Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect Penn Admissions' decision to reach out to students directly rather than publicly make an announcement.
Last year, Penn announced an extension of the early decision deadline for applicants whose lives were disrupted by Hurricane Florence. In 2012, Penn did the same following Hurricane Sandy. This year, although Penn reached out to some students and college counselors, Penn did not publicly extend its ED deadline extension for students from areas where the California wildfires and the Chicago public school teachers union strike have presented unforeseen obstacles to apply to college.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the teachers strike meant that seniors were unable to submit applications with the correct materials in order to meet the early decision deadline. Local universities like The University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago announced their decisions to extend deadlines for students affected by the strike.
Unlike in previous years, this policy change was not announced on social media or the admissions website. Announcing an extension publicly, rather than reaching out to individuals, ensures a level of accountability and fairness to all those applying.
Other schools, including Columbia University, Temple University, and the University of Virginia, made public announcements, pushing back their deadlines to accommodate students displaced or otherwise disadvantaged by the fires. Given the precedent set last year by Penn's announcement of its extension for students in the southeastern United States, the University should be well-equipped to make a similar announcement about their decision, which would give students additional time to submit their materials, especially considering that California represented one of the highest concentrations of admitted Penn students in the Class of 2023.
Penn set a precedent last year when the administration made the admirable decision to publicly announce their extension of the deadline for people affected by Hurricane Florence. It is to the benefit of the entire Penn community that this precedent will be upheld during this year's circumstances as well.
Editorials represent the majority view of members of The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. Editorial Board, which meets regularly to discuss issues relevant to Penn's campus. Participants in these meetings are not involved in the reporting of articles on related topics.