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I Screwed Up



I missed a deadline.

This is totally unlike me, but it's true: I missed the deadline for one of my schools.

In my defense, I'm a few weeks post-op on a minor surgical procedure and had a horrible stomach virus over the weekend. I wasn't thinking about much, except for not messing up my almost-healed incisions and staying hydrated. I submitted the application only 17 hours late...but the school's website is very clear about having a hard deadline. Still, my payment and online submission went through and I received an automated confirmation of its receipt.

I emailed the admissions coordinator to see if I still would be considered and explained I had been ill.

I will update this when I get a response, but for now I am mortified. I'm sick to my stomach! I am not applying to so many schools that I can just cross one off of my list...


Has anything similar happened to you? How did things work out? Let me know in the comments.

UPDATE: Just looked again and it seems because I was panicked and in a rush, I spelled a POI's first name (tricky in my defense) wrong in the SOP. Guess I can cross this one off my list regardless of the deadline snafu...

UPDATE: Admissions got back to me and said the department is still taking applications! Hurray! I figured I'd push my luck and send them an updated SOP with the error corrected, just because...well, what do we have to lose? Thanks for all your helpful comments guys!

To that end, a funny thing one of my letter writers told me is that they admit people who spell her name wrong every year, and as much as she hates it, sometimes a candidate is just too great in other respects. What a weird process.


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I'm not sure which programs you're applying to but my bet is they'll be lenient. I just applied to a bunch of schools and sent an outdated SOP to one of them. I freaked out and just sort of resigned myself to not getting in, but then I emailed the admissions staff and asked if I could replace the document, and they were totally nice about it and allowed me to. I think they deal with this stuff all the time. 

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I screwed up even worse, on my list I had written one's school's application deadline down in the wrong month. Sad to say, I didn't apply, as when I figured it out it was far too late! Best thing to do is move on, there's a chance they'll still look at it, and if they don't, there are many schools out there! To get hung up on one single one is silly. I know many people who have ended up at a school that wasn't a top pick and absolutely fell in love. 

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Do you have the contact of the the admissions office? If so, you might want to write to them and explain as well. I think they'd be the ones with the magic power to put that application in the on-time pile. 


My experience with applications is that the people reading them are human too and as long as you have a reason and have communicated it for missing a deadline, I don't think they would hold it against you. With one of my applications the system was down (probably too many people trying to upload material at once) and I was not able to get a couple items uploaded until a few hours after the deadline. I wrote the admissions office, and they told me it would be fine and they'd consider it on time.

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I actually just had a recommender miss the deadline for one of my applications (despite NUMEROUS reminders -.-) and was absolutely losing my mind about it because the website was VERY clear on applications only being considered if they were in by the deadline. Emailed earlier today about the situation, and was sent a reply stating my application had been accepted for review. So, I'd say just talk it out. As for the SOP, don't sweat it, especially if your POI has a difficult name. If it's really bothering you, you can email them a corrected one and they will more than likely replace it.

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I can add to these experiences. In the PhD program admissions process that I saw - one student submitted an SOP for a completely different school, and was still in the running. Many students were missing letters, and other submissions, and were still being reviewed. When the info came in, it was added to the file.


Thing is, if they didn't say "hard deadline" - what would they get? They would get 200 students asking for extensions. But, from what I've seen, the deadlines are rarely hard.

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I contacted the school and the department was still taking in applications, so you may not have anything to worry about, it may be the same with your situation.

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