Top 10 Mistakes Students Make on College Applications
Thursday | August 17, 2017 | by Kaitlin Ramby
Before being accepted into a college or university, students have to first submit a lengthy application. Applying to a school is very similar to applying for a job, and you should give the best impression you can on paper for admissions staff and decision makers.
Here are the top ten mistakes college students make on their college applications that you should avoid:
- Not closely following directions: It is very easy to miss something on a long application or to misread elements on an application, so take your time when reading through the instructions. Even filling out one small part incorrectly could result in the rejection of your college application.
- Withholding information: Colin Wiggins, international admissions specialist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said, “The biggest mistake I see being made by applicants is leaving off previous education on their application because they feel it doesn’t apply to their new course of study, or they are embarrassed by the grades, or they want a fresh start. Leaving previous academic information off of an application is considered fraud, and can prevent students from being admitted, or having their admission revoked if the fraud was determined after the fact.”
- Applying without speaking to the school first: Wiggins also said, “Students who are concerned about the validity of their foreign credentials or embarrassed by the grades, should always reach out before they apply and speak to an admissions advisor. It’s our job to help students apply or guide them in the right direction to achieve their educational goals.”
- Not double-checking information on the application: You should never submit an application without double and triple-checking that all of your information is correct. It may even help to have someone you trust to read through and look for any application mistakes.
- Applying close to deadline: Applying at the last minute is never a good idea. You should begin your application as early as possible because there are usually several required documents that take some time to complete. For example, you will most likely be asked for recommendation letters, school transcripts, and essays. Each one of these documents you have to wait to acquire before you can submit them with your application.
- Not spending enough time on writing essays: A college essay is not something that can be completed quickly. Remember, this is your chance to show admissions staff your personality and convince them on why you should be accepted to the program you are interested in.
- Failing to complete a required credential evaluation: Your application can be negatively impacted if you do not submit a completed credential evaluation that is required by the school. The credential evaluation process can take some time, so be sure you begin the process by starting an application as early as possible.
- Submitting low-quality recommendation letters: Before you even begin applying to schools, you should have a list of people to reach out to for a recommendation letter. If you do not prepare your references in advance then you could end up with recommendation letters that are not very strong.
- Asking too many questions: Although it is important to check with admissions staff for important questions you have about the application, you also do not want to overwhelm them with too many questions. Before asking a school official a question, check the school’s website, FAQs, or help page, and the application to see if you can find the answer on your own first.
- Being repetitive: Try not to repeat yourself in the application, especially when it comes to essays. Even if the information you provide makes sense, you want to make sure your writing is interesting so the admissions staff are impressed by you as a candidate.
Overall, college applications require a lot of time and research. Remember that you are not just filling out a form; you are making your very first impression on admissions professionals. Avoid making the above mistakes, and take care to ensure you are submitting a quality application that stands apart from the rest.