Is it too late to apply for fall?

By: Kara Pangburn, Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions

There are many good reasons why applicants wait until the last minute to apply, and I’ve heard more than a few of them:

  • You recently moved for personal or professional reasons, and would like to take advantage of having a quality graduate program in your new backyard.
  • You’ve decided to take advantage of your employer’s tuition benefits.
  • You recently graduated with your bachelor’s degree and realized that the job search is not going as well as you would like – and a graduate degree would help.
  • A major life change has recently occurred (you lost your job, your kids graduated, your spouse changed jobs) which allows you to give graduate school a try.

So, is it too late to apply? And will you make a bad impression if you submit your application at the last minute? The answer is almost always NO to both questions, as long as you move quickly and make sure to cover all bases. It’s not a bad thing to be a late applicant, but it is inadvisable to be an unprepared applicant.

The fall 2014 application deadlines at Rockefeller College are July 1 for the MPA, July 15 for all Certificate programs, and August 1 for non-degree study (in Political Science or Public Administration & Policy). It’s important to note that ALL application materials must be submitted by the deadline, including GRE scores (when applicable) and transcripts. So if you’re thinking about applying for fall, there are a few things you should take care of immediately.

First, order your transcripts! Some schools take several weeks to mail official transcripts, and your application won’t be complete with just the unofficial, downloadable versions. So call or email your undergraduate institution to get your transcripts ordered right away.

Second, consider whether you have time to take the GRE (or GMAT). It takes up to three weeks for official GRE scores to be reported to the University, so the clock is ticking. If you haven’t already taken the GRE, you might want to consider starting your graduate career at Rockefeller College as a non-degree or certificate student. Since these options don’t require the GRE, you’ll give yourself more time to study. Also, think about applying for a GRE waiver if you have five or more years of significant professional work experience.

Finally, remember to submit whatever materials you have as early as possible. Even if you’re waiting on one piece of your application (like your GRE scores or a letter of recommendation), you can – and should! – submit your application right away. That way, we’ll know that you’re applying and can offer our assistance if any problems should arise with your application.

Please visit for detailed application information, and don’t hesitate to contact me at if you have any questions. Happy applying!

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About Kara Pangburn

Kara Pangburn is the Director of Graduate Recruitment and Admissions at Rockefeller College, University at Albany, SUNY. She earned an MPA from the University at Albany in 2006 and her BA in Politics and Spanish from Ithaca College in 2003. Kara has worked for Rockefeller College since 2006, serving in various admissions and student services capacities. During her MPA program, Kara interned at the Center for Legislative Development and at the Governor's Office of Employee Relations (GOER). Prior to joining the College, Kara worked in K-12 education. Kara's responsibilities include recruiting prospective students for all of the College's graduate-level programs, and overseeing the graduate admissions process. She organizes information sessions, campus visits, and admissions Open Houses. If you're interested in pursuing graduate study at Rockefeller College, you can reach her at the information listed above or at

2 responses to “Is it too late to apply for fall?”

  1. Jen W. says :

    Hi! I’m very interested in applying to your MPA program, but I don’t think I’ll have time to take the GRE before the July 1 application deadline. What are my options?

  2. Kara Pangburn says :

    Jen, thank you for your interest in the MPA program! If you enroll this fall in a certificate program, you can take a full schedule of classes which will transfer directly into the MPA program. Then you could apply to the MPA for the Spring 2015 or Fall 2015 semester. You wouldn’t lose any time, and could still qualify for federal financial aid.

    Feel free to reach out to me at if you have any further questions.

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