For high school seniors who are uncertain about their future finances or juggling other problems due to the COVID-19 outbreak, deciding which college to attend may be overwhelming.
But on Wednesday, the University of Oregon announced they will extend their freshman admittance deadline from the national date of May 1 to September 1.
According to a tally by the Admissions Community Cultivating Equity & Peace Today, more than 350 colleges across the county have moved their decision deadline to June 1 or later.
Roger Thompson, the UO Vice President of Student Services and Enrollment Management, Thompson said the UO is the first university to move their deadline to September 1.
Since universities across the country are dealing with things at different rates, Thompson hopes the extension will also help potential out-of-state students.
“Over the last two weeks really, we began to hear from many more students and parents who were saying you know, ‘There's a lot going on and we'd like a little more time.’ This is a very stressful moment [for] everyone's lives professionally and personally,” said Thompson.
Thompson recalled his team coming together and saying, “You know what, people who are ready to deposit by the May 1 date—they're going to and they have been. But there is a group of people who may need a little more time.”
Thompson said extending the deadline was a way to provide a sense of normalcy to students who are ready to commit, while supporting students who need some extra time.
“These high school seniors have just had their senior year wrecked,” said Thompson. “I mean there's just no other way to say it. There's no spring sports, there's no spring band, there's no spring theater, there's no prom, there's no graduation—it's been pretty crappy and it just makes my heart ache. And so if this is a way that we can be helpful to those students and families, I think we should do it.”
He said extending the deadline seemed like the right thing to do in order to remove some of the pressure for students who have been stressed out by the May 1 deadline.
“And instead of going for some arbitrary date or picking some time a month from now we thought, ‘You know, it can really look a lot different by the time we get through the summer,” said Thompson. “So let's make it September 1. That's about as late as we can go and still get our fall term up and running effectively.”
Thompson said pushing back the deadline complicates the UO’s process for new students. That means they’ll have to do orientation differently, and impacts housing and room assignments. But Thompson said he is glad the UO is able to reduce the complications for potential students as they transition into college.
Currently, the UO has not announced changes for the transfer student deadline, which is currently June 1 for the regular application and June 30 for the application completion deadline.
But Thompson said the UO is looking into a possible extension for those students as well.
“We've been so focused on the freshmen that I don't know as though we're going to alter the dates for transfer [students],” said Thompson. “But you shouldn't take that as a ‘We will or we won't.’ It simply has not been determined. And that's really because we've been focused on the freshmen group. But we will absolutely examine that for transfers as well, because all of the things that I said about the freshmen apply to the transfers too.”
According to the UO website, transfer students will be provided a decision deadline when they are admitted. If transfer students need additional time to make their decision to commit, they can email UO admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.