Apply to University after Missing the Deadline: Late Application Opportunities

The road to becoming an international student is paved with deadlines. So are most of the milestones you’ll need to pass throughout the process, such as applying for financial aid, student visa, the language exam and others.

It is a common fact that, if you want to enrol in an American university, you should begin documenting for your application two years before you actually apply. In other countries and Europe, you can begin the process one year before submitting the documents.

However, even if you start preparing your application documents early on, you may still find yourself in the position of not managing to collect all of them before the deadline. This is when you need to look for late application details.

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Regular university deadlines for Master's degree admissions

Universities normally set quotas for the number of people admitted to any one particular programme. Often times, certain study programmes are in high demand, so they receive more applicants than the actual number of spaces available. Application deadlines exist so that the study boards of the various programs have time to analyse all the received applications and select the best candidates.

Many universities and graduate schools have deadlines for applications in September – January, for an academic year that starts in September. However, in many cases, they still extend the period until June. So most times, you’ll have to apply within at least six months before enrolment.

Universities always advise future students to file their application months before the deadline. So the time pressure will, most probably, raise as the last day for submitting your documents approaches.

What happens if you miss the application deadline?

Simply check the university website or contact the university staff directly and see if they have the so-called ‘late applications’ option. Universities keep courses and programmes open for late application for different reasons, mainly to make sure all the available spaces for a certain study programme are filled.

So take the chance to turn late applications to your advantage! Just remember, if you haven’t undergone through the process of preparing all the required documents for the initial application deadline, you’ll have to move fast and prepare everything you need so you can submit the late application on time.

What to do when applying late to a university?

1. Usually, late applications are available for certain study degrees ONLY (disciplines that are in less demand)! So carefully check the list or get informed about the available courses for late applications.

2. In certain countries, late applications can be accepted within one month before the start of the academic year. In this case, they are only dedicated to those students that are not required to apply for a visa. So EU students will be able to apply late for an EU destination, but non-EU students will not.

3. For some UK universities with no application deadline, students can submit application documents through UCAS to save time – an online system that allows you to apply to up to 5 different universities. Although they are dedicated to international students worldwide, including non-EU/EEA, they specifically advise students to consider applying for a programme considering the required time frame for the student visa to be processed (if it is necessary).

4. Late applications don’t guarantee that you'll be offered an actual place in the degree programme, your eligibility will still be determined based on your qualifications.

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Universities with late-application or no application deadlines

Check the common application requirements when applying for a university abroad.

Universities where you can apply any time

Universities offering online Masters allow you to apply any time throughout the year. Here are a few university examples to consider:

Tips for a successful late application

  • In case you missed the regular application, adjust your motivation essay to the situation. The time of your late application is different than the initial one and there are other facts in your life at the time. Tutors are expecting to see content that refers to the present, so focus on your motivational essay and make it realistic.  
  • Plan your schedule properly, since there is a limited time frame even for the late registration. If you still have to take the language exam, for example, you should take into consideration that it takes around three weeks for the results to be available and sent to the university. Also, the language exam has to be scheduled. 
  • Use your time wisely. You can take a short foundation course or increase your work experience. The effort in your CV will be visible and noticed. 
  • Update your financial plan. Even if there is a late registration tuition fee and the difference from the standard one is small, you should have an up-to-date budget. 
  • When you check out the university website, pay close attention to all the information. Some universities refer to “late registration” as “late registration”. Registration actually refers to enrolment, so this is targeted to those who are already admitted and enrol in specific classes. 
  • Although there were some debates on the subject, you should still apply early. Universities don’t make differences between students who submit their documents in the last week. However, it is better to wait more with a clear mind than feel the time pressure. 

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