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Is it possible to submit my Common App before my recommenders have sent in their letters?

So, I'm trying to get my apps in early and I'm a bit stressed because my recommenders tend to do things last minute. Quick question: can I submit my Common App even if my recommenders haven't submitted their letters yet? I just don't want to be penalized for being ready on my end and them being a little late.

7 months ago

Absolutely, you can submit your Common Application even if your recommenders haven’t submitted their letters yet. The Common App system is structured in such a way that your application and the recommenders' submissions are independent of each other. Once you've completed your sections of the application, you're free to go ahead and hit submit.

The recommendation letters can come in later, and colleges understand that their submission depends on the schedules of your recommenders. Your application won't be penalized for their timing. In fact, most schools don't even require rec letters to be in by the official application deadline—rather, they have a separate deadline that's a few days or a week later.

However, those deadlines are still hard, even if they're different from the ones for the actual application, so just make sure your recommenders are aware of the deadlines and follow up with them to ensure everything gets in before the college's deadline. For peace of mind, you might also want to check in with each individual college's admissions office for their policy on late materials, especially if you know a recommender will be cutting it close to the deadline.

What you shouldn't do is remind your recommenders to write your letter in the weeks or days leading up to the deadline. In reality, they're doing you a big favor by taking time out of their schedule to help you with your college applications, and if they've said they'll write your letter, trust that they will. Only reach out if you hear from colleges after the deadline that you are missing materials.

Best of luck with your college process, and to your recommenders with getting their letters in on time—I' sure they will!

7 months ago

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