What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

College Admissions

Our counselors answered:

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Eric Furda
Dean of Admissions University of Pennsylvania

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Here is my video response to the question.

Seth Allen
Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid Grinnell College

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Here is my video response to the question.

Jenny Rickard
Chief Enrollment Officer Bryn Mawr

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Here is my video response to the question.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

The Essay

Not using your own voice in your essay: College admissions officers are experienced professionals -- and they read hundreds of essays every application season. They are intimately familiar with the writings of high school students. Grammar mistakes and misspelling: Please proofread your essay and application--and do not depend on spellcheck. Follow the directions: Did you answer the question? Readers have no sympathy for you if you cannot follow simple directions.

Annie Reznik
Counselor/CEO College Guidance Coach

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Academically, students should offer an explanation for progressions that will raise concern in the admissions office. It's always better to fill in the blanks yourself than to leave it to the imagination of a reader/committee.Here are some common items that warrant explanation: 1. Transferring high schools (particularly for junior or senior year) 2. Outlier low grade 3. Significantly changed performance from one year to another (or semester to semester) 4. Altering the level of course (changing from Honors to non, or vice versa) 5. Dropping a core academic course

Bill Pruden
Head of Upper School, College Counselor Ravenscroft School

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

In the competitive admissions process you need to offer something that makes you stand out from the rest, but you want that something to be positive. Different, but negative does not help. A raft of unrelated activities can be seen as a lack of commitment and while there is a recognition that a student may still be finding their passion, there must be something that interests you enough to make at least some commitment. An erratic, up and down, academic performance is never good. Even if the overall record is not great, some level of consistency is important—and if there is variation, then an upward trend is certainly preferred. Lackluster recommendations are not very helpful either. The recommendation itself says much but equally telling is the fact that you could not find someone who could be more positive about your efforts. The application needs to show the school why you should be part of their community

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Parents being illegal immigrants, poor grammar, misspellings, inconsistent or missing information, resident aliens w/o a TOEFL score, and a host of other things a college might consider a red flag.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Beyond poor proofreading, incongruities can hurt you. This means if you have a high gpa and low SAT score or vice versa. You want all parts of the application to affirm who you are.

Ronald Harris

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Drop in grades, and no rigor in courses taken.

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

What are some common red flags that can hurt an application?

Common red flags for application readers would be: *a sudden dip in grades with no explanation *a discrepancy between gpa and test scores with no explanation *a strong transcript, but lacks the rigor the school offers *a poorly executed essay *incriminating letters of recommendation