Hurricane Sandy struck at a stressful time for high school seniors trying to meet the Nov. 1 deadline for early decision at many universities across the country.

“Hurricane Sandy came at the wrong time,” said Lynbrook High School Senior Sean Kemp, who applied early decision to Emory University. “The hurricane messed up cell phone service, and I still don’t have Internet to check on my applications.”

Because of the damaging effects of Sandy, Emory, along with other universities, such as Harvard, Yale, Duke and the University of Michigan, has decided to extend their deadline for early decision applicants.

“People are distraught,” said William Segura, Emory Admission Advisor.

Emory has extended their overall early decision deadline to Nov. 5, but pushed back the deadline to Nov. 15 for students in the Northeast.

“We want to give the students affected by the hurricane ample time,” Segura said.

Although high school senior Kemp said he completed his early decision application for Emory a few weeks ago, he was still waiting for his college counselor to send a few documents.

“Emory’s extended deadline is pretty positive for me, because I possibly could not have gotten my application out in time,” Kemp said.

There has been an increased interest nationwide in early decision among the nation’s most competitive universities, particularly at Emory.

Last year, early decision applications increased more than 25 percent, which resulted in a larger portion of the Class of 2016 that entered Emory College through early decision than in previous application cycles. More than two in five freshmen were admitted through early decision.

Because early decision has become such a popular trend in the application process, Segura said that Emory does not think Hurricane Sandy will reduce application numbers.

Emory is willing to make accommodations for students affected by severe power outages, damaged homes and the other challenges resulting from Hurricane Sandy.

“It’s not fair for these affected students,” Segura said. “As a university, we need to be flexible and give everyone an equal opportunity.”

–By Morgan Manella