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When the last day of registration is, let's say, 15 July, we currently say "please confirm your registration before 16 July" but students often send their confirmation on 16 July, rather than 15. I guess it's the date itself that's misleading.

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You should say "on or before 15 July". Completely unambiguous, at the cost of two extra two-letter words. –  Peter Shor Aug 30 '12 at 2:34
    
Which is the more common form? What I've seen in many applications is like "register by September 15, 2012". –  its_me Aug 30 '12 at 2:36
    
@its_me: "register by Sept. 15" implies that registrations can still be made on the 15th. On or before is quite common and, in the business world especially, both "on or before" and "by close-of-business (often abbreviated as COB) on" are frequently used. –  Jim Aug 30 '12 at 3:18
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Simpler to say "... no later than 15 July." –  Robusto Aug 30 '12 at 3:35
    
This question can be improved by providing citations for references you consulted before posting the question. Consulting references and reporting the result is basic site etiquette. –  MετάEd Sep 26 '12 at 3:30

1 Answer 1

As in the comments, a common form that is succinct yet unambiguous is:

Please confirm your registration no later than 15 July.

Another unambiguous option is:

Please confirm your registration on or before 15 July.

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