4 years ago
Admissions Advice

Do universities penalize applicants for submitting supporting materials late?

I recently applied to a few universities with October 1st deadlines for spring 2021 admissions. Of the nine I applied to, four have that October 1st deadline (previously five but UW-Madison extended their deadline to the 15th). I am wondering if my application could be penalized if my supporting materials, such as SAT scores, transcripts, teacher recs, etc are not in by the October 1st deadline. The only school I've applied to that outright seems to say that you may be hurt by late submission of those materials is UW-Madison but their deadline isn't an issue anymore. In general, do schools just want to see the student's application by the posted deadline and any supporting materials should be in soon after. I ask as my counselor has only just sent in transcripts/teacher recs this week (after a month or so of me asking) and they likely won't be in by the deadlines or at least won't be shown as received in the application portal. The four schools in question are American, George Washington, NC State, and UCONN in the case that you have any specific knowledge on their applications. Thanks in advance for the help!


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3 answers

Accepted Answer
4 years ago[edited]

So this is very broad advice but for school specifically ones follow match’s advice and contact them directly.

• Always submit all you can before the deadline

• You can 99.9% of the time send in new ACT/SAT

• You can always email the admissions and tell them about a devolopment like getting accepted to a prestigious org or tournement. Nothing garuntees that will change anything but assuming youre polite it will not hurt.

More specific advice is that if a school requires a rec letter you should make all possible effort to submit it on time. If not email the schools you are applying to and be PROFESSIONAL and don’t shift blame but either A: say a white lie like “My counselor has been super busy and has a hectic schedule so my counselors rec letter should be uploaded within days or B: just be super apologetic and say something and say A just more apologetically but less professionally. I’d prefer A.

As for schools that recommend I’d prioritize the schools that require them but is much less urgent and potentially not change unless you are on the bounderies of getting or you know you have stellar rec letters and this is your dream/reach school. As for schools that accept rec letters but aren’t recommended you can kinda forget rec letters.

Transcript definitely need to be sent in unless they accept self reporting scores. As for what would happen if they don’t get it on time IDK what to say. :-(

Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify!

4 years ago[edited]

You are taking some risks by asking HS students on here of whom 99% have not applied anywhere yet. It would much better and accurate to reach out ot each of these schools with the list of items that you anticipate being late. That way you have both 1.) peace of mind 2.) a physical record of contacting the school either through an email trail or you can contemporaneously memorialize the exchange of info. if it was on the phone by immediately documenting the phone call contents. That way you have forensic documentation if your admissions process has a hick-up. I would not be asking the advice of persons including myself on this CV Q&A.

Best of luck in your college admissions process.

4 years ago

Hi there! Some schools have a later deadline for things like SAT scores, but it looks like your schools want to see everything in on time, even supporting documents. For a couple schools, I wasn't able to find their policies, but American and UConn explicitly say things like "Please allow several business days for document processing. All documents must be received by the application deadline to be considered on time."

Unfortunately, a lot of this is out of your control though. You can't force your counselor to send documents early, and you did ask in advance. I would contact the admissions offices, as @matchakombucha said, and just explain which supporting materials may be late. If it was because your counselor was delayed, you might say something like: "I requested the submission of supporting documents a month ago, but my counselor was unable to send my transcripts and recommendation letters earlier, due to..." Just be careful that it doesn't sound like you're blaming them!

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

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