and life coach for gifted youth.