It seems to me that the college application season is growing shorter and shorter. When I first began working with high school students, I made sure to limit my travels to after December in case more time was needed to submit applications. But this timeline is changing and it is changing fast.
University of Virginia recently announced that after a ten year hiatus from offering an Early Decision, it has been reinstated as an option for the 2019-2020 admission cycle. But the announcement did not end there, the deadline for this applications will be October 15, 2019-two weeks earlier than almost any university that offers an Early Decision option. This will leave teachers, counselors, registrars, and most importantly our students as little as six weeks from the start of school to prepare all that needs to go into the complex college application.
What is most alarming is that universities such as UVA should take into consideration that their applicants are only 17 years old. Instead of rushing them through a process that should be student centered, they should give them as much time as possible to make these important decisions with the help of their families and counselors. But instead the opposite is happening. Because many schools around the country have already gone on break, counselors will now not have enough time to introduce and discuss this new option with their students. And the teachers who so graciously write hundreds of letters of recommendations will have do so in a crunch that will compete with the beginning of the year. Students who were hoping for one more testing cycle will be disappointed, and once again the well informed and well financed student will hold the advantage.
What has counselors worried is that this October 15 deadline will cause other universities to follow suit which will change the dynamics of the whole admission cycle. So, counselors, IEC’s, students, it’s time to readjust to the new normal and plan accordingly.