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UC extends application deadline after computer glitch

December 1, 2009 |  6:13 pm

University of California officials have extended the admissions application period for panicked students who could not file their online applications in time for Monday night’s deadline because of a computer slowdown. The new deadline is 11:59 p.m. Wednesday (Dec. 2).

Susan Wilbur, UC’s director of undergraduate admissions, said her office was investigating the cause of the computerized malfunction, which at least temporarily blocked some last-minute filers from sending their applications in on Sunday and Monday nights. She said she did not know how many students might have been affected but said that about two-thirds of applicants wait until a week or less -- and many less than a day -- before the traditional deadline to file.

Wilbur said she regretted the slowdown and said she knew it added to the anxiety students already face in applying to UC. Her staff notified high school counselors and posted online notices about the extension and have answered many e-mails and phone calls from worried students and parents. The problem seemed to be solved Tuesday evening, but she also said the deadline could be extended again if anything else goes awry.

The extension was great news for Stephanie Duque, a Long Beach City College student who could not get the online system to accept her transfer application to seven UC campuses by Monday’s original deadline. She said she was crying with frustration and anxiety. "I lost hope and felt that’s the end of it. It was very hard," the Lynwood resident said. Then, after she learned of the extension, she was able to file Tuesday morning and felt "so relieved and happy."

By this evening, about 129,000 UC applications for freshman and transfer students had been received, compared with about 126,700 by last year’s deadline, Wilbur said. About 2,600 were submitted between 6 a.m. and about 5 p.m. today.

A similar situation and extension occurred five years ago, officials said. Wilbur said technicians recently performed "rigorous stress tests on the system" and had planned for a heavy load of applicants in the final days. "Our preliminary analysis indicates that this was not a problem of capacity, but we have not yet found the root of the problem," she said.

UC officials said applicants who experience technical difficulties can call UC's application help desk at (800) 914-8820 in California, or (925) 808-2150 outside California, or e-mail ucpath@ucapplication.net

-- Larry Gordon