I committed to a decision to attend graduate school starting the semester of Fall 2017. I made this decision around mid-December. I started applications 2 days ago and to my surprise, many of my schools had deadlines of December 15th or January 5th.

I don't feel I badly managed my time. This was just when I felt comfortable committing to this direction in my life. I took the GRE about 5 months ago so that 'future me' wouldn't have to worry about it if I decided to attend. I also saw that some schools had an admission deadline of March 1st, so I figured most universities would follow this pattern it would be ok if I stopped focusing so hard on work and side projects to enjoy the holidays with my loved ones. I'd rather not wait an additional year to attend grad school.

Is it (generally speaking) worth my time and money to apply to these programs so far after the deadlines? Fall 2017 is 8 months away after all. I feel I should still have enough time to get my name into the figurative hat.

  • 1
    I removed the secondary questions because one question per post. Also, the questions of "what to do to make yourself a better candidate during a year off" and "what makes a candidate stand out" are already addressed pretty thoroughly in other Qs on this site :)
    – ff524
    Jan 9 '17 at 18:46

You could try contacting the graduate administrator for programs you wanted to apply to, and ask them if it is too late to apply. I would consider doing this before I'd start throwing hundreds of dollars in applications to programs who wouldn't consider my app at all, anyway. However, most programs I've dealt with have online applications that are all marked as closed and won't allow any new applications, even if you wanted to apply, if it is after the selection date.

I don't personally know anyone who has tried this, but I suppose the most it will cost you is a polite email.

In all honesty though, I really don't expect anything other than a "you are welcomed to apply next year" response. A few graduate programs with deadlines in December have already made their decisions, some have contacted students for interviews, and some haven't started reviewing files (but admissions has still been processing their files, ensuring everything is attached, etc). Those that haven't started may still not allow any new applications.

You can ask, but most likely you will need to consider alternative plans, such as looking at programs that have spring admissions, dates that haven't passed, or just waiting until fall of 2017 to apply for fall of 2018. Good luck, regardless!


You are less likely to get into a program the closer to a deadline the application is, because most schools have rolling admissions programs and will have already started accepting people. Applying late can give off the false impression that the application is an afterthought, and with so little time, you will also be rushing letter writers, trying to get transcripts, and more likely to make an error that cannot be corrected in time.

GRE scores are good for five years. You would likely be better off finding an internship or work experience than applying this late in the cycle.


I would not apply if the deadline has passed simply because this is a graduate program you are applying for. Assuming it is competitive, the school will look down upon your application thinking that you applied on a whim. I would apply again next year. In the meantime, I would pursue a job in the field that you want to pursue graduate school in. This will show that you have interest in the profession and that you took a year to learn from industry and now want to apply that in conjunction to what you will be learning in academia.

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