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Harvard, MIT, Tufts and other schools extend November early admission deadlines in wake of Sandy

Posted by Your Town  October 30, 2012 02:48 PM

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Top colleges and universities in the Boston area and across the country are extending their November early admissions deadlines for prospective students because of this week’s storm.

Tufts University pushed back its first early decision deadline from Nov. 1 to Nov. 7. Wellesley College extended its early decision deadline from Nov. 1 to Nov. 6. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard College now have "flexible" deadlines.

Last year, slightly more than 300 students applied early decision to Wellesley, and approximately 6,000 students applied early action to M.I.T.

Outside the state, top schools such as Yale University, Brown University, University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University are accepting applications past deadline.

Stu Schmill, dean of admissions for M.I.T., said there would be no steadfast deadline for students who were affected by the storm. He also said the M.I.T. admissions will tend not to check where applicants are from if they apply late.

“We aren’t going to do too much follow-up,” Schmill said. “Generally speaking students are not going to over abuse this, and we are going to trust that anyone who used the flexible deadline really needed it.”

Schmill said that the M.I.T. admissions office has to frequently deal with the effects of poor weather conditions. Students apply from around the world, he said, and inclement weather will often prevent applicants from meeting the deadline.

“We are generally accommodating,” he said.

The Harvard College admissions office issued a statement on its website, saying that if students are unable to meet the deadline, they should email admissions. The statement said that those applying to Harvard should “be aware of our longstanding flexibility” with admissions deadlines.

“If there is a 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,” the statement said.

Tufts University announced on its website that the deadline for its first early decision would be pushed back a week.

“Given the effects of Hurricane Sandy, for students in areas of damage, loss of power, and closed schools the deadline for Early Decision I applicants to Tufts University will be extended,” the statement said.

Jennifer Desjarlais, dean of admission and financial aid for Wellesley College, said the decision to extend the deadline was an easy one.

“I don’t think anyone was understanding what the potential impact could be,” Desjarlais said of the storm.

She said students who apply through the early decision process - which is binding if they are accepted - have generally completed most of their applications at this point.

An extended deadline is nothing new for Wellesley, she said. Whenever there is a major natural disaster, admissions will accommodate those who are affected.

There were several reasons Wellesley chose to extend the deadline this time, she said. The process is electronic, so those without power would be at a disadvantage. Additionally, if students do not have school for several days, they might not be able to communicate with the teachers who are sending references.

But Desjarlais said that the number one concern is safety.

“Sometimes these experiences are personally and emotionally disruptive, and this process should not complicate that,” she said. “We want to make sure everybody’s first priority is staying safe.”

Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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