Ever heard of the saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover”? Forget those wise words for the duration of your college admission process. Because you are going to be judged based on what you put down in your college application forms. And this may come to affect the rest of your life.
College application is more than just a piece of paper for any college aspirant. Think about it – the admissions officers don’t know you personally, and yet they get to decide the fate of your life based on your college application. So the question is, how can you make sure you stand out? Well, that will take a much longer discussion. The even more important question is, how can you make sure your college application doesn’t immediately end up in the rejection pile?
Don’t worry, we are here to help you with that.
10+1 Mistakes to Avoid While Filling-out College Application
Not Researching the College You’re Applying To
This may sound silly and you may think, “How can someone, not research about the college they are applying to?” But it is more common than you think, especially when you’re filling out multiple college applications at the same time. And nine out of ten admission officers can easily figure out whether you’ve done your homework or not.
Your college application is not just a way for the college to get to know you, but also a chance for you to show that you are well versed in the institute too. And I don’t just mean knowing the college motto or color or slogan of their sports team (that’s the bare minimum). But being aware of the history of the institution – what they stand for, what they have achieved, what are their current areas of focus in academic research, what is it about the college that appeals to you. If you can work this information into your college application, you can be sure it will be worth a second look.
Using Unprofessional Email Address
There’s no need to be embarrassed – we have all been there, we have been guilty of having a weird email address at some point. But starting your college application with an email address that you created in 6th grade doesn’t sound very professional, does it? I mean, do you want to be remembered as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com?
Better create a separate account, preferably using your name and/or initials before you start the college admission process, don’t you think?
Not Reading the Prospectus and Application Instructions Carefully
When was the last time you read an instruction manual of anything really, instead of throwing it out with the packaging? Can’t remember? Me neither. But sadly, doing the same when it comes to college applications can have serious repercussions.
Getting into a college in this day and age is hard. It’s not just about having high scores, or even extra-curricular activities or volunteering experiences anymore. Colleges nowadays go for out-of-the-box unique applications. In such a scenario, do you want to get rejected based on some minor mistake – like uploading the photograph in the wrong size or missing out on some additional requirement that could have been easily done if you only had read the prospectus carefully? So be smart about your college applications, read the instructions thoroughly and cross-check before you send them out.
Missing Vital Details from your Personal Statement
Have you heard of the saying, “Eyes are the window to the soul”? Much like that your personal statement is the gateway for admission officers to get a real impression of you. So you can imagine how important it is for you to put down all the details that will elevate your college application and give you even the slightest edge over others.
Don’t shy away from providing the details of your school life, your interests, and your volunteer and professional experience. Every bit of information that you can provide in your personal statement will help the admission officers to judge how you can be an ideal match for the institution.
Giving Too Much Information
I know it sounds contradictory to the abovementioned tip, but it is still something that you need to keep in mind. While providing detailed information about yourself in your personal statement in a college application is by definition what you should do. But there is a thing as too much information. College admission officers want to know you but do not need to be privy to every aspect of your life. It is a fine line that you have to tread, presenting yourself without giving everything away. And for heaven’s sake, don’t provide compromising information!
Blending-in Instead of Standing Out
Did you know that the number of students scoring 95% or above marks in 12th grade has increased by 314% between 2016 and 2020? At the same time, the acceptance rate of top colleges both within India and abroad is steadily declining every passing year. The acceptance rate in institutes like AIIMS and IIMs is 1%, for IITs is 2% as is for St. Stephen’s College, and top Ivy League colleges, it is less than 5%.
As is the scenario, one can never expect to get in just based on high marks or GPA – you also need a strong profile!
Check your profile strength to know where you need to focus to get admission into a top University.
Even extra-curricular activities and volunteer experiences are worth much less than what they were 5 years ago. Don’t get me wrong, they are very much required, but colleges today also need something extra.
So think about what it is that makes you different, what unique quality you bring to the table, and put that down in your college application. Don’t be shy! Stand out instead of trying to blend in with the hundreds and thousands of other applications. You can check our Profile Building Program to help you craft your unique college application.
Okay, once again it may sound contradictory after I have spent the entire article asking you to make your college application stand out, but bear with me. There is a huge difference between making yourself stand out and being narcissistic. The first one will impress the admission officers, the latter will put them off completely.
There are many ways of talking about yourself without being rude or sounding like the world revolves around you. Be humble. Be genuine. Don’t try to show off. And do be careful of how many times you use ‘I’ in your college application.
Submitting Boring Cookie Cutter Essays
Imagine yourself to be in the shoes of the admission officer who has spent his/her entire day reading one cliché essay after the other. And voila! You suddenly find an essay that not only deviates from the usual topics but is also humorous and refreshing to read. Which application will you choose?
When it comes to essays for college applications, there is no such thing as ‘one-size-fit’. Don’t write one generic essay and use them for all your college applications. (Most colleges have their ways of fishing that secret out). Don’t write about your accomplishments, you have that covered in your personal statements. Don’t be pedantic or use jargon-y words. In other words – don’t be boring!
Not Proofreading Your College Application Before Sending Them Out
After all the hard work you put into filling out the college applications, do you really want to be defeated by an oxford comma? No, right? Because oxford commas can be vicious. Very important, but vicious. And so are all other punctuations, grammar, and correct spellings. I mean, can you imagine using the metric system or RP spellings in a college application for the US. Even if everything is correct, the admission officer may end up thinking you don’t know how to spell color (colour).
So proofreading your college application is the second most important thing to do. (First, you need to fill them out I suppose). Once you’ve done it for your own, make someone else proofread it for you as well. Don’t send them out without having gone through every word and every sentence with a fine-tooth comb.
I know getting into the right college is a defining moment for your career and future. And I have not been easy on you throughout this article, pointing that out over and over again. But there is no need to be nervous. This list of tips is only there to help you out. Don’t overthink about every step of the process. At the risk of sounding cliché – just be yourself!
DON’T Shy Away from Asking for Help
As a student, at that age, it may feel like it’s you against the world. But nothing could be further away from the truth. So don’t be afraid of asking for help when it comes to college applications. You can talk to your teachers, your parents, friends or seniors who have been through it all before. You can contact the college admission offices, or seek help from a professional counsellor. If you need it, there are many avenues open to give you the information you need to put together an excellent college application and get admission into the college of your dreams.
Go the Extra Mile with Univariety
Aspiring for studying abroad in universities and colleges of international reputation is a worthy dream. But there’s no denying that the process is long and complicated. When it comes to studying abroad, college application is a secondary, even tertiary concern. The first step is finalizing the course, college, and country of choice. Then there is academic requirements and visa requirements. As I said, it can be a long, complicated process.
But we at Univariety, have tried our best to make it easy for you with our GEM – Go the Extra Mile program. With the help of an expert counsellor, we will help you guide through the entire process, from pre-application to the moment you step in through the gate of the college of your dream.
What are you waiting for? Get our expert help today!
Good Article & Insights.