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A Call to Educators: Let’s Be Better Advocates for our Students

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IF 1Frustration mounted from every direction. The early admission deadline loomed for hundreds of thousands of students, but the new version of the Common Application was riddled with malfunctions.

Shared by more than 500 colleges and universities, Common Application system have been experiencing problems in areas where students could not submit early admission agreements, application fees or even their application essays. All of these challenges caused admissions offices to be weeks behind schedule.

In some cases, schools like SMU and TCU required students to use the Common Application system to apply, leaving them little to no options. Students and their parents came to me panicked as completed applications showed up as incomplete, and those who had started the process early found themselves locked out of the system.

As an educator, I believe it is my duty and privilege to serve as an advocate for my students, and I intend to always do so using any means possible, including Twitter.

That said, I’m grateful that the Common Application promptly responded to my tweet about the challenges my students were facing. On October 14, I sent out a tweet expressing my frustrations with the Common Applications Systems. Within 24 hours, Common Application officially requested some colleges to extend their application deadlines.

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Thanks to the age of social media, we no longer have to stand by, waiting for a returned call or e-mail. We have more tools than ever before at our disposal and it’s time we utilized them to ensure our students stay on the right path to success and are consistently informed.

I am saddened and tired of watching the overall disengagement that has taken over our community of teachers and educators. Where is the passion that once propelled us to fight for our students? That fire that burned in us, demanding we make a difference in their lives?

Students are the future of our country. When we fight for them, we fight for us.

It’s time to be our students advocates, to use our voices — or 140 characters — to make a difference.

**Ibrahim Firat is a Houston educator and the co-owner of Firat Educational Solutions. For more information, visit www.firateducation.com.

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