Top 10 College Application Mistakes
Senior year is hectic, but don't let that affect the quality of your college applications. Take your time, pay attention to detail and plan ahead so you can meet the deadlines.
Following are some of the top responses from counselors and admissions staff who shared the most common mistakes on college applications.
- Misspellings and grammatical errors—This is a big pet peeve of admissions people. Misspellings on something as important as the application shows that either you don't care or you aren't good at spelling. Some students even misspell their intended major. But don't stop with a spell check. Proofread for grammatical errors, too.
- Applying online, but the application isn't actually submitted—If you apply online, you should receive confirmation that the college or university received it. Confirmation could be an email message, a Web page response or a credit card receipt. Follow through and make sure that your application has been received.
- Forgotten signatures—Make sure you sign and date the form. Often students overlook that part of the form if it's on the back. Check that all spaces are completed.
- Not reading carefully—For example, if the form asks what County you live in, don't misread it as Country and write United States.
- Listing extracurricular activities that aren't—Those that make the list include sports, the arts, formal organizations and volunteer work. Talking on the phone and hanging out with friends don't make the cut. Make sure your activity information is accurate. Colleges may check with your high school.
- Not telling your school counselor where you've applied—Let your counselor know which colleges you're applying to, and ask him or her to review your high school transcript before sending it to colleges. Sometimes transcripts have errors.
- Writing illegibly—First impressions count, so take your time and use your best handwriting. It will make a better impression.
- Using an email address that friends might laugh about, but colleges won't—Select a professional email address. Keep your fun address for friends, but select an address using your name for college admissions.
- Not checking your email regularly—If you've given an email address, the college will use it. You don't want to miss out on anything because you didn't read your email.
- Letting Mom or Dad help you fill out your application—Admissions people know if your parents help, whether you have two different styles of handwriting or your admissions essay sounds more like a 45-year-old than a 17-year-old. It's fine to get advice, but do the work yourself.