ic S/general/checkmark circled Thanks for subscribing! Be on the lookout for our next newsletter.
ic S/general/checkmark circled Saved to Favorites.
Articles / Applying to College / Help! I Missed An Application Deadline Due to A Tech Problem

Help! I Missed An Application Deadline Due to A Tech Problem

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Nov. 2, 2018
Help! I Missed An Application Deadline Due to A Tech Problem
Adobe Stock

My Early Decision application was due by midnight last night. The site went offline at about 10 p.m. and was down past midnight. This means I missed the application deadline, but it was not my fault -- it was the school's fault, in my opinion. This was my first choice, so I am very stressed. What can I do?

This fall seems to have been an especially nasty one for tech snafus in the admissions world, and that should work in your favor. The officials at your ED school are surely aware of the 11th-hour outage and have probably already decided to offer a grace period to students affected by it. Even so, you need to send an email today to your regional admissions rep. This is the staff member who oversees applicants from your high school. If you don't know who it is, check the college website. If the information isn't there, call the admission office to ask. (Don't be surprised by a long wait on hold as many others could be in the same boat!)

In your email, explain the problem you had with your submission, and ask for forgiveness ... and an extension. Your tone should be apologetic, not entitled. Don't point fingers at the school's IT folks ... they're probably just as stressed as you are! While “The Dean" can't say for sure that your late application will be accepted, it seems likely. (Many colleges consider applications that arrive shortly after the deadline, even when there's not a technical problem.) If you don't receive a reply to your email within a few days, follow up by phone.

And although the error was on the college's end, this experience should teach you a lesson. For fear of sounding too much like a real dean (or, even worse, like a parent!), I hope that the next time you face an important deadline, you won't wait until the last minute to meet it!


If you'd like to submit a question to College Confidential, please send it along here.

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.

More on Applying to College

See all
Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Can I Reapply After Early Decision or Early Action Rejection?

Question: If I apply to a college through Early Decision or Early Action, but I am not accepted, can I apply again through Regula…


Will It Be Another Record-Setting Year For College Applications?

During the 2020-2021 admissions cycle, the rise of test-optional policies in response to the global pandemic resulted in a surge …

emma-dau-n_4iTY1KmDE-unsplash (1)

What is Parents' Role in the College Process?

We took a trip to Boston last week. As educational consultants, part of our job is to travel the country to visit college and boa…


Coalition for College: More Than Just Another College Application

You may have heard about the Coalition application when learning about different types of applications that can be used to apply …


Questions to Ask Your College Interviewer (It Works Both Ways!)

As a college applicant, you may already know the feeling of relief when you hit submit. But wait, you're not done yet! Some …

Find Your Best Fit

Find your best fit college and track your favorite colleges.

Search Colleges