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

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Question: 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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