Missed April 15th deadline to accept grad school offer. What can I do?

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You have nothing to lose by reaching out -- the sooner the better. The best person would be a professor who recruited you (wants you in their group) or informed you of the offer. But I would also reach out to:

  • Any administrator who contacted you

  • Any other professors you are interested in working for

  • Whichever faculty member in the department is in charge of graduate admissions

The email doesn't need to be long, but it is important. Just apologize and say that it was a mistake, but you had intended to accept the offer. Unless they are looking for an excuse to retract the offer, there is a good chance they still want you. They may see missing this deadline as a bad sign; however, being proative and apologizing for your mistake will make it more likely that they forgive it. Follow up and reach out to new people if you don't get a response.


P.S. Bryan Krause makes an important point in the comments about programs that have wait lists:

The biggest issue is that any program with a wait list is likely to go to those applicants as soon as possible, which is the fairest thing to those applicants. They may not have a funding slot for you if someone from that list accepts, and they may feel they should give them priority over you[.]

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Pierre Sarabamoun
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Pierre Sarabamoun

Updated on August 01, 2022

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  • Pierre Sarabamoun
    Pierre Sarabamoun 5 days

    I missed the April 15th deadline to accept my grad school offer and wanted to accept it. It is now April 16th and I got an email saying they have withdrawn my consideration, is there anything I can do, anyone I can contact to accept the offer they extended to me even though it is now after April 15th?

    • Damila
      Damila over 2 years
      1. Why did you miss the deadline? 2.Have you reached out and asked to be let back in? It is now the 17th. It is possible that literally every hour decreases your chances of success.
    • Johndt
      Johndt over 2 years
      Just FYI, it looks like your real name is attached to this post. If this isn't desirable, you can change your user display name, but a mod may need to scrub your real name from the question / question history.
    • Greg Martin
      Greg Martin over 2 years
      One true answer is: you might as well ask them to make an exception for you, because even if they don't, you're no worse off at all.
  • Pierre Sarabamoun
    Pierre Sarabamoun over 2 years
    I did as you instructed, what do you think my chances are of being given the chance to accept my offer? also they offered to pay me to study there, since I missed the deadline would I lose out on that money?
  • Nate Eldredge
    Nate Eldredge over 2 years
    I would add to that list: whichever faculty member in the department is in charge of graduate admissions.
  • 6005
    6005 over 2 years
    @PierreSarabamoun You shouldn't lose the money, and I think there is a reasonable chance they will still accept you. But this would be very dependent on the people involved in making the decision. If they are looking for an excuse to reject you, they might. All you can do is be as proactive as possible and hope for the best.
  • Captain Emacs
    Captain Emacs over 2 years
    It depends whether they have a directive about "fairness to other applicants". If this is not a priority and you have a strong application, you might get in. Some places, however, they enforce deadlines to not be vulnerable to this accusation.
  • Dan Romik
    Dan Romik over 2 years
    @CaptainEmacs how is fairness an issue here? If they have already offered OP’s slot to someone else, then obviously there’s nothing to be done, but if they haven’t and the slot and funding still haven’t been allocated or offered to someone else, the thing that’s both rational and fair for them to do is to give it to OP as they originally intended. There wouldn’t be any “accusation” that anyone can (reasonably) make against them for behaving in this way.
  • Admin
    Admin over 2 years
    If enough other people have accepted to fill the class there's no spot for you. You not accepting got someone off the budgetary hook. If the people they have offers to went elsewhere you'll get in no problem. Not much else you can do about it now.
  • Captain Emacs
    Captain Emacs over 2 years
    @DanRomik I am not saying this necessarily makes sense, and I personally think that if the slot is open, they should give it to the best candidate. Whether things make sense or not is not always a criterion in a bureaucratic administration that is bent on compliance (or simply afraid of taking responsibility).
  • alephzero
    alephzero over 2 years
    It seems perfectly "fair" to kick out somebody who can't be bothered to meet a deadline which is known for months in advance. Some people have to learn the hard way that their actions (or lack of them) have consequences.
  • Bryan Krause
    Bryan Krause over 2 years
    @Pierre The biggest issue is that any program with a wait list is likely to go to those applicants as soon as possible, which is the fairest thing to those applicants. They may not have a funding slot for you if someone from that list accepts, and they may feel they should give them priority over you: you had and missed your window when you had dibs.
  • Jon Custer
    Jon Custer over 2 years
    @CaptainEmacs - I would note that the assumption that OP would be the 'best candidate' assumes that the department can uniquely order all applicants against some criteria. More likely, they had a pool of acceptable applicants larger than they could take on and offered a sub-set of that, chosen on various grounds (such as diversity of research interests to meet department openings).
  • Captain Emacs
    Captain Emacs over 2 years
    @JonCuster There are all kinds of criteria. But "best" means according to whatever criteria is important to the department, of course, and hopefully, this incorporates being academically most promising.
  • Jon Custer
    Jon Custer over 2 years
    @CaptainEmacs - one important criteria is likely to be responding by the deadline...
  • Graham
    Graham over 2 years
    Re the "reaching out", it would also help to mention any extenuating circumstances. If a close family member is currently ill with coronavirus, for example, they may understand that your application was not top of your priorities.
  • Captain Emacs
    Captain Emacs over 2 years
    @Graham Absolutely. If a department does not include that as one of the criteria, it's probably not a department you want to be at.