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Santa Rosa High school senior Sam Joslyn's home burned down just as he was applying to schools like Yale and UC Berkeley.
Joslyn said instead of thinking about how he lost his house he dedicated himself to the college application process. "Since nothing was left in the present I had to focus on the future," said Joslyn. He got in all of his applications by deadline despite the challenges.
Many students are now scrambling to meet deadlines extended to December 15 for those impacted by the fires.
The fact that the CSU as a system and the UC have come out and allowed these extension deadlines has been a huge relief not just for students but for the staff too," explained Santa Rosa High School College and Career Counselor Jeri Jones.
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Schools were closed for three weeks in Santa Rosa after the October fires, delaying everything from SAT tests to teachers writing reference letters. Everyone was affected.
"Luckily my house did not burn down but I really felt like my community was lost for me," said Jasmine Dao, a high school senior.
Senior Brandon Cobb lost his home and decided to include that experience in his final essays.
Cobb said his essays read like a sob story of difficult times, like something you'd read in a book and not in real life.
"It was difficult to think about what I lost and how it affects me coming through my senior year heading toward college. But it helped me grasp what happened and how I can start to move on," said Cobb.
School counselors say many private colleges worked with students one on one to factor the fire into scholarship and financial aid deadlines as well.
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