Top 5 Dumbest College Application Mistakes

College application season is a stressful time for both students and parents. In fact, the pressure to  meet deadlines and apply to multiple colleges can cause a lot of students to make silly mistakes on their college applications. These mistakes can have costly consequences.

Unfortunately, once those applications are dropped in the mailbox or the “submit” button is clicked online, there’s not much that can be done about it.

Since we’re in the heart of college application season, I thought I’d share the Top 5 Dumbest College Application Mistakes with all of you. You should avoid these at all costs!

  • Spelling & Grammatical Errors

In an effort to get those applications off in a hurry, a lot of times students forget to proofread their application. Don’t miss this important step! After you’ve reviewed your application a couple times, have someone else take a look at it to make sure that there are no spelling and grammatical errors.

Also, when writing that college admissions essay, keep in mind that spell check doesn’t always pick up everything! You’ll want to have someone else proofread your essay as well.

  • Not Following Directions

If you are applying to colleges online, it can be easy to mis-read the directions or select the wrong drop down menu. After filling out so many applications, all the questions can start to look the same. However, it’s important that you take the time to carefully read the directions on each application.

While most applications tend to be somewhat similar, there are oftentimes some slight differences. You could miss these slight differences if you are not paying attention!

  • Missed Deadlines

As I discussed in my post: How long does it take to get accepted into college, there are various admissions deadlines. Some schools accept applications on a rolling (or continuous) basis, other schools have regular admission deadlines, while other schools have early action/decision admissions programs – it just varies by school.

If you aren’t paying close attention to these specific deadlines, you could jeopardize your chance at getting admitted to the school of your choice!

  • Providing False Information

Don’t lie in your college application; It will come back to haunt you later! If you did not actively participate in a particular club or organization in high school, then do not list it on your college application! If you did not overcome a life threatening illness during high school, then don’t write about it as one of your college essay topics!

Any contradictory information that you include in your college application will get noticed by the admissions committee and ruin your shot at getting accepted into college!

  • Forgetting Supplemental Information

There are several parts to a college application, so it can be easy to forget a section or two. In addition to the application itself, most colleges require you to submit a lot of supplemental information – your transcripts, standardized test scores, recommendation letters, additional essays, AP test scores, etc. All of this information needs to be included in your application packet in order for your application to be considered complete.

If your application is not “complete,” it WILL NOT be reviewed by the college admissions committee. Check out my college application checklist to make sure you have all of the required application materials before submitting your college applications.

Most of these dumb mistakes are due to carelessness. Students who fail to plan ahead, are typically rushing to complete their applications and forget to pay attention to the details.

The college application process requires a considerable amount of time and effort. If you submit a great college application that is free of the errors I’ve identified above, you will maximize your chances at getting into the college of your choice.

Good luck! If you have any other college application suggestions, please leave them in the comments section below!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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