International Students: Importance of Paying Attention to Deadlines


For most students the fact that deadlines are a very important part of the university admissions process goes without saying, but then there are some students who will call our office repeatedly at the last minute pleading for us to accept their application or missing documents late. They will give us a long list of excuses all of which they claim were unavoidable, make their situation unique, and deserve a special exception. Their story is almost always one we have heard before and the delay can be traced back to a lack of planning and attention to deadlines. We greatly appreciate everyone’s interest in our university and we want to do everything we can to help students succeed so let me start by providing a little more information on application deadlines and why they are important, especially for international students.

Universities either follow a specific set of application deadlines or a “rolling admissions” policy. Schools with strict deadlines will clearly have them listed in their brochures and on their web site well in advance. Some schools may have a little flexibility depending on the number of applications received and the competitiveness of their applicant pool that year, while other schools will not accept anything after 4:59 pm (the close of business) on the day of their deadline, no matter what.

Schools with a rolling admissions policy generally review applications and make decisions as they are received until all the spaces in their incoming class are filled. However, even schools with rolling admissions policies tend to have a final deadline date several weeks before classes start. Their admissions policy may be rolling but they will probably have a deadline for scholarship consideration. It is also important to keep in mind that admission is offered on a first come first serve basis so applying earlier improves your chances.

University Admissions Officers are looking for students who are not only academically qualified but also well-rounded individuals. Submitting your documents on time or early shows us that you are a serious student who is genuinely interested in our university. By fulfilling all of our application requirements and meeting our deadlines, we can see that you are diligently planning for your future. This planning is also apparent in the visa application process. If you show up at the Embassy two days before classes start, the Consular Officer is going to wonder if you really are serious about studying in the U.S.

In addition, we understand that you may still be finishing your final year of secondary school or you may not have taken your national exams by our application deadline. That is ok. We can make a provisional decision based on your academic record up to the time you submit your application, and you can send your exam results or final transcripts when they are available.

Finally, the sooner you send your application the sooner the weight of the application process is lifted off your shoulders. Once all of your documents have been submitted, you can sit back and wait for the universities to make a decision and you can begin planning the next steps in the process.

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