I prepared a doctoral fellowship application package two months ago but I missed the deadline by a week because I confused the deadline for actual application with the deadline for recommendation letters. My advisors have sent the letters but I missed the application deadline. So I have made a huge mistake and I feel horrible! I am not an irresponsible person so I am in shock and have no idea how to handle the situation.It's the first time I am making a mistake like this and I feel so humiliated. I want to avoid my advisors for a while because I know they've put a lot of work into writing letters for me. What would you recommend? Should I call the research institution and ask if they could make an exception? Or should I just email the package and wait for their response? What should I tell to my professors(If they find out, I will feel humiliated!)?

Thanks a lot!


I would mail the application and contact the institution to explain the situation. If they are willing to make an exception, it's better if they receive your application as soon as possible, and if not they'll just discard it anyway.

Unless, of course, it is explicitly stated somewhere that late applications will not be considered. In that case there's nothing you can do.

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There are hard deadlines and soft deadlines. Since LORs are important, it's unlikely that they will do a serious review of applications before the letters are due, and this is probably a soft deadline, where being a little late may just put you at a slight disadvantage, depending on their review process and how much they care about rules. (Often there are phrases like "Applications received by Jan 31, 2016 will receive full consideration.") Also academics are not generally known for getting things done on time.

So, as fkraiem says, send it in ASAP, and also send them a brief, professional email now to let them know you just mailed in your application because of a mix-up of due dates.

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  • Thank you so much! I really appreciate your help! I am preparing the package now. This is what it says in terms of the deadline: Applicants must submit a complete applicationton ... no later than January 31, 2016 in order to be considered as a candidate. It has a similar message for recommendation letters with a different date. So I hope this is a "soft" deadline! I am going to give it a shot! Thanks again! – Kar Masia Feb 7 '16 at 19:47

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