On paper, most applicants appear very similar. All are well qualifed academically with high grades and test scores and solid involvement in extracurricular activities.
By MariIvyWise Master Admissions Counselor Just as there is no one path to getting admitted to a particular school, there is no one reason that applicants get rejected. That may sound nerve-wracking, but the good news is you can easily avoid these mistakes, giving your application a better chance in the competitive game of selective college admissions.
As a former admissions officer at MIThere are some common mistakes I saw frequently that can be easily avoided: Leaving out vital personal details: Yes, it is true; context is everything in the admissions process. Applicants from low socio-economic backgrounds, or whose parents did not attend college are measured with a different yardstick than affluent applicants who have had numerous opportunities for personal and academic growth and exploration.
But context is much more nuanced than socio-economic circumstances alone. Maybe you have a learning disability or physical handicap, or a parent has an addiction problem that has wreaked havoc in your nuclear family, or your parents practice a type of religion that sheltered you from mainstream culture, or you are an ethnic or cultural minority in your context or in the applicant pool for the college to which you are applying.
Reflect on your circumstances and try to see it from an objective point of view: What is your community like? What kind of home life do you have?
What family responsibilities do you shoulder? Then, let colleges know. Help the admissions committee to imagine you in your context, in as full and rich a way as possible. Applicants who leave out this vital personal backstory often lose out in the admissions game. If the earth revolves around you, you might be looking at a lot of rejection letters in the end.
Do you give credit to teachers, mentors, bosses, and others who have shepherded you along the way, or did you do it all by your amazing self? Have you thought about what you can contribute to make the world a better place, or are you only concerned about what others and colleges can do for you?
You get the picture.
Also, be careful how you write about your high school teachers, administrators, and classmates. Of course, schools read applications contextually—for students who are first in their family even to graduate high school, going to a premier college and getting a well-paying, white-collar job IS ambitious.
Readers know this and adjust their thinking accordingly. Lack of familiarity with school: Most schools use some sort of admissions rubric to normalize their applicant pool. Some schools factor the amount of interest an applicant seems to have for the school—i.
All schools want to admit students who genuinely know and like the school and might actually attend if admitted. Your essay should be full of specific details about the academic programs and student activities that attract you to the school and how you would contribute to the school community.
Each of us has a dark side—we have personality flaws and the emotional baggage that accumulates simply from living in an imperfect world. The application is a place to celebrate the other side, your best self.
Also avoid the other type of TMI: In general, application readers have a TON of stuff to read in a very short window of time.
You are what you do! For anyone who still thinks perfect grades and SAT scores get you into highly selective colleges in the US, think again! What you do outside of the formal classroom—your extracurricular activities—is one of the most important things that separates merely qualified applicants from desirable ones.College essays are hard to write.
We hear you! Collegebasics offers several articles to help you get off to a good start—at least a start–, but, here are some things you need to do to avoid common college essay mistakes.. Read the whole application. You may ask why.
The answer is some colleges require you to write multiple essays, beyond the Common Application’s personal essay, and if. Watch video · Your essay can make or break your college application, so sidestep these common blunders.
Not sure what makes bad college essays fail? This guide explains the common pitfalls students face and which college essay topics to avoid. For the application cycle, the Common Application essay prompts remain unchanged from the cycle.
With the inclusion of the "Topic of Your Choice" option, you have the opportunity to write about anything you want to share with the folks in the admissions office. As each week crawls closer to the January 1 college essay deadline, those students who have not yet begun the process are feeling the stress.
And as a professional essay editor, I’m in crunch mode too, helping students avoid the common mistakes I see over and over again. The Most Common Mistakes Students Make in Their College Essays The admissions essay is a crucial part of your college application because it is the only chance you have to communicate with admissions officers in your own voice.