Colleges Ease Application Deadline Due to Hurricane Sandy

College application

October 30, 2012

The extent of damage caused by Hurricane Sandy across the Eastern Seaboard is not yet known, but it has created stress for many who live in the region. The aftermath has also complicated matters for area high school students racing against college early admissions deadlines, especially if they do not have power or Internet access. In response, several colleges have announced that they will make accommodations for those applicants who have been affected by the disaster.

The Washington Post reported that several U.S. colleges and universities have announced that they are extending -- or remaining flexible with -- their early admissions application deadlines following Hurricane Sandy. Many colleges located in the region have closed down for the week, and these closures could impact schools' ability to process early admissions applications, just as the effects of the storm could interfere with some students' ability to submit them on time.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, colleges with early admissions programs let students apply and receive decisions before regular deadlines. Applicants must often choose one school for early admissions, and in some cases must commit to attending that school upon admittance. As The Washington Post pointed out, Thursday would mark a key annual deadline for many colleges who participate in this process, and with so many in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states without power, it could be difficult to meet this cut-off.

Before the storm hit ground yesterday, Greg W. Roberts, dean of admission at the University of Virginia, told The Washington Post that U-Va would accept applications through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, noting the school wanted to give families more time "if in fact this is going to be as devastating to some areas as some people think."

Other schools did not officially delay their application deadlines, but did announce that they would be flexible with those applicants affected by the storm. Examiner.com noted that Harvard University made such a commitment: "If there is good reason for not being able to meet a deadline (whether it be a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy or a personal challenge), we are happy to accept late applications and support materials."

Education consultant Nina Marks told The Washington Post that this deadline flexibility is essential because Hurricane Sandy could disproportionately impact poorer applicants. Students who are rushing to complete their applications, she said, often have fewer resources at home.

"It's one of the most urgent moments of the year," Marks said.

Some students may greet such announcements with a sigh of relief. However, David Phillips, vice provost for admissions and financial aid at Johns Hopkins -- one school that is delaying its applications deadline -- told The Washington Post that this flexibility could actually generate more stress.

"Students have a lot of anxiety about applications," said Phillips. "The more you give them an extended deadline, the more they may pore over [an application], and edit it and re-edit. We don't want students agonizing too much about it. We want to close the loop."

Examiner.com advises students to work to meet application deadlines as soon as possible, for their peace of mind and to avoid potential difficulties following the storm.

Compiled by Aimee Hosler


"Colleges postpone early deadlines in face of Hurricane Sandy," examiner.com, October 29, 2012, Nancy Griesemer

"Ivy Colleges Ease Application Deadline Amid Storm," businessweek.com, October 29, 2012, John Lauerman

"Sandy prompts some colleges to push early-application deadlines," washingtonpost.com, October 29, 2012, Nick Anderson

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