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Articles / Applying to College / My Admission Portal Shows Missing Materials But I Swear Everything Has Been Sent

My Admission Portal Shows Missing Materials But I Swear Everything Has Been Sent

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Oct. 31, 2019
My Admission Portal Shows Missing Materials But I Swear Everything Has Been Sent


I applied to six schools and sent in my applications early. All portals say they have my applications. But every single one of the six is missing SOMETHING. One says they don't have my transcripts. Another says they don't have my rec letters. Another says they don't have my payment. SATs are missing from a few. I know I submitted all of this stuff. Deadline is tomorrow. Should I be concerned that my file won't be reviewed if these materials don't arrive by tomorrow? Also, do colleges track how often I check my portal? If they do, they'll think I'm insane because I refresh it multiple times a day.

"The Dean" would bet the mortgage money that all of your "missing" materials are sitting safely in admission offices waiting to be entered into each college's computer system. But in the meantime, you're understandably worried. Of all of the many frustrating aspects of the admissions process, this is a particularly irksome (and recurring) problem. Colleges simply can't process admission documents as quickly as they arrive, and this inevitably leads to stress, just like yours right now.

Of course, there's always an outside (although unlikely) chance that some of your submissions did go astray. And you certainly don't want to find this out in several weeks when you don't receive an anticipated admissions verdict. So here's what you should do:

Wait until tomorrow, and then — if materials still seem to be missing — send a quick email to your regional admissions representative at each college that still shows your file as incomplete. (The regional rep is the staff member who oversees applicants from your high school. You can find the name and contact info on the school's website or by telephoning the admission office.) Also copy the email to the main admissions address. In this message, briefly explain that the deadline is upon you and that you have submitted all materials yet they're not all showing up on your portal. Ask if you should wait or resubmit.

This way, you are now "on the record" as having stayed on top of the deadline. And should any of your documents truly be lost in cyberspace, you won't be penalized if you need to resend.

Chances are good that you won't hear back from most of the colleges right away, but — in a week or so — all of those "Incomplete" warnings will be gone. If not, contact the college again (this time by telephone) to ask if it's time to resubmit the rec letters or transcript, payment, etc.

Because this is such a common scenario, The Dean is convinced that you won't have to do any of this follow-up in November. But, in the meantime, just keep refreshing those portals. The colleges will not be tracking this activity, so at least that's one thing you don't have to worry about!

About the Ask the Dean Column

Sally Rubenstone is a veteran of the college admissions process and is the co-author of three books covering admissions. She worked as a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years and has also served as an independent college counselor, in addition to working as a senior advisor at College Confidential since 2002. If you'd like to submit a question to The Dean please email us at editorial@collegeconfidential.com.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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