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Articles / Applying to College / Help! I Missed An Application Deadline Due to A Tech Problem

Nov. 2, 2018

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

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

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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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