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College Admissions: Deadline Changes From Hurricane Sandy

Monday, November 05, 2012

 

Hurricane Sandy's devastation left many college applicants without power and the ability to file early decision applications. Here's what's happening this week and strategies for moving forward.

Each year during one of the big admission deadlines, a natural disaster hits. It can be a tornado in the Midwest, a hurricane in the East or a blizzard in the Rockies. Students are left without electricity,

schools are often closed and families begin to panic that they will miss due dates. That’s what happened last week up and down the East Coast as Sandy pummeled many cities and towns just before the first big Early Action/Early Decision deadline of November 1. It’s important that families understand what allowances are being made, and what you should do to still be considered in the early admission round.

Most Colleges Have Extended Deadlines

Colleges tend to be understanding about natural disasters, and most will release deadlines extensions soon after the dust settles. The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) hosts a website where you can go to see a master list of new due dates when events occur. Deadlines are not only extended for students to file applications, but also for school documents and SAT/ACT scores to arrive. If one of your early admission colleges is not on this list, check the admissions page of that college. If no extension is posted, call and explain your situation if you need more time. For those living in areas that have been devastated, some colleges have given 5 day extensions, and that may not be adequate; call them and ask for a few more days. Some communities will undoubtedly be without power for a week or more in New York and New Jersey, and colleges should be sympathetic to the dire situation in those areas. In a worst case scenario, if you miss the Early Action/Early Decision deadline and the college will not grant an extension, you can still apply during the Regular Decision round.

Check That Documents Arrived

Students applying via the Common App and other electronic systems can see if their application was filed online. Schools filing documents electronically with software like Naviance can ensure that the documents were received. However, with applications, school documents, SAT/ACT scores and recommendation letters that have been mailed, you should call the colleges to make certain that all your materials arrived. Needless to say, there could be mail boxes and post offices that were damaged or lost in the hurricane and flood waters. While some colleges have portals where you can check if all your materials were received, and others send you correspondence to let you know if there are missing items, some leave it up to the applicant to ensure that everything is in place. Remember that if your application, school documents and test scores from the official agency (Collegeboard or ACT) are not received, you will not be considered for admission.

Prepare Now for January Due Dates

January 1 marks the first big deadline for Regular Decision (a few colleges in the South and West have earlier due dates). For New Englanders and those in the mountains of the West, this can mean blizzard season, and the best offense is a good defense. So, get your apps done and filed in December to avoid potential weather issues. It never hurts to file in advance of the due dates!

Cristiana Quinn, M.Ed. is the founder of College Admission Advisors, LLC which provides strategic, college counseling and athletic recruiting services for students. www.collegeadvisorsonline.com.

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