Early College Deadlines : Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down?

SIS early deadlines encourage effective procedure, promptness

By Hollis Hwang
With the onset of senior year, students are challenged with a writing task unlike the research papers on the Great Depression or the literary analyses of Huckleberry Finn. Whether students perceive it as demoralizing stress or delightful self-reflection, the highly personal college application essays demand an extensive amount of time and effort. And as SIS’s Early Action and Early Decision submission deadline was moved earlier this year due to the significant increase in the number of early applicants, students were pressured under tighter time constraints to produce thoughtful essays. However, the early deadline is not unreasonable when considering the advantages in being prompt and the choice seniors have to start early during summer vacation.
The primary reason for early due dates is to ensure a systematic process. According to Fredric Schneider, Dean of Students, although a student may submit right before colleges’ deadlines, the files are not read until SIS sends his school reports. Because Mr. Schneider chooses to take responsibility in coordinating each student’s application with the teachers writing recommendation letters, he sets the deadline early to make extra time for the school to complete its part.
Additionally, the deadline is intended to prevent integrity issues. In the past, students who were rushing to complete applications at the last minute resorted to desperate measures such as plagiarizing essays. To avoid such cases that may jeopardize the application, the early deadline requires promptness on students’ part.
Granted, later deadlines may provide more time to refine essays, but procrastination exists nonetheless. One of the first students to submit their early applications, Dustin Yoon (12) said that the quality of his essays would not have necessarily improved with more time; he would most likely have put off the work until the deadline approached.
Furthermore, the early due date is not unreasonable given that the Common Application opens on Aug. 1 every year—weeks before the start of school. Expecting time-consuming school activities and assignments, seniors can begin writing their essays over summer break. And even before the prompts are revealed, seniors can brainstorm and craft drafts that do not necessarily answer specific prompts, facilitating the process of writing the actual essays later on.
In the end, contrary to the notion that the school’s deadline is an obstacle in crafting polished essays, it makes way for an orderly procedure and benefits the seniors by providing them more time to focus on their multiple regular applications and first semester grades.

Month-early college deadlines fail to address individual needs

By Sarah Y. Kim
Unlike seniors at a typical American public school, SIS seniors have to submit their early and regular applications approximately a month earlier than colleges’ actual deadlines. Though the school’s earlier deadlines are beneficial in that they encourage students to submit their applications on time, they are unnecessarily early and fail to address individual needs.
According to Fredric Schneider, Dean of Students, though early applicants usually make up a minority of students at American public schools, the majority of SIS students are early applicants. As a result, the administration has more incentive to ensure that all students get their applications done as quickly as possible, especially due to the amount of effort and time applications require.
While the administration’s diligence is commendable, mandating early deadlines presents several inconveniences. The most obvious one is that seniors have a condensed amount of time to write their applications. While students are encouraged to begin over the summer, doing so may be difficult, since students must wait until the Common Application opens to see the essay prompts. Though they are often accessible about two weeks before school begins, a considerable amount of time is still lost because of the month-early deadline.
Circumstances exacerbate when students apply for regular decision results. At SIS, early decision and early action results are given after the administration’s regular application deadline. Students who are accepted into colleges through early decision or action, therefore, are still obligated to write regular applications for colleges they may not have to attend. This process is a burden not only in terms of time but also money. Submissions for most high-ranking schools cost anywhere from 75 to 90 dollars, and paying for 10 college applications alone may cost around 850 dollars. Students who were rejected in the early decision and early action process also have less time to explore a variety of colleges they can apply to, and therefore are less inclined to look beyond top-ranking, famous universities.
Of course, the administration should encourage students to submit their applications as early as possible. However, it can still narrow the time gap between its deadlines and college-given deadlines without causing any serious drawbacks. An extra week and a half cannot pose any harm, and would still incentivize students to submit their applications ahead of time.