College Application: 10 Most Common Mistakes to Avoid

Applicants get admitted to schools in different ways, and there’s no single reason why they get rejected. Usually, there are many factors that influence the decision of application committees, and some of them cannot be controlled by an applicant. However, there are some common mistakes. If you know about them, you can easily avoid them and increase your chances of getting into the chosen school. These mistakes can be a reason why you’ll get rejected but they are nevertheless easy to avoid. Check out this list of common mistakes created at website.

1. Not including personal details

Context is very important in the admissions process. If an applicant has a low socioeconomic background or their parents didn’t attend college, the admissions committee will have different requirements than in the case of privileged applicants. If an applicant has a full-time job and spends several hours a day taking care of their siblings, they won’t be able to have the same extracurricular experience as their peers.

However, context expands beyond socio-economic factors. For example, if you have a learning disability, health issues, or your parent has addictions or religious beliefs that isolate you from the mainstream culture, these factors are also important.

Just think about the quality of your life objectively: what is your community? What responsibilities do you have? What family issues do you have? Let the admissions committee know it so that they can consider you in context. If you leave out the personal details, you’ll only make things worse.

2. Narcissism

Your application shouldn’t be all about you. Thus, make sure you don’t use the word “I” too often. Give credit to your mentors, teachers, and everyone who supported you on your way to college. In addition, think of how you can contribute to college life, not what the college can do for you.

When writing about your high school teachers, classmates, and administrators, be careful. Even if you’re sure that they are small-minded, unprofessional, and uninspiring, the staff at colleges will be sure that your attitude doesn’t fit their image of the perfect applicant.

3. Lacking vision and ambition

Of course, not everyone can become an astronaut or the President of the US, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have such ambitious plans. Don’t be afraid to dream big and demonstrate your vision. For example, getting a good job is not that ambitious, after all. It may sound ambitious if you’re the first person in your family to get into college, but is getting a good job your biggest goal in life?

4. Being unfamiliar with the school

There are many schools that have an admission rubric, and many schools take into account your interest in the school when considering the application. Make sure to let the admissions committee see what you know about the school.

The best way to demonstrate your interest is to answer a simple question: why this school? You can write your answer in the form of an essay, explaining what academic programs or student activities make you want to attend this school.

5. Too much information

Although you should provide some information that will give the admissions committee insights into your personality, it doesn’t mean that you should mention your failures, neuroses, regrets, and fears. Your application is a great place to celebrate what is best about you, not vice versa.

Another sort of information to avoid is information that doesn’t enhance your application. You don’t need dozens of certificates and letters of recommendation. Don’t forget that the admission committee doesn’t have much time to read your application.

6. An incomplete list of activities

If you think that a perfect SAT score will get you into a highly selective college, think again. Your extracurricular activities are a very important factor that really can make a difference. Make sure to provide an impressive list of activities.

Include the number of hours per week, years of participation, and explain your role in these activities in detail. Even if you think that your hobby won’t be interesting for the admissions committee, they might have another opinion.

7. Using repurposed essays

When applying to many schools, it may be tempting to write one great essay to answer all the prompts. If you provide an essay that doesn’t perfectly fit a particular prompt and wasn’t written specifically for this school, you won’t be able to demonstrate interest. Your readers are also familiar with the prompts from other institutions so they will immediately spot such “recycled” essays.

8. Overusing thesaurus

Don’t use long and complex terms if you can say the same thing using simple words. Don’t be shy if you know some terms that will perfectly describe your ideas but don’t use them to impress your audience because the effect will be exactly the opposite. The admissions committee wants to hear your authentic voice.

9. Poor punctuation and grammar

If you’re a native English speaker, the admissions committee will expect you to demonstrate perfect knowledge of grammar and punctuation. You don’t want to give them any reasons to put your application in the “no” pile. Even if you think that punctuation and grammar are not as important as your knowledge of physics or math, the admissions committee will unlikely agree with you. If English is your second language, find a native speaker who can proofread your application and fix all the mistakes. You can also order professional proofreading on

10. Inadequate proofreading

This is another reason to put more effort into proofreading. If you rely solely on word processing programs and online spelling checkers, the result will be far from perfect.

Applying to college is a complex process. The content of your application is very important, so make sure to avoid these common mistakes and gain admission to the college of your dreams!

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