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The Ivy Coach Daily

November 4, 2023

What To Do If You Miss the College Application Deadline

This is a view of Harvard University's Caspersen Student Center from the outside.

The Early Decision/Early Action deadline of November 1st just came and went. But what happens if you realize you forgot to submit your Early application in time? Or what happens if, after Monday morning quarterbacking, you alas concluded that applying in the Early round is a savvy move despite ignoring your parents’ incessant pleas to do so in the weeks leading up to the deadline?

Action Plans After Missing Application Deadlines

What To Do If You Missed the Early Decision/Early Action Deadline

If you somehow missed the Early admissions deadline, you have two options, which are as follows:

1. Reach out to the admissions office of the school you intended to apply to in the Early round to see if you can still submit an application. Notice we didn’t say that your parent should reach out. It should be you who reaches out if you hope to have any success.

That being said, it is entirely unlikely that the admissions office will make an exception and allow a student to submit a late application. While it’s entirely acceptable for letters of recommendation or high school transcripts to go in some days after the deadline (since admissions officers know this is out of the student’s control), submitting applications on time is entirely within an applicant’s control.

As such, if they were to make an exception for you to work on your admissions essays and overall applications after the deadline, they’d be doing a disservice to their other applicants.

And even if the admissions office green-lights your late application for the Early round, it doesn’t mean your late submission won’t be held against you as they render decisions. We’ve seen that happen, too! After all, it’s the mark of an unserious student who likely wasn’t ready to commit before the Early deadline. Why’d it take them so long?

2. Wait for the Regular Decision round (or, in the case of some schools, the Early Decision II deadline) — both of which typically fall on or around January 1st. The chances that an admissions office permits a late application are slim to none, and even if they do allow it, the late submission will likely be held against the student.

So instead of begging for the admissions office to allow a late submission, you can acknowledge that you’ve forfeited your valuable Early card and simply apply in the next round, a round in which your odds of admission will undoubtedly be weaker.

What To Do If You Missed the Regular Decision Deadline

If you missed the Regular Decision deadline, you have four options, which are as follows:

1. Reach out to the admissions office of the school you intended to apply to by the Regular Decision deadline to see if you can still submit an application. The answer will, in all likelihood, be no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

2. Attend the best school you did apply to by the deadline and then apply as a transfer to the school you had hoped to apply to out of high school but instead missed the deadline. 

Students have better odds of successfully transferring to a top university after attending — and succeeding at — another university. While it’s not ideal to have to transfer, it’s also not ideal that you somehow missed the Regular Decision deadline. Were you living under a rock at the time? Hey, we at Ivy Coach are known not to sugarcoat. We tell it like it is — whether you like it or not.

3. Search for colleges with later application deadlines. Some schools indeed have rolling deadlines. Of course, the list of schools with later application deadlines isn’t so hot. Check out the schools with late application deadlines. If you’ve never heard of many of them, you’re not alone!

4. Take a gap year before you apply to the school you intended to apply to — either in the Early Decision/Early Action round or Regular Decision round — the following year.

Of course, we at Ivy Coach would much prefer that students attend the best college they’ve earned admission to rather than take a gap year — no matter how well structured that gap year may be. The only exception? If a student completes a Postgraduate (PG) year at a boarding school.

Wondering why? A year outside of a structured high school curriculum so often scares off admissions officers at our nation’s elite universities. As such, traveling around the world, pursuing a job or internship, completing sporadic coursework, or reading books on the beach are not the way to go.

Ivy Coach’s Assistance After Missing Application Deadlines

Coming to Ivy Coach after you’ve missed college application deadlines is never the ideal time to come to us. But we can always help — no matter when a student comes our way. So fill out Ivy Coach’s free consultation form, and we’ll be in touch to delineate our go-forward college counseling services.Edit This


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