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I've been gearing up to apply to grad school for some time now. Switching fields, working full time and other considerations mean that I keep pushing back my goal of applying. I have been strengthening my qualifications (small publication, open source work, git hub), but I still haven't applied.

I just ran across an interesting program that has the deadline date of March 15th. I'm tempted to just try and to get everything together in a month. I'm worried about being sloppy, or there not being any room in the program at this late date.

Is there any disadvantage to applying this late? Would it be more prudent to wait for fall, continue to work through the spring on improving and apply then?

  • Are you looking for scholarship considerations? I am applying to a school where the deadline is May 1, but the deadline to apply and be considered for financial aid is March 15. Depending on your situation, you may not need to rush then. – Lexi Feb 12 '16 at 13:02
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If you apply before the deadline, then I wouldn't consider it late.

Depending on the university and department, they might not review applications until after the deadline or they might review them as they come. So long as you make that deadline though, it should be fine! You may find this question helpful regarding the benefits of applying early.

I would certainly encourage you to apply now if you can. On a side note, I applied after my university's deadline and was still admitted but don't do that :)

  • I'm emailing them now. I haven't taken the GREs so if it would be possible for those to lag a bit, this might work. – OAWJR Feb 12 '16 at 6:20
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If there are some documents/requisites you won't have on hand in a (reasonably) timely manner (ask them if they can give you some leeway!), better concentrate on putting all your ducks in row and apply next term/year.

Committees tend to get many more applications than places available, any excuse to weed out an application could be welcome to some... besides, an incomplete application just looks bad. So the applicant can't even get the complete application together, who says they won't run off after the next shiny program that comes to their attention?

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The web-based application process will sometimes allow you to continue to attach supporting documentation even after application submission. For programs that select candidates over time instead of in batches, this may be beneficial: as long as you submitted and paid for the application by the deadline, you can still add the supporting documentation within reason before or after the deadline. Keep in mind they won't consider your application package until all the checkmarks can be made, and you should certainly contact program admissions ASAP and let them know your situation, and see what they have to say.

Note: Funding can depend heavily on your timely submissions.

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