The college application process is something almost all people go through at one point in time. So it is very natural to find the most amount of advice pieces circulating on the Internet that revolve exclusively around this subject.
However, it is also commonsensical to observe that most of these articles address the issue of what you should do and not what you shouldn’t do. It is these little mistakes that can snowball their way down Mount College Admissions and come crashing down on your academic hopes and dreams:
1. Not reading directions: Universities have meticulously crafted paperwork (eg. application forms), in a sense that they list out all instructions without taking away from the brevity of these documents. Even then, college admissions staffers at a modest number of universities are annually driven to the point of insanity by silly typos and acute cases of thoughtlessness – applying as an international student even when you are, in fact, a domestic student, filling out information in tabs that don’t remotely apply to you and so forth. Reading instructions is thus made what is probably the biggest concern for college applicants.
2. Leaving things to the last minute: This is a big no-no, especially for students who may be toying with the idea of a gap year. After all, nobody with realistic academic perspectives would want to take a sabbatical and have nothing to show for it to colleges he/she might want to go to. Even for people preoccupied with school work, final exams and what not, it is inadvisable to leave things to the last minute, as this considerably increases the odds of leaving something essential out, or perhaps even missing an important deadline.
3. Letting your parents take the lead: I don’t know how things are done abroad, but if there’s one thing I can say about Indian parents in this context and in general, they will try to take the lead and dictate a large part of your application process, mostly because they feel they’re doing what is best for you.
While this is something I everybody all to appreciate every day of their lives, you have to make sure that you do not let your parents determine elements of your application that they might inadvertently misrepresent. You have to make sure that the voice in the application is yours, not anybody else’s, even if they may be the people who know you best (after you, of course).
4. Other common gaffes: To round things up, I feel that it is really important to throw some light on things like lack of proofreading, or repeating yourself. These mistakes, while almost always taken for granted, weigh down heavily on your chances to get into your dream college. So before you hit that SUBMIT button, make sure you leave yourself enough time to give your potential future those final little touches.
For any questions, contact the SAT Varsity team. And don’t forget to tune in later this month for more information on common college application mistakes and how to avoid them.