About half the schools I'm applying to have online applications this year. Most schools that accept online applications use the same crappy online application web interface. Here are my gripes.
1. It takes a long time. I'm spending 10 minutes or more on some of them, typing in all these little details that are on my CV. Unless the application is by email (the few of those I had went smoothly), it would take less time to stuff an envelope and snailmail this shit.
2. You attach something, and then it says, "confirm attachment," but it doesn't tell you the filename of the document your confirming. I mean, how can I confirm that this is indeed the right document if I can't see what document it is?
3. You gotta confirm a lot of stuff twice without seeing it either time.
4. The interface often doesn't permit flexibility with respect to application materials. So, for example, if you have a syllabus for each AOC listed in the ad, you won't be able to upload them all and maybe you won't be able to upload any of them.
5. Seriously. I am retyping my CV over and over again. Why not just, you know, use my actual CV, which I have carefully and meticulously prepared for just this sort of occasion?
6. FUCK THIS.
7. And if everyone's going to use the same lame software, why can't there just be a central website where you upload all your materials and tell them where to send the electrons?
8. Ok, I've come across a school that makes use of a clearinghouse website. But it's really involved, so it's a lot more of a pain in the ass than the one-time websites. Its built-in PDF maker ignores font sizes, making them larger, but honors page breaks, which doubles the page count on every document. And since only one school I'm applying to uses it, it's not worth it. At all.
9. It took me around three hours to do my online applications last night. I wrote most of this in real time, then polished it for the printer this morning. I believe in online applications, but this system is stupid. We can do better than this. We can take men we've put on the moon and safely bring them back from the moon.