follow instructions to reduce college application errors

Posted : September 10, 2009
Last Updated : September 16, 2015

follow instructions to reduce college application errors

Of the top mistakes most often made on college applications, many can be attributed to not following instructions or working too quickly. Planning ahead and taking the proper amount of time to complete all documents will help ensure that you submit error-free applications.

Plan ahead. No one wants to be under pressure to complete such important documents at the last minute. Look at college application deadlines and then figure out the amount of time it will take to complete the applications. Schedule time to work on them and if mailing an application, be sure to allow time for it to arrive before the deadline.

Read instructions. When filling out your college applications, take time to carefully read the instructions. If an application requires a 500 word essay, don't write an essay with 1,000 words. If you are submitting a paper version instead of applying online and the instructions say to use black ink, don't use a pen with green ink. If you can't follow application instructions, do you really think admissions officers will want to admit you to their school?

Make sure school details are correct. This may sound like a no-brainer, but be sure that if you mention the name of the school in your essay or other materials, you have named the correct school. Admissions officers understand that students recycle portions of their work among all of their applications, but declaring that you have "wanted to attend <insert rival school's name here> your whole life" isn’t going to convince the reviewer of your sincerity.

Proofread. After you have completed applications, don't forget to review them for any mistakes. Setting aside time to focus on each document can help eliminate errors, such as misspellings, and will allow each form to be checked for completion, ensuring that they are signed and dated properly.

Check for accuracy. Be truthful about your activities and the extent of your involvement. Don't include any activities in which you are not involved just to try and make yourself look better in the eyes of the admissions officers.

Ensure that all required documents are submitted. As a student, you are responsible for following your high school's policy for requesting transcripts and letters of recommendation. Work with the personnel at your high school to ensure that all required documents are submitted in a timely manner, including:

  • Official transcripts
  • Standardized test scores
  • Secondary school report forms
  • Mid-year report forms
  • Letters of recommendation

Make a professional impression. Consider setting up a separate e-mail account for your college (and scholarship) applications and related communication. Choose an address that is professional and avoid using nicknames or slang terms. Remember, just as you're looking for the right fit in a college, schools are looking for students who will represent them well.

College applications represent you to admissions officers, so give yourself the best chances of acceptance by taking your time and completing all parts of the application fully.

Source: ACT's News You Can Use


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follow instructions to reduce college application errors

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