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Articles / Applying to College / Penalty for Late CSS Profile Form?

Nov. 21, 2011

Penalty for Late CSS Profile Form?

Question: My guidance counselor didn't tell me about the CSS Profile form so I did not hand it in by the deadline. If I send it in about a week and a half late, are they going to accept it and is it going to count against me?

Ultimately it is YOU and not your guidance counselor who needs to stay on top of college requirements and deadlines. Colleges post this information on their Web sites and it's your responsibility to see what you must submit. Guidance counselors can't possibly keep track of all of their students' target colleges and their differing demands.


BUT ... admission and financial aid officials do realize that this is a crazy and confusing process, so it's likely that they will cut you a little slack despite the tardy Profile. Submit the form ASAP and then send a brief email note to the financial aid office at every college where its overdue. Explain the oversight. If your parents didn't attend college or if your counselor has a giant case load and doesn't have time to provide adequate assistance to every student, it's fine to say that, too. (You should be able to find the appropriate email address on the college's financial aid Web pages. It's okay to write to the admission office instead, as well.)

Note that many colleges do not require the CSS Profile, but some schools do have their own forms that must be submitted in addition to the FAFSA. So read all Web site instructions and checklists carefully to make sure that you're not missing anything else.

(posted 11/21/2011)

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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