You know what you need to do to be on top of the application process. How about the things you should avoid? Making mistakes that are more than just an oopsie may cost you the possibility of getting into the university of your dreams. Oh, horror of horrors!
Some of the most common application mistakes are those that can be easily avoided. They may not stop you from getting into a university, but why take the risk?
The Uniqueness Factor
Yes, colleges want to know who you are and essays are one way to show off your personality and your qualities that make you stand out from the rest of the crowd. So go on and toot your own horn…but with care. The admissions committee wants to know who you are but they’ll quickly tire of boasting. Also, watch out for your need to share too much. The college is looking for an insight into your personality and the way you relate to life.
Some ways to stay on track is to avoid overusing the pronoun ‘I’. You can also talk about mentors and friends who’ve helped you in relevant ways. And as the adage goes, if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it. It will also help the college to know of your socioeconomic background and other details. So don’t skim over that aspect.
Know Your School
Even if you are applying to more than one or two schools (as you should be doing), do your research of each school. Look at how a school can contribute to your goals (which should be thought through) and vice versa. The admissions officers should be able to see that you have done your homework and that you will indeed benefit from being a part of that school and taking that course. And oh, don’t mix up applications. You don’t want NYU to wonder about the merits of UCLA.
A Well-Rounded Applicant
A common complaint is that students don’t elaborate on the extracurricular activities that they’ve participated in. Schools want more than just scores. Your interests also speak for you as a potential candidate. Make a list of activities you’ve participated in and your roles in them. Activities could include sports teams, science club, cheerleading, school committees, theater, fund-raisers, school newspapers, and more.
Plan Your Time
Procrastination may not pay off when we are talking about college applications. The possibilities for things to go wrong are very real. So imagine the worst case scenarios and plan ahead. It takes some time to get the right recommenders and notes from them. It’s also easy to mix up the application deadlines of various colleges.
You could jot them all down, double and triple check to get them right, and cross off the ones to which you send applications. Reminders on your phone are also helpful to avoid last minute panic. Ideally, you should submit your application a few days before the deadline.
More on the Essay
The essay may be crucial to your application, so follow the directions given and choose the right prompt. Once you understand the question and prepare to write, make sure that experiences and stories are interspersed with reflective comments. Though you may be rushed for time, you must put in the effort to write fresh essays instead of making tweaks here and there.
Finally, edit the essay for grammar and spelling mistakes. Getting someone else to read the essay and fix mistakes is highly recommended. With that, you will have a polished and compelling essay to share with colleges.
Other common application mistakes that are noticed include parents getting more involved in it than you or filling in your low test scores when it is not required. Even your email id may work against you (yes, your email id crazeee4lyfe won’t work). By giving these mistakes the boot and planning ahead, you can increase your chances of getting into a university of your choice.