In the flurry of completing what seems like mountains of paperwork for your college applications, it is often far too easy to make a careless mistake. While a single error won’t automatically disqualify you for admission, a flawless application is always received better. It’s a good idea to put your best foot forward in the college process, and that means your application should be spotless. Let’s take a look at some of the most common mistakes students make on their applications and how to avoid them.
1. Forgetting to sign the application.
After completing your application materials, go over them again and again. It’s easy to forget to fill out a section, but you certainly don’t want to ignore an important section such as the signature form, which certifies the veracity of your application. Without your signature, the application can’t be officially considered. So make sure you sign your completed application before mailing it off. Filing out your applications online can be helpful, as an online signature form is typically provided before the application can be submitted.
2. Using a funny or unprofessional email.
As a high school student, it’s possible you have a clever or funny email you use when keeping in touch with your friends. While this email may be appropriate for use with your peers, you will want to choose something more mature and professional for your college applications. Your selection of email@example.com may not be taken as seriously as a more standard email. Save your witty names for your social media and opt for choices like firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Failing to correct spelling or proofreading errors.
Sadly, some of the most avoidable mistakes are those most often made. It is vital that you comb your college application for minor errors in spelling and grammar. Try reading everything aloud--this can help you to catch some of the more subtle errors. Having a second pair of eyes glance over your work can also be helpful. Ask your guidance counselor to take a look. Why worry about spelling and grammar? A polished application shows primarily that you are an intelligent student with good communication abilities, but it also highlights the fact that you are putting a great deal of effort into your application for this university. Essentially, attention to detail shows that you care.
4. Using the wrong college or university name.
If you’re like most students, you’re probably applying to multiple colleges and universities. This is a great way to increase your chances of acceptance. You will likely use the same resume for each application, and many of the same supporting materials. Colleges often use the same or very similar prompts for their application essays, so you can frequently use the same basic essay for every school. However, you must take extra caution when re-using such items, especially when it comes to the essays. Be sure you are tailoring these items to the school in question and make extra sure you change identifiers for each school. Nothing is more embarrassing than applying to Harvard with an essay that raves about your love for Yale. So avoid that face-palm moment by scouring through your essays and applications before submitting them for good.
Generally, if you follow the directions given for your application, fill it out slowly and with care, and check, double-check, and re-check it, you should have no problems and experience a smooth application process. Additionally, don’t forget to call your college or university to check up on the status of your application. Make sure the application itself has been received as well as any supporting materials. This ensures no surprises and lets you know you’ve done your part in the application process. Now it’s just a waiting game!