Misspellings and grammatical errors. Mistakes of this nature indicate sloppy proofreading or an inattention to detail. Both are frowned on by admission counselors, who expect applicants to put forth their very best effort.
“Always have someone review your college admission application and personal statement before submitting them to the college,” suggested Michelle Palumbo, assistant director of admission at Fontbonne University.
Lack of follow-through. When applying online, the college or university should send you a confirmation e-mail or web page response. If you do not receive this confirmation, it is your responsibility to contact the admission office and confirm that your application has been received.
Palumbo suggested, “Always reply back to correspondence from college officials, even if it is only a short e-mail to say, ‘Thank you. I received the information you sent.'” The college is keeping a correspondence file; you should, too.
Forgotten signatures/missing information. Make sure you sign and date the form and provide all requested supplemental information. Even if you apply online you may be requested to provide additional information by mail. Read the application carefully to know exactly what you are expected to send.
Not reading carefully. If the form asks what County you live in, don’t misread it as Country and write United States.
Stretching the truth. As you learned in kindergarten, honesty is always the best policy.
Omitting your school counselor from the process. Your counselor will be the person responsible for sending your high school transcript to the colleges of your choice and can be a good source of recommendations.
Illegible writing. First impressions count, so take your time and use your best handwriting. Block letters are preferred over flowing cursive. Letters of recommendation and personal essays should always be typed.
Using poor e-mail etiquette. Create a professional e-mail address, such as a combination of your last name and numbers (Jonston527@provider.com), and use it when corresponding with your college admission counselor. “Do not correspond with college officials as if you are writing a text message, even in casual e-mails,” Palumbo recommended.
Being careless with social media. “Colleges and universities may be checking your social media sites, or ‘googling’ you,” Palumbo advised. “You never know what is going to bias someone’s opinion, so be careful what you post online and keep tabs on what others post about you. Many college admission counselors use social media in their recruiting efforts. Remember, if you ‘friend’ me, I’m going to see what you post. Even if you do not ‘friend’ me, I might still learn a lot about you via second-hand information.”
Failing to check your e-mail. During the college admission process it is wise to check your e-mail daily so that crucial deadlines, or requests for information, are not missed.
Allowing your parent to fill out your application or write your essay. “Trust me, admission counselors know when the parent has done the work for the student,” Palumbo said.
The student should always be the one filling out the application, writing the essay and doing the rest of the work related to college admission, such as establishing a rapport with the admission counselor. Of course, that doesn’t mean Mom and Dad can’t be there to spell-check, proofread and discuss what is being sent.
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