Note: This week's blog is written by Renae Bowen, a student I worked with in high school. She is now preparing for graduate school. I asked her to assist us in checking, once again, published college application deadlines. Her task was to compare published dates of the Common Application to the dates within mycca.net, and confirm both with the colleges. You will find her experience very revealing. It is especially timely because so many colleges announced the pushing back of their Nov. 1 deadlines this week because of the storm. For a list of the colleges with a pushed back date, click here.
In the event that the moist, cold air and your overwhelming desire for pumpkin-spice everything have not informed you – fall has arrived. The season for application deadlines came all too quickly, but the scariest news is that those impending dates have not acclimated yet either. “Ummm, ours is either November 15th or December 1st… I don’t know yet, you should call back on Monday, we’re still working it out,” said one secretary whom I contacted in my search for Early Action and Early Decision deadlines.
During the summer, all Early Action and Early Decision deadlines were updated in the mycca.net database. Even so, I was assigned to verify that dates were still correct after the last few months. Using the Common Application website and a telephone, I researched 450 universities. Somehow I finished feeling more puzzled about which source to trust for my information than when I began.
Yes, actual admissions staff and admission websites are unclear. Priority deadlines, scholarship deadlines, and deadlines for the opportunity to waive the admission fee all appear incorrectly on the Common Application as Early Action dates. My repeated phrasing of “So, how is that Early Action?” perplexed many university staff members.
Some deadlines I referred to confused college representatives further because they had never seen or heard of these random dates in the middle of March or June that appeared on the Common Application webpage. I cannot reiterate enough that even with my phone calls and web researching, no listed Early Action/Early Decision deadline should be taken as absolute truth.
I blame neither the college staff nor the admission websites for the hazy date listing. As that same secretary explained immediately afterwards, the flow of applications dictates these dates. Deadlines must change as a result, whether that means making a date later, removing a date or adding one on. (For more information on the instance of each of these types of changes in the 47 colleges who edited their deadlines, click here for a report.)
My advice is simple: Call the college directly, and be ready to go over the terms and definition of their “Early Action” and “Early Decision” plans. Be sure that they really are! Websites are fast, but university staff is much closer to the accurate source.