7 Common Mistakes Students make on their College Applications

Abby Siegel, a College Entrance Consultant with 19 years experience recently listed the 7 common mistakes students make on their college applications. Here is a summary:

1. Using generic reasons for picking a college: Students shouldn’t say they want to go to a particular school because of classroom size or teacher-student ratios. That answer is too generic because there are plenty of colleges with small classroom sizes. They should really investigate something unique they like about the school and express that in the admissions essay.

2. Forgetting to proofread: This is self explanatory. Grammar errors and misspellings can quickly move your students application to the rejected pile.

3. Missing the opportunity to fully explain extracurricular activities: The activity section of the Common Application is limited with only a certain amount of characters allowed. Students shouldn’t miss the opportunity to talk about all of their extracurricular activities despite this limitation. They should utilize the “additional information” section to finish anything that didn’t fit in the activity section.

4. Sending in low test scores even if the school doesn’t require them: Not all schools require you to send standardized test scores; many are “test optional” now. If your students scores aren’t the best, it is OK to leave them off.

5. Applying on the day the application is due: It is highly recommended that students send in their applications prior to the deadline. Colleges track when students send applications, and it reflects negatively on students when they send in their applications the day they’re due. Siegel says that applying on the day the application is due may indicate to admissions officers that students are lazy, or that the school you are applying to isn’t their first choice.

6. Neglecting to show an interest in the college beyond the application: Colleges have started to look in other areas to prove the demonstrated interest of applicants, including looking at students’ social media pages. They notice when students “like” their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

7. Requesting teacher recommendations at the last minute: Students should give adequate time for teacher recommendations. Siegel recommends asking a teacher in spring of a student’s junior year, and then following up as soon as school starts senior year. I ran into this one myself with my daughter who graduated last May. A teacher had volunteered to write a recommendation but got bogged down with other things so we had to ask 4 times before getting it at the 11th hour. It’s best to take Ms. Siegel’s advice and try to get it in the Spring of the students Junior year if possible.

There is some great advice here. Hopefully you can share it with your students. Here is a link to the original story: The 7 most common mistakes kids make on their college applications