It’s December 29th. Here’s one student’s freakout about the January 1st deadline:
I know there’s nothing you can do about this but I still have a question for you. I logged onto my (enter college name here) portal today and it says that I’m missing everything. I know you sent the materials and it’s in their hands now so I tried calling the office of admissions twice today and both times the voice recording said they were closed. I also emailed our rep the other night but I got an automatic reply email saying she/he was out of office until Jan 2. This is all fine but I don’t see how they can have a deadline of Jan 1 if the office of admissions is closed all week for the holiday??? Clearly my materials are sent but if no one is in the office to download them until after Jan 1 how is that my fault?? I’m just worried because they’re going to see that on Jan 2 my application is not complete because they have yet to compile my application and extra materials together. And it literally says on their website in bold that “any materials not in by Jan 1 will not be accepted and will significantly hurt your chances of acceptance.” I know you can’t do anything about it but I’m just annoyed that the office of admission is closed all week until after the deadline. That is not very helpful!!!!
Of course the student is correct. It’s not very helpful. But the college folks have earned their break at the holidays, they need to hit the ground running Jan 2 reviewing applications because of their own deadlines to get decisions out to students, and students have known about this deadline since August 1.
There has been much discussion over many years about moving the January deadlines to Jan 5 or even Jan 15. Only a handful of schools so far have done so. Many of the private institutions have a small admissions staff. They need to have hard deadlines in order to meet the expectations of all their applicants. They don’t have the staff who can simply accommodate students who cannot accommodate the deadline. Some of the comments I’ve heard are
I agree from the high school side, but when you work in a small office and most apps come in the day before the deadline. Every additional day of processing/reading counts. Colleges can’t push their committees later so that means the same amount of reading with a week less to do it.
Everyday counts. We know exactly how many apps need to be read and we have no wiggle room. Those 4-5 days are very important and we could not move our deadline any later. If students didn’t consistently wait until the deadline this would not be an issue because we would be able to complete applications much sooner.
Those 10 days are definitely essential, especially since students and families expect their decisions by mid-march.
That said, the majority of high school counselors and college admissions staff want to move mountains to help kids realize their dreams and achieve. They truly want to help.
The fact is, at the deadline is neither late nor is it irresponsible on the behalf of the student. If it’s inconvenient when everyone waits until the deadline, you need a better system, or to adjust the deadline, because that’s your problem, not the student’s. As it appeared in the OP, the issue here was crappy customer service. Demanding documents by the first, but then not being available to process or confirm, smacks of arrogance to me. That’s not a set up about or for students, and it’s not reflective of a real need for additional time for work. It’s reflective of the desire to control the process. Get me your stuff when I say, and I’ll get to it and you when I’m ready.
For the life of me I have failed to understand why admissions offices close for a week and in some cases two weeks during the most critical time of the year.
I have one student who literally had to work every day after school. He has to wait for RD because funds are everything. He isn’t the top student in the class. He will get everything in by the deadline, but how can he confirm that things are received by the deadline if no one is in the confirm it?
That’s crap customer service and squeezes the most vulnerable.
Either move the date or make it clear that all supporting documentation will be accepted so long as he Student submits an application by the deadline.
The bottom line here for students is to plan ahead around the Jan 1 deadline. Get your application and all supporting information submitted before you go on winter break. Then enjoy the break.