Friday, January 14, 2011

Recovery from Common Application Mistakes

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The world is far from perfect and this extends to the college admissions process. A major mistake is not the end of the world. In order to move forward, it is best not to obsess over the mistake. Responding depends upon the nature of the mistake.

Top 5 Application Mistakes and what to do about them.

1) Late application submission- If you submit your Common Application after the deadline, you may be out of luck at very selective colleges. Still, it is worth a call to admissions to see if you have a chance. You may need to apply to some additional colleges so that you have options at the end of the process.

2) Late fee submission- This is less serious than late application submission but it still may knock you out of contention at the most selective colleges. Submit the money as soon as possible and write a note of apology.

3) Mixing up the name of the college you are applying to- Some college names are just similar enough to be confusing. In fact, I didn't have Dickinson, Davidson, and Denison straight in my mind until I visited all three liberal arts colleges in person. This mistake can really hurt you because colleges do have pride in their name. This mistake is most common in college supplements because they often ask you , "What attracted you to apply to this college?" You need to answer this with specific names and programs which can easily be confused. You may discover this type of mistake if you re-read your application after submission. You should consider applying to a few more colleges.

4) Incomplete application- You will only discover this mistake if you check with each college to make sure they have everything. Don't expect them to contact you. You should send an e-mail ASAP to every college admissions office on your list to make sure they have received your test scores, recommendations etc....

5) Failure to Visit- If you have not visited a selective college that is less than two hours from your home, you are putting yourself at risk for rejection. Why? Because many admission offices figure that you do not really want to attend if you don't visit and are only applying because the common application makes it so easy. The remedy for this is to visit right away before your application is considered. Even if you have to take a bus to get there, it is important to make the effort if you want your application to be taken seriously.