College Applications: Common Mistakes to Avoid

There are ten common mistakes to avoid when applying to colleges. They are the following:

  1. Leaving out information on your application– Never leave questions blank. The sooner you  submit all required materials the better, and provide all personal and academic details. If there is a negative item, still include it and be sure to take the time to explain and redeem the issue.
  2. Cookie-cutter essays– You want your essay to stand out because admissions counselors read thousands of essays. Give credit to others and avoid making it all about yourself. Show your passions, ambitions, and visions in essays, interviews, and conversations with admissions staff.
  3. Not doing your research– Carefully research the college. Make sure it offers the major you are looking for before applying.
  4. Not updating information– If you get a new phone number or email address, move, or if there’s any change in your contact information, be sure to notify the schools. If you don’t they may lose touch with you and you can possibly miss out on valuable information.
  5. Not checking the email– Email is the main form of communication from colleges, so check your email often. Checking your emails only once in a while during the admissions process could make things difficult. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea to provide your parents’ phone numbers and email addresses so that they also know what’s going on.
  6. Not keeping the college in the loop– If you have decided your are no longer interested in a college, reach back and tell the college your plans have changed. It is also courteous to explain why. There might be something they could even do to help if it was because of the finances or other obstacles.
  7. Missing deadlines– There are many deadlines to follow and steps to take, so it’s best to stay organized. You wouldn’t want to miss out on important things such as scholarships, choices, grants or other benefits of taking actions before deadlines.
  8. Letting your parents do it all– Your parents are important, and it is great to go through the whole process together. However, your preparation for college is one step closer to being more independent. Don’t have your parents talk for you when asked questions, fill out the paperwork, make all the phone calls, and take care of everything. You can do things together, but it looks better to admissions counselors when you don’t. Show your readiness by being independent.
  9. Slacking off your senior year– Don’t let your grades slip! Don’t surrender to senioritis and throw in the towel. It all counts until the very end and remember, your final transcript must be submitted to the college you are attending.
  10. Don’t be afraid to ask– The admissions office is there to help you through it all. No matter how often it is, when you are confused or have any questions, just call and ask.
Caitlin Brubaker

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