8 Common College Application Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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College Application Mistakes

Almost 20 million students enrolled in college during the fall of 2019, and this number increases each year.

Students looking to gain admission to a college or university need to ensure that their application is flawless. That’s the only way to remain competitive. But it’s easy to make mistakes when completing college applications.

This article will explore the most common college application mistakes, helping you avoid them. Using these tips, you can potentially increase your chances of getting that acceptance letter you’ve always dreamed of!

  1. Failing to Proofread

After completing your application, you might feel tempted to submit it immediately. Resist this idea, as it often leads to declined applications. Instead, take a few extra minutes to proofread your work.

Simple spelling errors or grammatical mistakes can make your application far weaker. Fixing these mistakes only takes a couple of minutes, and it could make a significant difference.

While you’re reviewing input fields, be sure to give your attached essay a quick read. After all, your college application essay also holds a significant amount of weight and may make or break your application.

  1. Writing a General Essay

Students applying to multiple colleges may feel tempted to write a single essay and use it for all their applications. This decision might be one of the worst common mistakes students make.

That’s because universities carefully review applicant essays. As a result, students that use a one-size-fits-all application essay might not impress admissions officers or prove their desire to attend that specific institution.

Taking the time to personalize each essay and proofreading before submitting it could dramatically increase your application’s strength.

Of course, a well-written essay is only one of the documents you’ll want to include. Letters of recommendation can also go a long way in making you a more attractive applicant.

  1. Forgetting Letters of Recommendation

Professional letters of recommendation can help you secure a spot in the best schools! But they’re easy to forget, especially when concentrating on your college essays.

Still, forgetting to include letters of recommendation can make your application far less impressive. Unfortunately, many students also struggle to acquire these letters.

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Be sure to ask current teachers or mentors for a letter describing your character and talents. You can also choose to get a letter of recommendation from an employer or from a school administrator.

  1. Not Mentioning Special Skills

Within nearly every college application, there’s a space where you can list any special skills or talents. Some students leave this area blank, which is yet another common and costly college application mistake.

All students have at least one special skill or talent that they can share with admissions officers. This might be an ability to play a musical interest, perform in a team sport, or speak a second language.

Students that spent their last public school years learning a trade should be sure to mention this education within the special skills section. These students may also need help choosing a trade school that fits their talents.

Be sure to consider your chosen program or degrees when thinking of skills to list. For example, if you’re applying to a biology program, you’ll want to list your dissection experiences or medical internships.

  1. Neglecting Application Fees

Did you know that many colleges and universities charge prospective students for application submissions? These are known as college application fees, and they can vary from $20 to more than $100.

Failing to pay these fees when submitting your application is likely to result in a rejection or return. So, before you finalize your applications and prepare them for submission or mailing, be sure to check your bank account.

High school students can also ask their parents for help paying these fees. More than likely, your parents will be more than happy to help!

  1. Failing to Include Transcripts

The average college application process consists of filling out several pages worth of questions. Consequently, it’s easy to miss small details or fail to include all necessary documentation.

However, an application that lacks all of its required documents or info is bound to be rejected. This means that students may have to start from scratch and re-write their applications if they’re not complete.

Before you submit your application, be sure that you’re attaching all of the necessary paperwork, including transcripts. Some schools allow for digital uploads of transcripts, while others require paper copies.

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Either way, you’ll want to double-check that you have these documents ready before you submit applications.

  1. Not Making a Personal Statement

Many universities allow prospective students to make an optional personal statement within their application. But some students leave this space blank. This is a huge mistake and one that you can easily avoid.

Adding a personal statement typically only requires a few minutes of deep thought and focus. But this small grouping of sentences could act as the perfect introduction to your application, impressing admissions officers.

A college application personal statement is also an excellent opportunity to express your passions, concerns, or personal desires.

For example, you can write about why you’re applying to a particular school or what you hope to gain from your education there.

Leaving this field empty expresses a lack of personal excitement or involvement, and it may be the one thing that sends your application to the metaphorical (or literal) bottom of the pile.

  1. Applying to a Few Schools

Lastly, there’s the common mistake of only applying to a few schools. Sadly, this issue can be challenging for students on tight budgets, as a greater volume of applications often means spending more money.

Fortunately, many universities and colleges offer fee waivers for low-income students. As such, those with limited means may want to contact admissions offices to inquire about fee waivers.

Remember, the more schools you apply to, the greater your chances of getting accepted.

And the options for colleges are almost limitless, ranging from two-year trade schools to academically challenging four-year universities. So, be sure to apply to every school that suits your educational dreams!

Avoid These College Application Mistakes

Are you ready to hit the books and earn your degree? The first step is ensuring that your college applications are well-written and accurate. After all, simple college application mistakes can lower your acceptance chances.

When completing your applications, be sure to proofread them for spelling or grammar errors. You may also want to ensure that your letters of recommendation and transcripts are in order.

If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out our related education articles today!

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