Elite colleges are suddenly extending their application deadlines, but some say they’re juicing their numbers and giving students false hope.
This year, at least a dozen elite colleges, including Chicago, Duke, Dartmouth, and Columbia, have offered extensions of once-sacrosanct January admissions deadlines. The University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt, and Bates are among schools whose admissions deans said they were doing so for the first time, aside from individual hardship cases or such emergencies as storms and major website failures.
Colleges that extend deadlines say they are merely trying to give more students a chance to apply and receive scholarships. Yet students and even some colleges are asking whether the extra days are penalizing on-time applicants. The extensions—several of which lasted until last week—are bewildering teenagers and high school guidance counselors.