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    Missed the College Deadline? Here’s What You Can Do

    By Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman

    Gabriel Jimenez-Ekman is a content editor and writer at Scholarships360. He has managed communications and written content for a diverse array of organizations, including a farmer’s market, a concert venue, a student farm, an environmental NGO, and a PR agency. Gabriel graduated from Kenyon College with a degree in sociology.

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    and Varonika Ware

    Varonika Ware is a content writer at Scholarships360. Varonika earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications at Louisiana State University. During her time at LSU, she worked with the Center of Academic Success to create the weekly Success Sunday newsletter. Varonika also interned at the Louisiana Department of Insurance in the Public Affairs office with some of her graphics appearing in local news articles.

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    Reviewed by Bill Jack

    Bill Jack has over a decade of experience in college admissions and financial aid. Since 2008, he has worked at Colby College, Wesleyan University, University of Maine at Farmington, and Bates College.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Updated: February 20th, 2024
    Missed the College Deadline? Here’s What You Can Do

    There are a number of reasons you might find yourself asking, “What happens if you submit a college application after the deadline?” Maybe you only found out about the college after the application passed, or a technical error led you to believe you had submitted it and turns out your application didn’t go through. 

    No matter the cause, chances are you are anxious to find out whether the school might still consider your application. We have some relatively good news for you – although there are no guarantees, there is still a good chance you can apply for admission! 

    Read on to find out what might affect your chances, and how best to move forward with your application.

    Also see: College application deadlines this year


    Missed your college application deadline? Its not the end of the world! Here’s some tips on what to do next. And make sure to check out the full article here: #greenscreen #scholarships360 #scholarship #scholarshiptok #studenthacks #college #application #deadline

    ♬ Coffee – Kite Weather & Badnights & BLUE DREVM

    Where you stand

    Before we get into next steps, let’s go over the situation you’re in now. 

    Depending on how late you are, there is a good chance that the school will still accept your application. Each college wants to get as many applications as possible because it gives them a greater number of students to choose between for admission. So, they have an incentive to continue accepting applications, at least for a short period after the deadline. 

    Keep in mind that many colleges don’t even begin to review applications until after the deadline has passed. When this is the case, it creates no great inconvenience to submit something late since the college will still be in the process of reviewing applications. 

    There are no fixed rules

    Of course, none of this is a guarantee – any college has the right to refuse your application after the deadline. Especially at selective schools like Ivy Leagues and Hidden Ivies, there’s a good chance they will do this since they receive a huge number of applications.

    But being late with your application isn’t reason enough to throw in the towel. In the past, many students have gained admission to schools after submitting their application late, so it’s worth a shot.

    However, you should note that applying late may put you at the back of the line for admission, which can result in being waitlisted. This is still good news because the college feels you’re a right fit! So, try writing a letter of continued interest to boost your chances of getting off the waitlist.

    Related: An insider’s view on what happens inside an admissions office

    Next steps

    So, now that you know where you stand, it’s time to develop a game plan. Here’s an outline of what you should consider when making your next moves.

    Reach out to an admissions officer ASAP

    Your very first step should be to reach out to someone at the admissions office. If you already have a relationship with anyone at the office, try reaching out to them because they’ll probably be more likely to help. 

    Also, if the school has a scout for students in your area, try reaching out to them since they have an incentive to bring students to the school. Explain the situation to them and emphasize how excited you are about attending their school. 

    Make sure to be honest about whatever caused you to submit late; honesty is always appreciated in situations such as these. Ask if they would agree to review your application despite its lateness – this should get you a quick answer to your question.

    See also: How to write a great supplemental essay

    Offer to submit everything you have prepared

    If your application is already ready-to-go, you can ignore this step. But if you still have to complete some parts of your application, you can always offer to submit everything you have at the moment and turn in the other pieces as they come in. This shows your devotion to the school and emphasizes that you really do intend on applying.

    If the deadline has not yet passed, but you know that you won’t be finished in time. Try reaching out to the admissions office and offer to submit everything you have. This way, you can reach an agreement before the deadline passes, which shows a better sense of time management and responsibility than reaching an agreement afterwards.

    Researching schools with late deadlines or rolling admissions

    If you are realizing that you didn’t apply to enough schools, or you’re feeling unsure that you’ll gain admission to your first choice, it’s not too late to keep applying. You can still apply to schools with rolling admission, which means they constantly accept new applications. Be sure to also check out our list of colleges with late application deadlines to start. 

    Many of these schools continue to accept applications through the summer, so you’re sure to find some additional options. You never know, one of these colleges could be on  your list of safety schools!

    Related: Difference between safety, reach, and match schools

    Find out when the next admissions cycle opens

    Though it may be a tough pill to swallow, you should be prepared for the admissions officer to tell you that they’re no longer accepting applications.

    On the bright side – this doesn’t mean you’ll never be able to attend that school! If it turns out that you cannot enroll this semester, you can research when the next enrollment cycle opens.

    You have the option to attend another school and then transfer should you gain admission. You could also choose to take a gap year while you wait for enrollment to open again. Either way, your dream lives on – don’t despair!

    Related: How to transfer colleges: A step-by-step guide

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • There’s no hard-and-fast rule as to what happens if you submit a college application after the deadline
    • Some schools do accept late applications, but others do not
    • Be sure to reach out to the admissions office as soon as possible to find out if they accept late applications
    • Offer to submit all the materials that you already have in order to prove that you are interested in the school
    • If you feel like you didn’t apply to enough schools, it’s never too late to research some colleges with late application deadlines

    Additional resources

    Don’t feel discouraged if you miss the deadline for your college of choice because there are still options! If you’re not firmly set on attending that particular school, you could apply to a different university with a later deadline or rolling admissions

    Many students choose to start at community college and then eventually transfer to earn their four-year degrees. You could also use this opportunity to take a productive gap year as well, which might even give you a chance to work a job with tuition reimbursement

    Frequently asked questions about missed college deadlines

    Can I still apply even if I missed the deadline?

    Colleges tend to have different deadlines for applications, but they may still accept your application. If you know in advance that you won’t finish in time, reach out to an admissions officer to see what can be done. It’s still worth it to apply because your application just might be accepted.

    How will I know if the school accepts my application?

    If your application is submitted, you will usually get a notification upon its arrival. You can reach out to the admissions office to ask if they’re still accepting applications. Then, all you have to do is wait for that college’s notification date to see if you got in!

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