Jan 4, 2015

Additional colleges extend ‘regular decision’ deadlines

Fordham University

Over the past several days, additional colleges have formally announced or otherwise communicated extensions to their January 1 deadlines.  

While some of these extensions are meant for students who started applications but never quite got around to finishing them, most appear open to anyone thinking it’s possible to submit an application after published deadlines and still get in.

It’s a curious message that’s being communicated to applicants.  What is the importance of a deadline?  Do professors at those institutions routinely extend deadlines?  Are deadlines imaginary lines students may choose to disregard?  Is there a reward for procrastination?

And most importantly, do students who submit during the “grace” period implied by an extension actually get admitted? Or is this just a ruse to attract more numbers and appear more selective?

January 1 used to be a popular deadline for college applications.  But over time, fewer and fewer colleges have used New Year’s Day as a cutoff.  In fact, only about ten percent of the Common Application membership originally established a January 1 deadline.  Of those, about ten percent have granted extensions.

And it makes sense.  Why make applications due on a day when no one is working or available to answer last-minute questions?  Not only is no one in the office on what is usually the busiest application day of the year, but no one has been there for at least a week or more.

While anyone who advises students firmly insists that applications should be completed long before deadlines, the fact is that many many applicants wait until the last possible moment before submitting.  Just ask the Common Application or the Universal College Application both of which have staff working all day and all night on New Year’s Day.

Unfortunately, the college application process just becomes that more drawn-out and chaotic as colleges waffle on deadlines and aren’t around to answer questions about why the extensions are communicated to some students and listed on the website but neither the Common App nor the UCA have changed published deadlines.

Why not just make the deadline later, after the admissions office has reopened, and stick to it?

Nevertheless, for those who think they may want to add a few more applications, here are colleges that have granted extensions:

College of William and Mary:  January 9 (communicated to applicants in an email)
Dartmouth College:  January 6 (communicated in a much friendlier email to counselors and applicants than what appears on the admissions page of the website)
Duke University:  January 5 (clearly stated on website but not noted on the Common App or the UCA)
Fordham University:  January 8
Loyola Marymount University:  February 1  (for essay only; not shown on the Common Application grid)
Trinity College:  January 15 (although listed by both the Common App and the UCA as the new deadline, the website suggests it’s only for “supporting materials”)
University of Chicago:  January 5
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign:  Extended but unclear until when
Vanderbilt University:  January 5 (for both ED II and Regular Decision)
Wheaton College:  February 1 (for those starting their applications before January 15)

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