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CTU members, students and supporters listen to speakers as they participate in a "walk-in" at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep in Chicago on Oct. 6, 2016. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

CTU members, students and supporters listen to speakers as they participate in a “walk-in” at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Prep in Chicago on Oct. 6, 2016. (Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune)

By Grace McDermott, Walter Payton

The Chicago Teachers’ Union (CTU) announced recently its decision to strike beginning October 11, which they say will end when a contract between the CTU and Chicago Public Schools (CPS) is settled.

This timing is seemingly inopportune for many seniors, as early action and early decision dates for college applications are fast approaching in late October and early November.

While the impending strike may be an added stressor for many seniors, it doesn’t have to be.

The strike will actually give more time to students to work on applications while home. As long as transcripts and scores were sent previous to the deadline that falls before the strike, there will be no interference with the materials needed to apply. Additionally, given that the Chicago Public School system is the third largest school system in the United States, universities will grant some flexibility to teachers for submitting recommendations, since the teachers will not be allowed to write recommendations or access submission tools during the strike.

There will be no interference with student access to the Common Application or any other applications, so students can proceed without delay. Hopefully this extra time will prove beneficial to seniors.

Though the strike gives seniors something of an advantage in getting ahead with college applications, there are some definite drawbacks that come with missing school. Since CPS starts several weeks behind other schools, AP students already have a decreased preparation time for the AP tests in May, and since AP test dates do not move because they are national dates, a strike will give seniors even less time in their classes to prepare for the tests.

On a more positive note, graduation dates are unlikely to move despite the strike, even if the school year gets extended into summer. Schools that hold graduation ceremonies at off-campus locations have to make reservations as early as within the next coming weeks, so no matter how long the strike lasts, graduation for many students will remain the same date.

Many counselors and teachers have expressed their recommendation that seniors use this time to the best of their ability to complete college essays and applications that are due in the upcoming weeks and months before CPS and CTU settle.

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