Tips From Experts On What To Avoid When Filling Out Your College Application

September 27, 2013
September 27, 2013 ACS

U.S. News recently ran an article asking a number of “experts” from around the country about specific mistakes high school seniors make on their applications that college admissions staff “red flag.”

The following is a compilation of what students should avoid.

Robert Barkley, Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Clemson University said an important thing is to not neglect reading all of the directions on the application. “We have a place on our application that is marked clearly for international students. But we have gotten applications from American students who have not read that, and where it asks, ‘Do you have a visa?’ they say yes. And when it asks what kind, we’re expecting to see an F1 or J2, something administered by the government. In one case, we got Bank of America. And where we asked for the number of the visa, we got a credit card number. We were not impressed.”

Butler University vice president for enrollment management Tom Weede focused on avoiding letting parents take the lead. “It doesn’t tell us that a student is interested if we get 15 phone calls from mom. Some parents are annoying–we get that. We try not to hold it against the student, as long as he or she has played the role in the process. We want families involved. But the student needs to take the lead.”

Dean of admission and financial aid Leigh A. Weisenburger, from Bates College said to stay away from submitting a lengthy resume. “At my stage in my career, I shouldn’t have a three-page resume. So no 17-year-old should be submitting a three-page resume. I know many college counselors encourage students to write one as a process to help the kid recognize all she’s accomplished, but we don’t need to see it if you’ve filled out the application properly. It just rubs me the wrong way when students submit a resume rather that filling out the activity portion of the application.

Debra Chermonte, dean of admissions and financial aid at Oberlin College says to avoid hitting that “submit” button without proofreading. “Using spell-check isn’t enough–you have to proofread. Julie Taymor, who wrote and directed The Lion King is a graduate of Oberlin, and we had a student who was really passionate about [Taymor’s] work and wrote a really well-done essay about it. But she neglected to proof it, and throughout she referred to the musical as The Loin King. She didn’t get in. It wasn’t just because of that; it didn’t help, though. It was a really good essay, but that just put the pause button on it.”

Washington University in St. Louis director of undergraduate admissions Julie Shimabukuro said students should not wait until the last minute. “Many students who submit on the date of the deadline assume that everything transmitted and was received. But sometimes things are lost in cyberspace.”

So the main thing to remember is to be careful and thorough throughout the entire application process. If you need help or have questions in filling out your college applications, please give us a call and set up an appointment so something like this doesn’t happen to your application.





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