By KYW tech editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Most of the colleges and universities in the Philadelphia area — along with hundreds of others across the country — take the Common Application from prospective applicants.  And, like much of our lives, it’s gone all-digital.

It’s designed to simplify the admissions process for high schoolers and higher education institutions alike, but it’s getting a failing grade heading into a critical period on the college calendar.

“The paper application for the Common App is no longer available — it’s totally online,” explains Lower Merion School District college access counselor Becky Bowlby.

But this first year for the change has led to big problems, she says.

“Some of the technical glitches are preventing students from submitting their applications or receiving any kind of confirmation that their applications have been received,” Bowlby tells KYW Newsradio.

Common Application officials say they’ve fixed a couple of issues, including one that led students to submit application payments multiple times.

But, with the early admission deadline for many colleges coming on the 1st or 15th of next month, says Bowlby, “We’re trying to do everything that we can to alleviate their stress.”

Even though some schools are delaying the due date, Bowlby advises students not to wait until just before the deadline to make sure everything is in order.

“It is frustrating, but what we’re encouraging students to do is to come and talk to [their guidance counselor],” she says.  “We can help walk them through the application process.  Also, contact the college — either call them or email them — to ensure they’ve received all the information.  Admissions officials are very friendly and outgoing and they’ll be happy to help, because we’re all in this together.”