Last weekend, high-school seniors around the Northeast camped out at coffee shops and libraries in order to gain internet access. For these seniors, last Saturday’s snow storm was “incredibly stressful and terrifying,” according to Millburn High School senior Samira Somany.
The cause of their stress was the looming Nov. 1 early application deadline for colleges.
Somany’s house in Millburn, N.J., lost power on Saturday night, and her school was closed from Monday to Wednesday due to the storm. The fear that her applications would not be in on time was “terrible,” Somany said.
Since many students were affected by last week’s storm, Penn’s Office of Admissions extended its early decision deadline from Nov. 1 to Friday, Nov. 4.
“Some schools just reopened [Monday] and we are fielding questions from counselors and families,” Dean of Admissions Eric Furda wrote in an email.
Penn is one of at least 76 colleges and universities that pushed back their Nov. 1 deadlines because of the storm, according to the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
The storm left millions of residents without electricity in states including New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut, The New York Times reported last week.
“The blackout caused a great deal of added stress,” Solomon Schechter School of Westchester, N.Y., senior Jason Jakoby said.
Jakoby, who is applying early to Penn, added, “I was displaced from my home and had to review my application at a Starbucks nearby and at my grandparents’ house in New Jersey.”
Traveling and working at a coffee shop “definitely increased my stress level,” Jakoby said, adding that he was basically done with his application when the storm hit, but just wanted to proofread his essays.
“Had Penn announced the extended deadline earlier, I think that would have saved kids a lot of worrying,” he added, explaining that he did not receive the notification about the extended deadline until about seven hours before the original deadline.
For students who lost power for many days, “the extended deadline was probably a great help and stress-reliever,” Jakoby said.
Tim Lear, College Counseling director at the Pingry School in Martinsville, N.J., wrote in an email explaining that since many faculty and families lost power during the storm, he was “relieved” to hear that schools had extended their deadlines.
Although Pingry did not reopen until Friday, the school’s staff did not falter in its application process. Guidance counselors and teachers improvised by going to “Starbucks and Panera and hotel lobbies and relatives’ homes and post office parking lots,” Lear wrote.
“I wish I had purchased either Starbucks or Panera stock beforehand, as those were the two most sought-after internet cafes for our submitting seniors (and their anxious counselors),” he joked.
Despite this hectic climate, Lear said that most of the applicants had completed their applications prior to the storm, so many were not affected.
“By last Tuesday much of the heavy lifting had to do with branches and snow as opposed to supplements,” he concluded.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.