Common App Troubleshooting
Prial Gupta avatar
Written by Prial Gupta
Updated over a week ago

Quick Shortcuts!

Issue #1 - A student has linked the wrong Common App account by accident and would like to link a different Common App account with Cialfo

Students must be careful and follow directions closely when linking Cialfo and Common App. Linking the wrong/second account happens when a student already has a Common App account and does not enter that email address into the Recommendations section of Cialfo. 

It is possible a student just overlooked completing the FERPA in Common App. Search for these scenarios in your account by going to cDocs > Documents and using the CA & FERPA filter to sort for Unanswered items.

This can also be verified in the student's cDocs Profile under "Documents" FERPA status.

Step #1 - Ask the student to check the Education section of their Common App and make sure the correct school name and CEEB code is listed.

Step #2 - Ask the student to check their Common App and make sure they completed the FERPA. 

If the student has not answered the FERPA, ask them to do so. It should update within 4 hours in Cialfo.

If the student has completed the FERPA, but Cialfo still shows the FERPA as unanswered, verify that the student's Common App email and CAID match what is listed in the Recommendations section of the student's Cialfo account. If the email and CAID do not match, the student has linked a second or wrong Common App account. 

The solution:  Students will need to use the Common App account linked in Cialfo to apply to Common App colleges. If for some reason cannot use that account AND documents have not been sent through Cialfo, the student should contact Cialfo to see if unlinking their Common App account in Cialfo is possible. The student should provide the following information:

  1. School

  2. Student Full Name

  3. CA ID Linked in Cialfo

  4. CA Email linked in Cialfo

The students can also connect with their school counselor to unlink their Common App account.

Issue #2 - A student does not see the "Link Account" button on their Recommendations tab

This may be due to 2 reasons:

  1. The student had previously linked their Cialfo and Common App account before this year's application cycle starting in August. These could include students who are reapplying this year as well as students who have transferred from one Cialfo school to another and have linked their accounts previously.

  2. Common App forms were prepared for these students before this year's application cycle.

To allow students to link their accounts, follow the steps below:

Step #1 - On cDocs, find the student who cannot see the "Link Account" button. For students you may have deactivated, be sure to reactivate them first!

Step #2 - Click the student - you should see an orange heading with the button "Enable Sending".

Note: Clicking "Enable Sending" will do the following:

  1. Reset the student's linking status

  2. Remove previously prepared Common App forms

  3. Reset all previously sent documents' statuses (including Parchment and Mail)

If you need to keep track of the previously sent forms and statuses, please use the Download Bundle option and take a screenshot of the previously sent documents' statuses. The resetting of these information is needed to ensure that the student is part of the current application cycle and will be treated as such by Common App accepting universities and colleges.

Issue #3 - A teacher or counselor has completed a CA form in Cialfo, but their account is still showing as "Not Linked"

This might be happening because a student may have invited the teacher to complete a recommendation directly through Common App. Students should not be able to do that if they have added the correct high school to their Education section (the school name and CEEB code need to be correct).

Avoid sending any documents from this teacher until this is resolved. First, verify that the teacher has completed a Common App form in Cialfo. Second, if the teacher has and they still show as unlinked, it is likely that this teacher has been invited directly in Common App as a recommender thus blocking sending in Cialfo. You may do this by clicking into cDocs > Documents and reviewing the CA Account column and look to see if any forms have been filled out in the following columns e.g. Recommendations and CA Teacher Eval.

There are two options for resolving this:

Option 1 - Have the student log onto their Common App account and go to the My Colleges Tab. For each college, verify that the teacher has not been invited. If the teacher has been invited, have the student remove the recommender. This should resolve the issue and enable sending.

Option 2 - You will need to contact Common App and ask that the teacher recommender email ID is removed from their system. Do this by going to Common App Recommender Support and clicking on "Contact Support". Explain what has happened and ask that Common App remove the teacher or counselor email ID from their recommender system. If this is not resolved, an error message will appear when trying to send and documents will not be able to be sent.

Issue #4 - A recommender's name shows differently on the Common App Recommenders section for a student

(ex: John Smith is showing as John Mason on the student's CA Recommender section)

The recommendation is processed and sent directly to the university. The name mismatch does not prevent sending. But the name change has something to do with the Common App database. Rest assured that the recommendation has been delivered. The student is able to contact Common App, however, and highlight the name mismatch.

Issue #5 - A school in the student's Submissions tab is not in the student's Common App College list

Notice in this image below, the counselor can identify that the college has not yet been added to the student's Common App - My Colleges list by clicking into cDocs > Documents > Submissions tab. A "You cannot send documents to this university because it's not in the Student's Common App College List" message will show. To resolve this issue, the student will have to add the school into their Common App - My Colleges list to enable the sending of documents.

Issue #6 - Sending documents for transfer students via cDocs

For transfer students, the counselors can send documents via cDocs only for universities that accept parchment as a delivery method. For universities that only accept Common App, the students should invite recommenders directly through the Common App.

However, it is important to note that counselors should provide an alternate email for transfer students, as sending an invite to the same email used for Cialfo will result in an error. Unfortunately, Common App currently does not support transfer students in their integrations with partners like Cialfo, but we would like to support sending of transfer student's documents in the future.

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