What are your chances of acceptance?

Your chance of acceptance
Duke University
Duke University
Your chancing factors
Unweighted GPA: 3.7
SAT: 720 math
| 800 verbal


Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

What Do I Do if I Forgot Part of My Application?

What’s Covered:


Even though you’ve put tons of time and attention into your applications, occasionally, something will slip past you. Realizing that the application you’ve submitted is missing key items is the opposite of relaxing—you may even be worried that you’ve ruined your chances of acceptance.


Don’t panic if you’ve discovered that important components are missing from your college application. It’s a difficult scenario, but it doesn’t mean your prospects of getting in are lost. This article will walk you through verifying the completeness of your application, comprehending how colleges could perceive your application, and taking the appropriate action to address any missing information as you put together your college applications.


What’s in a Finished College Application?


First of all, every school’s application process is slightly different, as you can see from our blog posts on various colleges. Sometimes there are even different application processes for different programs at the same college or university. You’ll need to make sure that you follow the directions for your specific program within your chosen college.


Typically, you can find a list of all the materials you’ll need to submit on your chosen college’s admissions website. The Common Application also includes similar lists in the My Colleges section. Different parts of your application may even need to be submitted using different portals and methods, so make sure you keep track not only of what to submit, but also how and where to submit it.


Required portions of the application usually include the following:


  • All portions of the Common, Coalition, or Universal College Application, including personal essays
  • All portions of the school-specific supplements to the Common, Coalition, or Universal College Application, often including additional essays
  • School report, submitted by your guidance counselor
  • Transcript(s), Mid-Year Report, and/or Final Report, submitted by your guidance counselor or other school official
  • Counselor recommendation, submitted by your guidance counselor
  • Teacher recommendation(s), submitted by one or more of your teachers
  • Test scores for the ACT or SAT (if applicable, considering many schools have adopted test-optional policies), requested by you and submitted by the testing agencies directly to your colleges
  • Test scores for the TOEFL or IELTS (if you’re an international applicant)
  • Arts supplement or portfolio (if you’re applying to a program in the arts)
  • Application fee or fee waiver, if applicable


Optional portions of the application might include:


  • Additional standardized test scores, such as Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate scores, which are submitted directly to your colleges by the testing agency
  • Resume, if you feel that your activities list doesn’t fully capture your extracurricular involvement and/or professional experience
  • Supplementary information, if you feel that admissions officers will require additional context, such as an explanation of extenuating personal circumstances, to properly understand your candidacy
  • Interview request, depending on the college’s interview policies and procedures
  • Financial aid application, likely including the FAFSA, CSS profile, tax documents, and/or school-specific forms
  • Additional essays for any scholarships you would like to be considered for


What to Do If You’re Missing Part of Your College Application


Discovering a missing part in your college application can be unsettling, but it’s a situation that can often be remedied with swift and thoughtful action. Here’s a concise plan to follow:


Acknowledge and Identify


Review the policies and procedures of the college in question. You’ll often be able to check the status of your application and related forms through an online portal specific to that college. Identify the specific component of your application that is lacking, whether it is a recommendation letter, an essay, or another crucial file. Then, admit your error. This is a critical phase in demonstrating accountability.


Contact the Admissions Office


As soon as you recognize the mistake, contact the college’s admissions office. Give a sincere explanation of the circumstances and your strategy to fix the mistake. Make sure you’re clear about what happened so that the admissions office can give you the correct advice about what to do next. Your dedication and professionalism are evident in this correspondence.


Contacting the admissions office and explicitly telling them about your predicament serves two purposes. Firstly, if you do this, the admissions office will know to expect more information from you. They may be able to put a note in your file to that effect so that anyone who reads your file is aware that your application is known to be incomplete.


Secondly, the admissions office for your particular college can tell you exactly how to submit the information that you forgot to include on your application. You should specifically ask the admissions office how and to where you should send this information. Follow their instructions exactly to prevent your information from ending up in the wrong place.


Prepare and Submit the Missing Item


Put in the effort to finish the portion that your application is lacking. If it’s an essay, concentrate on writing a well-reasoned and analytical answer. Get in touch with the appropriate people as soon as possible if you require a recommendation or other documentation. Delivering your best work shouldn’t be sacrificed for speed, as quality ultimately matters more.


That said, you should specifically ask the admissions office how urgently they will need your information. While quality does matter more, any hard deadlines must be respected. If you’re sending in documents through the physical mail, be prepared for the possibility that you’ll need to send them via a faster option like overnight mail.


You may wonder if you can or should submit the information you forgot using your chosen college’s portal for submitting supplementary information. Don’t take this shortcut—it’s not the appropriate place for that information, and it will hurt you in the long run, as things can get lost or take longer to be seen by the right people.


Follow Up and Confirm Receipt


Once the missing piece has been submitted, get in touch with the admissions office to make sure they received it and that your application is now complete. This step guarantees that you won’t need to take any more action and will give you some peace of mind.


Learn from the Experience


Take this as an opportunity to learn. To prevent such circumstances in the future, use more effective organizational techniques such as tracking systems or checklists.


Recall that universities are used to handling a variety of scenarios throughout the admissions process. They are aware that errors can be made by applicants. Taking care of the matter quickly and maturely will help you keep your chances of getting in, and may also demonstrate that you can handle pressure.  It will also show the college that you genuinely care about your application, and about potentially attending their institution.


Calculating Your Chances of Admission


After submitting all of your materials, you may begin to question whether all of your hard work will pay off in the form of an admissions offer. Check out CollegeVine’s free chancing engine to get a better idea of your chances of getting in. This tool considers several profile factors, such as your test results, extracurricular activities, and grades.


Although you will still be waiting for a response from colleges, the admissions calculator can give you a more accurate idea of your chances of being accepted. A personalized evaluation based on your profile provides you with more information than the general admission rates frequently mentioned in publications and online.

Short Bio
Varun is a recent graduate from Arizona State University, Tempe, with a degree in Computer Science. He aims to share his knowledge of computer science, the IB Diploma Program, and all things college-related with high school students. In his free time, he can be found performing DJ sets or cooking!