What are the most significant, avoidable mistakes students make in the admissions process?

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What are the most significant, avoidable mistakes students make in the admissions process?

William Chichester

What are the most significant, avoidable mistakes students make in the admissions process?

Not starting early enough!

Susan Weber

Falling in love

One of the most common, and detrimental, mistakes is to identify just one favorite school, feeling that it is "perfect" for you. There are so many excellent schools that for any individual student there are probably hundreds of excellent options, given your interests, grades, test scores, and your preferences regarding size, location, etc. It's important to do lots of research (which does not require expensive travel), and to consider carefully what's important to you. Try to find 6-12 schools that you love- this is not impossible! Make sure that for at least a third of them your grades and test scores are higher than their mid-50% of last year's freshmen. Then wait until you know you are accepted to decide which of the fabulous options you have is the one you like best!

Elisa Bennett
Director & Independent College Counselor Access 2 Admission

When Applying for Schools, Avoid The Following...

Being Shy! Students should utilize short answer and essay sections of an application to inform admissions departments of who they really are. It is often in the essay that students can appropriately disclose any special circumstances that may provide more insight to those making the decision about their student profile, academic record, financial situation,..etc.

Sally Mehaffey

What not to do when applying to college!

Believe it or not the most obvious mistakes are the most significant in the admissions process. #1 Be sure to PROOFREAD your application....not just your essays but the rest of your application as well. #2 Be certain to send your test scores to each school. #3 Follow the directions on the application. #4 Keep studying and applying yourself in the Spring semester of your Senior year. These would appear to be obvious "to do's" but every year there are hundreds of students who fail to follow these the basic steps and discover too late that they have not been accepted or have had their acceptance rescinded.

Helen H. Choi
Owner Admissions Mavens

What are the most significant, avoidable mistakes students make in the admissions process?

Here are some significant and sadly, common mistakes: 1. grammatical and spelling errors 2. submitting the wrong essay to a school 3. procrastinating with regards to deadlines and having to deal with crashing computers, overloaded online application systems, and.... freak October snowstorms that knock out electricity! 4. failing to "demonstrate interest" in a school. (This one is particularly sad because it's such as easy requirement. All that you need to do is to get on their mailing lists, attend a campus tour (in person or virtually), talk to a college rep at a college fair or on the phone, or even just "liking" them on facebook.)

Erin Avery
Certified Educational Planner Avery Educational Resources, LLC

Say My Name, Say My name

If you mention the name of a college in your personal statement on the common application, it is likely that you will live to regret it. Frequently, this egregious error is bemoaned by college admission counselors in backroom conversations, for example: "...and that is what I hope to bring to the Bucknell campus community" sent to rival Lafayette College since both accept the common application. To avoid this egg on your face and the ensuing regret, use the Avery Advantage approach: don't mention names.

Nicholas Umphrey

Being organized!

Disorganized students really struggle with this process. If a student is organized, gets parts of their application in on time without prodding, I know they are ready for the demands of college. If they struggle, then hopefully they learn from this experience. Keep a binder with folders in it for each school, and another one of financial aid and scholarships. Also keep a calendar of some sort to keep track of deadlines. Please allow teachers and counselors at least two weeks to complete a recommendation for you. Bringing it in the day before makes it so 1) teachers or counselors will not have the time to write a thoughtful letter and 2) they are probably not happy with you waiting until the last minute, and making your problem their problem. Most of the time, you have plenty of time to get your things together, there is really no reason to procrastinate.

Sandy McMaster
College Admissions Consultant My College Hunt, LLC

Avoidable mistakes:

1) Not allowing enough time to work on your personal statement. Give yourself enough time to write, edit, rewrite, proof and rewrite some more. Even the best authors go through multiple drafts and iterations. 2) Not proofreading your applications. After the tenth application, seniors can go into data entry auto-drive. Don't submit your application with dumb mistakes. Let a parent or friend help you proof. Don't forget to print/preview! A lot of online applications will cut your essay off if you've gone over their character limit. 3) Waiting for the last minute to hit the submit button. Counselors advise students to allow up to 48 hours for application fee payments to be processed. Standardized test scores can take up to 2 weeks to be sent. College sites have been known to shut down (or dramatically slow down) right before midnight due to the enormous amount of last minute traffic.

Michelle Aronoff
Guidance Counselor

Keep your grades up!

Many students make the mistake of choosing an "easy" schedule for their senior year. Some students also start to let their grades slip after they've applied to their list of colleges. These are both big mistakes. Colleges want to see you continue to challenge yourself and continue to do your best academically and this can definitely affect their admission decision. In fact, colleges are within their right to revoke their offer of admission if your final transcript is not what they anticipated.

Carita Del Valle
Founder Academic Decisions

Thinking "you won't get into a good college"

Many students have this notion that they will not get into a good college if they aren't accepted into an ivy league or top tier public university. This is so far from the truth and the sooner students realize they will "land" in the correct place for them, the admissions process will be much more fun and fulfilling. There are over 3,000 college and universities in America alone - certainly there is a place for everyone!