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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 you only found out later it didn’t go through. You could have mixed up the application date, or experienced a family emergency right around the deadline.
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
Where you stand
Before we get into your next actions to take, 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, as 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 also that many colleges do not 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, as the college will still be in the process of reviewing applications.
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 the most selective schools, there is a good chance they will do this, as they receive a huge number of applications per year. But being late with your application is not 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.
So, now that you know where you stand, it’s time to develop a gameplan. Here is an outline of what you should consider when making your next moves.
Reach out to an admissions officer ASAP
Your very first step, before doing anything else, should be to reach out to someone at the admissions office. If you have already developed a relationship with anyone at the office, try reaching out to them, as they will probably be more likely to help. Additionally, if the school has a scout for students in your area, try reaching out to them, as they have an incentive to bring students to the school from your region.
Explain the situation to them and emphasize how excited you are about the prospect of attending the 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.
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
If you are realizing that you did not apply to enough schools, or you are feeling unsure that you’ll gain admission to an option you’re happy with in the fall, it’s not too late to keep applying. 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.
Find out when the next admissions cycle opens
Though it may be a tough pill to swallow, you should be prepared for a scenario in which the admissions officer you reach out to tells you that they are no longer accepting applications. On the bright side – this does not mean you’ll never be able to attend the school in question! If it turns out that you cannot enroll this semester, you can research when the next enrollment cycle opens.
You have the option of attending another school, even a community college, and transferring in next year, 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 – do not despair!
So, there’s no hard-and-fast rule as to what happens if you submit a college application after the deadline. Some schools may still accept your application, but others may not. For example, the City Universities of New York state on their website that many of their schools do accept late applications, but others do not.
Most importantly, you should be sure to reach out to the admissions office as soon as possible to find out. Additionally, you should offer to submit all the materials that you already have in order to prove that you are interested in the school. And finally, if you are feeling as though you didn’t apply to enough schools, it’s never too late to research some colleges with late application deadlines.
Also see: What is rolling admissions?
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