College Help: Application Mistakes

Too many teens take the college application process lightly and don’t pay attention to detail. At the other end, there are also teens (and parents) who are obsessive about the process. To avoid their common mistakes, check out this list:

 Don’t go crazy over “expressed interest.” It’s good to research colleges and ask questions, but constant calls/emails can get annoying. Also, don’t try to bribe admissions officers with packages of cookies or other gifts. It just makes you look desperate!

 Be aware of what you put on Facebook. You never know if an admissions officer will look at one of your social networking sites. There have also been cases where ex-friends have sent anonymous emails to colleges suggesting they look at Facebook. And if they find that embarrassing picture you took with your friends during Spring Break last year, your chances of acceptance may be down the drain.

 Get yourself a normal email address. We’ve all had them—dumb, middle-school email addresses like iheartchocolate@hotmail.com or baseballfreak@yahoo.com. Just get rid of it and make yourself a new email account using your actual name so that colleges don’t have to know about your weird 6th grade obsessions.

 Don’t overload or lie about your activities list. It’s okay to only have a few activities if they are good ones that you really care about! You don’t have to list that Pokemon Club you led in 8th grade or that you lift weights in the gym after school. Only include things that really count.

 Don’t use your essays to brag about your grades. Colleges don’t want to hear it. They can already see that you have a 4.0—the essay is supposed to show more about your personality (which is hopefully not arrogant), not just your academic accomplishments.

 Don’t be rude or dumb on a college visit. Yes, they can figure out who you are, and they just might remember that you interrupted the tour with a noisy phone call or that you were wearing a sweatshirt from a rival college.

 Don’t let your parents take over. Hovering parents are annoying, and colleges will not like it if they try to hang out at your interview or if it sounds like your essay was written by a 45-year-old.

 Proofread, write legibly, and don’t use silly abbreviations. Whether your application is on paper or online, spelling is very important. Multiple misspellings will either suggest that you don’t care or that you are a bad speller. Bad handwriting is also a pet peeve for admissions officers, as are texting abbreviations like LOL or OMG. Most of all, don’t accidentally put College A’s name where it should say College B.

By avoiding mistakes like these, you give yourself a much better chance at acceptance. For more mistakes, check out

ACT: Top 10 College Application Mistakes

Forbes.com: 10 Costly Mistakes

Well, this is the end of the College Help series for now. Feel free to look at past posts as you are finishing your applications, and check back in a couple months for help with Financial Aid forms. Good luck!

Post by Callan, teen blogger

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