Crush of last-minute applications crashes UC, Cal State computers; deadlines are extended

A Cal State Los Angeles plaza
Cal State Los Angeles is among the CSU and UC campuses that have extended admission application deadlines after computer portals experienced connectivity issues as submission deadlines approached.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

The University of California and California State University extended their admissions deadlines Tuesday after both systems faced connectivity issues as a crush of students raced against an 11:59 p.m. deadline to submit their applications.

UC has extended its deadline to 11:59 p.m. on Dec. 1, but students must have started an application by Tuesday to be accepted into the system. Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach and San Luis Obispo also extended their application deadlines to 11:59 on Dec. 1, and Cal State Fresno, Los Angeles, Pomona, San Diego and San Jose extended their deadlines to Dec. 15. Other campuses had previously set later submission deadlines.

Both college systems described the problems on Twitter as connectivity issues.

“Due to an unusually high number of users trying to access the site at the same time, some prospective students may have experienced challenges in submitting applications, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Cal State spokesperson Toni Molle said.

AT UC, administrators “learned of some instances of connectivity issues related to our undergraduate admissions application Monday evening.” Applicants were given information about the troubles through the UC Application Center and on social media. “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” UC spokesperson Ryan King said.

It was not immediately clear if the breakdown in the Cal State Apply system and the UC equivalent were due solely to an overload in traffic or if a different technical issue had affected each.


The computer system woes caused panic among students and parents, who voiced concerns on Twitter in an attempt to get clarity. Zaid Argand, 20, said it took him two hours to submit payment within the Cal State system after submitting his application.

“Multiple errors occurred while it was processing, but it finally worked,” Argand said.

Even after the university systems announced an extension, students continued to voice fears that one more day wouldn’t be enough, as they continued to get bumped from the application portals Tuesday evening.

“A deadline extension doesn’t matter if the site doesn’t work properly,” one applicant wrote.

Tweets in all caps, pleas for clarity and sobbing emojis filled the universities’ responses — as did gratitude for the extension.

Still, others questioned whether an extension would make a difference if the servers weren’t guaranteed to handle the influx.

Both systems’ portals to fill out applications opened on Aug. 1.

UC admissions officers have been urging students for weeks not to wait until the last minute to submit their applications, noting that laptops can die or Internet access can cut out.

The UC system saw record-setting applications for fall 2021, with increases among Black, Latino and other underrepresented students. The nine undergraduate campuses drew more than 249,850 applicants — a 16.1% leap over the year prior.

One college admissions counselor who helps students in San Bernardino County said the Cal State system doesn’t always work perfectly. But this recent issue was especially stressful for students.

“One of my students today had a problem because she wasn’t getting credit for her Spanish class in the right category. So we were working on trying to figure that out, and it was virtually impossible. The system kept logging her out, and when it came back up, it was missing pertinent information,” Julie Scorziell said. “This is real stress for families. ... It’s not right, it’s a disservice to students in California who have worked hard and students who don’t have access to college counselors.”


Times staff writer Teresa Watanabe contributed to this report.