What Happens if You Miss a College Application Deadline in 2024?

what happens if you miss a college application deadline
what happens if you miss a college application deadline

Seniors in high school have several obligations, including academics, standardized tests, extracurricular activities, and other commitments. They also have to research institutions and complete applications while keeping an eye on submission dates. 

When you learn you’ve missed a deadline for submitting college applications but not your own, there aren’t many worse emotions than the dread that sets in. What happens if you miss a college application deadline? 

Before anything else, remember that you are not the first student to miss a deadline, and you most definitely won’t be the last. 

We’ll ease your concerns with everything you need to know about college applications in our guide, along with advice on what to do if you miss one. 

What Happens if You Miss a College Application Deadline?

Let’s review your current predicament before moving on to the next phase. There is a significant probability that the school will still accept your application, depending on how late you are. Every college wants as many applications as possible since it gives them more candidates to pick from when making admissions decisions. 

Therefore, it motivates them to accept applications temporarily after the deadline. Remember that many universities wait until beyond the deadline to start reviewing applications.

When this is the case, submitting anything late will be fine because the college will still be considering applications. 

Any college has the right to reject your application after the deadline, so none of this is a guarantee. They will probably do this, especially at the most prestigious schools, with numerous applicants.

However, being late with your application is insufficient justification for giving up. It’s worth a shot because many colleges have accepted students who submitted their applications after the deadline.

In addition to the formal application deadline, students must observe other deadlines to gather particular application materials, such as transcripts, reference letters, and test scores, in time.

If your application or history suggests any bad character flaws, a college will not admit you.

“Colleges are looking to admit students with strong character,” said Weingarten. So, be at your best when applying your essays or written responses.

Ensure you are not putting others down in your writing to promote yourself.

According to Weingarten, the following line doesn’t sit well with students: “While my friends partied at the beach all summer, I was productive, working hard at my Carvel job.”

If you don’t put any work into your college application, admissions counsellors can tell quite quickly. Your application should show that you are passionate about the institution you’re applying to and your aspirations.

What Can You Do If You’ve Missed a College Deadline?

It’s disastrous to miss a deadline in college. You’re not the first person to forget the deadline for a college application, and you won’t be the last, so maintain your composure.

When you realize you’ve missed a deadline, it’s important to act quickly and prepare for your future steps. You have options. 

Read this: Atlanta Heights Charter School: What to Know Before Applying in 2024

Contact the College’s Admissions Office

If you miss the application deadline, you should always contact admissions departments at colleges. Calmly explain your circumstances, ask about their policies, and find out whether they would still accept your application after the deadline. 

When you contact a college admissions office, be ready to explain why you missed the deadline. Simply stating that you forgot about it is not the best course of action and is unlikely to elicit the desired response. 

Colleges set deadlines for applications for a reason. Still, if you have a situation that makes it impossible for you to complete your application on time, you should notify the admissions office in writing or by phone.

If the deadline has passed, you might need to mail your application or deliver it in person to yourself. 

Follow up later to find out if the admissions committee will still take your application into account and evaluate it and also if the college has procedures that can be flexible with late applications. 

You can also call to ask if they will accept your application, which is the only surefire way to find out. Make sure to have a solid justification for missing the deadline. Prepare to perhaps lose out on first-come, first-served housing or financial help if the admissions committee decides to review your application

This is what should happen if you miss a college application deadline.

Apply Through Regular Decision if You Missed an Early Application Deadline

Submitting your application through a regular decision can be disappointing when you are primed and prepared to do so before an early decision or action deadline. 

Even so, it might be your only choice. Thankfully, applying through ordinary decisions doesn’t require completing any additional steps or checking any boxes.

You now have additional time to perfect your application, so comfort yourself with that. While early decision or early action applicants frequently submit exceptionally strong applications, some schools have greater acceptance percentages for these students. 

Review your application throughout the coming weeks, ensuring you’ve obtained all the required materials. Also, this is one of the things you can do if you miss a college application deadline.

Also, read this: National Merit Semifinalist 2024 | Step Guide to Become

Look for Colleges With Later Application Deadlines

With a clear cause, it might be possible for you to submit your application after the standard decision deadlines at the universities you wish to attend.

For the most part, several colleges have extended regular decision application deadlines, which is fortunate. This might be the best choice if you’re willing to change directions and consider applying to other schools with deadlines yet to come.

The College Board made public a list of colleges with later regular decision application dates, from January 15 to August 31.

You can research some of these colleges to see if they might be a good fit for you, even if they have yet to add many to your initial college list. This is what happens if you miss a college application deadline.

Consider Schools With Rolling Admissions

Rolling deadline schools accept applications well after the deadline for regular decision admissions. If you missed a formal decision due in January, you might still have time to apply to a school that accepts applications until May or later. 

Apply earlier in the application window to always have a better chance of acceptance, which is something to keep in mind with rolling admissions.

Some institutions prioritize applicants who submit their application documents by a specific deadline, known as a priority deadline. 

Even if you submit after the priority deadline has passed, you still stand a chance of being accepted. Schools that provide rolling admissions take on new students until the class is full.

If you decide this is your best course of action, you should immediately look into universities to determine which ones best meet your requirements.

There are numerous top universities to pick from, including Purdue University, the University of Pittsburgh, Penn State University, Rutgers University, and numerous others. 

Read: Do University Students Get Free Eye Tests?

You Can Transfer Next Year

You shouldn’t assume that applying and admitting to a college with a rolling admissions policy or an extended regular decision date means you must permanently say goodbye to your original top-choice institutions. 

If a school meets your interests, aspirations, and educational and professional objectives after your first year there, you can apply to transfer there.

Maintaining strong college grades, getting involved on or off campus, and convincing admissions committees that transferring is the right decision for you are all ways to make sure your transfer application stands out.

If you want to transfer to one of the country’s best universities, make sure your application narratives are appealing.

Consider enlisting the aid of an admissions counsellor if you want to offer yourself a competitive edge in the transfer admissions procedure. 

Even though you’ve already completed the college application process, an admissions counsellor can assist you in creating a new application that highlights all you learned during your first year of college and improves your chances of getting accepted at any school you select.

Check this: Waterset Charter School | What You Should Know Before Applying in 2024

Consider Applying Next Term or Year

If you are extremely eager to start college right away, delaying your application until the following term or year can seem like a cheap shot. That’s not the case, though.

If you take this path, you’ll have some downtime after high school to seek instructive and memorable experiences. 

With more time off, you can spend even more time perfecting your college application and improving your chances of being accepted for the following term or year. This is another thing that should happen if you miss a college application deadline.

Take a Gap Year Filled With New Experiences

Consider taking a gap year if the institution you were interested in applying to only accepts new students on a term-by-term basis. Take your time with this if this is your best course of action.

You should fill your gap year with worthwhile experiences and endeavours to improve your application in the future. A gap year is a great opportunity to explore new interests, determine what you enjoy doing, and have some fun. One can: 

  • Take an internship or a full-time position in a field that interests you. 
  • Visit new nations to improve your grasp of the world 
  • Increase your volunteer efforts for organizations or causes that are important to you. 
  • Enhance your knowledge outside the classroom by learning a new trade, an instrument, or a foreign language.

Before reapplying to universities, a gap year is an excellent approach to developing your abilities and profile. Gather all the resources or contacts you’ll need before you graduate from high school and set off on a planned journey if you determine that a gap year is the correct choice for you. 

For instance, you should either obtain your instructors’ letters of reference or their contact information to bring them later. You should also speak with your guidance counsellor and let them know you plan to take a gap year.

Taking a gap year offers the benefit of having additional time to take or retake the SAT or ACT, so make the most of it!

Related post: Mastery Charter School: What To Know Before Applying in 2024

FAQs on What Happens if You Miss a College Application Deadline

If I forgot, will they still accept my application? 

Students with truly extenuating circumstances, such as going through a serious crisis, a natural disaster, or anything else that goes above and beyond just forgetting a deadline, may have their late applications accepted by colleges. But it all depends on the admissions practices of the individual colleges. 

Can I Still Be Accepted If I Miss the Priority Deadline Through Rolling Admissions? 

Yes, there is still a potential that you will be admitted to a school that accepts applications on a rolling basis, even if you miss the priority deadline.
As long as there are still seats available in the class, you have a chance of acceptance even though you have a better chance of admission if you submit your application documents before the deadline. 

If I submit my application after the deadline, will I still be eligible for financial aid and other perks? 

Your application to the institution and what is still accessible to you after the application deadline will determine the answer.
If you submit your application late, you can take advantage of first-come, first-served opportunities, including selecting your housing and financial aid.

Do I Stand a Lower Chance of Admission if I Missed Early Decision/Action? 

Many colleges offer early decision or action programs for students who want to submit their applications sooner. The acceptance percentage is frequently greater among early candidates compared to the regular decision pool, according to most schools’ data on early applications. Early candidates, on the other hand, typically have strong applications and exhibit a strong interest in attending the institution they apply to. If you apply via regular decision, wait to write yourself out; make sure your application is flawless and stands out from the competition.


Although missing a deadline for submitting a college application is terrible, solutions are still available. 

Make sure to contact the college’s admissions office before applying, look for institutions with flexible deadlines, submit an application to a school with rolling admissions, or decide to take a gap year. Even if they may be outside your best interests, they can assist you in resolving a sticky situation. 

Apply your planning tools wisely, begin your applications early, and use time management techniques to eliminate the danger of missing application deadlines.



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