The University was right to extend its early action deadline to accommodate those affected by Hurricane Sandy
Hurricane Sandy made landfall on the eastern coast of the United States Monday. It has closed schools, moved cars, flooded roads — and these after-effects all in the past few days. Yet organizations are beginning to make long-term contingency plans on how they can best support their constituents in the wake of Sandy’s damage. Relevant for high school students is some universities’ decision to postpone upcoming early admission application deadlines. This is a good idea that the University has been prudent to follow.
In the clutter of emergency memos sent Sunday night into Monday, one from the National Association for College Admission Counseling should not go unnoticed. This group — a national conglomerate of secondary school counselors and college admissions officers — provides resources to those parties involved in the admissions process, both students and schools alike. It has more than 11,000 members, including University deans of admissions. The association has 23 regional offices, with a fair number of them on the East Coast. But it was the national chapter that decided the hurricane was of universal importance.
Its statement asks universities to delay their deadline for early admissions. Although most institutions have their application deadline in January, many — including the University, since 2011 — have earlier dates for students to apply in either a binding or non-binding manner. Citing the effects of Hurricane Sandy on secondary schools, the association asserted that high school students could have their applications to college obstructed.
Whether incited by the above statement or of its own initiative, the University joined a host of others in postponing its deadline for early admissions. The original due date for high-schoolers seeking early action was Nov. 1; that date was extended to Nov. 4. This announcement was broadcast on Notes from Peabody, the University admissions blog. The message was also relayed through the University admissions website.
The University acted correctly in making such a decision. There are logistical concerns: Some college applications are still done in the mail and roads could be extensively flooded. Moreover, even online applications will suffer due to the widespread power outages. Indeed, some students only choose to turn in their applications at the last minute; not from procrastination, but to continually improve and revise. The sources they picked to provide letters of recommendation may have scheduled to fill out their portion based on the original deadline. Hoping to send in their reference, they, too, could have been delayed because of the storm. It is incorrect for prospective students to be punished for hindering factors that emerged due to the elements.