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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Tracewell

Is it too late to apply to college? Nope!

Don't panic! You unfortunately missed some deadlines, or maybe you didn't think you wanted to go to college? You changed your mind and want new options? Fear not, you have options, and we'd like to walk you through them! There are a number of colleges still accepting applications for admissions — great schools to provide you a pathway to your dreams.

Many college application deadlines, especially larger state schools and competitive universities, fall between November and February. For example, Oregon State University states on their admissions website that "applications must be submitted on or before February 1 for regular admission consideration and consideration for university scholarships." Likewise, the University of Oregon has a published regular admissions deadline of February 15.

However, my first big piece of advice is this: call the admissions office! Sometimes there are unpublished softer deadlines or extensions. You won't know until you ask. I looked closer at the University of Oregon and read this: "We will consider late applications on a space-available basis." It may be that you've missed deadlines for certain scholarships, but many universities will still have rolling admissions, which simply means they will accept applications until all seats are filled. In addition, the pandemic has upended many long-standing rules, including admissions deadlines; case in point — I recently received an email from Willamette University which said:

We wanted to let you know of our intention to continue accepting applications for the fall 2021 entering class beyond the Jan 15 deadline. Given the many challenges that have faced this class of college-bound students, and understanding that these challenges have led to a slower start to the process, we hope this deadline extension relieves unneeded stress and opens up the opportunity for more students to get excited about Willamette.

Notice the lack of a hard deadline? It's unclear when they will actually stop accepting applications, and they end the email by saying, "Do not hesitate to reach out to us directly." I will repeat my advice for those of you who haven't yet submitted an application but have a college in mind: call their admissions office! You won't know until you ask, and it's definitely worth asking, especially in light of this crazy pandemic life.

In addition to colleges that may extend deadlines, there are many universities, right here in Oregon and around the nation, with published deadlines that haven't yet passed. For example, Southern Oregon University, which has a priority application deadline of February 1, operates on a rolling admissions policy and will accept applications right up until a few weeks before classes start! "Our rolling admissions policy allows students to apply anytime throughout the year," their website boasts. They have a gorgeous campus in Ashland, Oregon, and are well respected for their business, management, and visual/performing arts programs, among others.

An Oregon powerhouse university with a priority application deadline that hasn't even passed yet is Oregon Tech — March 1 is their priority deadline, meaning you still have time to apply and take advantage of all their scholarships! Oregon Tech is truly one of the hidden gems of our state. It's the only polytechnic university in Oregon, meaning they specialize in engineering, technology, healthcare, business, communication and applied sciences. Most dramatically, Oregon Tech has the highest employment rate of new undergraduates as well as the highest average starting salary of colleges in Oregon ($60,000).

96% of Oregon Tech graduates gain employment or enter graduate school or professional school within six months of graduation.

I haven't even mentioned yet all the community colleges in Oregon! Oregonians seeking a two-year degree or a certificate or licensed program are served by 17 fantastic community colleges with campuses all over the state, and they have rolling admissions which I mentioned above. The only real deadline here is June 1, which is the deadline for submitting the Oregon Promise application, which is a grant to help cover tuition for up to 90 credits at any community college in Oregon. However, even if you missed that June 1 deadline (don't you dare!) you could still apply up until a week or two before classes start in the fall and forego the Oregon Promise and pay the full tuition, which is still a fraction of the cost of any university.

Perhaps you have your heart set on spreading your wings and flying further than Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Yes, you've procrastinated, but there's still a large number of colleges out in the big wide world that haven't shut their admissions doors. Big Future, the college planning resource arm of the College Board, runs an annual list of institutions with later application deadlines. Check it out here and breathe a sigh of relief for second chances. Apply by March 1 and you could land at Colorado School of Mines or Whitworth University. April 1 still gets your application into the University of Utah (a WUE school!) and May 1 could land you at Carroll College in Montana. There are dozens and dozens of options, so start your hunt and don't put this off any longer.

If you're using the Common App for any of your college applications, now is the perfect time to use their filter setting for application deadlines! We love how you can sort data in here, and you can filter for college location, your start date, and whether or not they have application fees, in addition to the deadlines! As you will see, this simple filter of an application deadline on or after March 1 yields 640 results! And this is only the colleges that actually use the Common App, so the number is much greater. Our own Portland State University, for example, doesn't use the Common App, and yet they are another smart choice for students to apply to, as PSU has pushed their deadline out to June 15, as well as waiving their application fee until that date.

I hope we've convinced you that it's not too late! Procrastinate no more, stop stalling and take back your future. Please reach out to your counselor or advisor if you need help getting started; we are here to provide support and motivation!

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