Your college application is one of the most important events of your life. Deciding where to study, what to study, and how you will pay for it is quite a minefield and even though there’s tons of help online, there are many mistakes that are easy to make. Here are the most costly college admission mistakes.
1. Thinking That You Cannot Afford the Best Colleges
If you are good enough to possibly gain admission into the college then there is a good chance you are good enough to get a scholarship for a high achiever. Even if you apply for scholarship after scholarship, why not still consider a student loan? Debt companies are willing to lend money to students which does not have to be paid back until after they graduate--take advantage of this. If you are sure enough about your ability, there is no reason why you will fail, which means you will easily be able to pay back the debt when you get a job.
2. Focusing on a Very Narrow Field of Colleges
This is admirable but foolish in the same stroke. If you are single-minded, ruthless, and confident enough to go for just one college, then why not? With an attitude like that, you will probably get into any college you set your mind to. On the other hand, you may have to come to terms with the fact that you will not gain entry into that college. This leaves you with a few options. You can take a year off and try some other colleges next year, you can take a year off and get more qualifications so that the college that rejected you will accept you, or you can start by applying for lots of backup colleges--just in case your preferred one turns you down.
3. Not Going to the Interview
Not many colleges ask for an interview, but if yours does then you need to assume they have a good reason for it. Some of their admin staff may be on the fence about you, or they may have had a lot of applicants and want to “prune the dead leaves” (so to speak). This means that if you do not attend your interview that you automatically place your application in the rejected file.
4. Thinking That Colleges Want Good All-round Applicants
They consider a good all-rounder to be a perk, and not a requirement. If an applicant is good all-round then it is a sign of academic expertise, which is a good selling point for them. However, if you are applying for a degree in biology, and you aced your science exams, it won’t matter if you did poorly in English, French and geography, etc.
5. Thinking That There Are Too Many Applicants to do Background Checks on Them All
This may be true but it does not mean that you will not be checked. You need to be honest on your application about your past. You need to be forthright and show no sign of making an excuse. You may appear sorry, but must say what you have learnt from the situation. Mitigating factors and excuses will not be tolerated; you cannot make yourself a victim, and cannot try to hide your past.
6. Thinking That the Essay Has to Be Perfect
It does have to be good and well written, but perfection is not what the colleges are looking for. They are looking for people who are not going to drop out. They are looking for people who have the motivation and brains to do well in their college. They are looking for people who are not going to bring disgrace to the school. It is up to you to address all of these issues (without making it obvious that you are doing it). You must be aware of those colleges’ priorities, and pander to them, without appearing to pander to them.
7. Thinking That College Deadlines Are Flexible for the Best Applicants
This is not true for the simple fact that if you cannot get all of your application in on time, then what chance do you stand in getting your coursework in on time. There are too many applicants for the colleges to make such allowances.
8. Thinking They Won’t Check Your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN, Instagram, Etc
This is foolish because even though the colleges do not have the time to go through and background check everyone, they do have the time to check social media and to Google your name online. If you have assured them that you do not drink or smoke drugs, and have pictures of you with a beer bong in one hand and a smoke bong in the other, your application will go down the toilet.
9. Thinking That the Admin Staff Can Be Bribed
Although it is hard to prove, there are admin staff who have been bribed in the past, to allow questionable students into some of the best universities. However, the chances of it not getting you arrested are slim. There are few admin staff who are going to risk their high paying job and their credibility on taking a one-off bribe (even if you get a parent to do it). The risks will often outweigh the supposed benefits. Added to the fact that the administrator has no reason to trust you, and will probably pretend to be outraged, just in case it is a test from the institution.
10. Thinking That VIP Recommendations Matter More than They do
They do matter a lot, but only if they are from very important people. For example, Prince Harry in Britain got a recommendation to Eton by his dad Prince Charles, and his grandma the Queen. His recommendation must have mattered because he only came out of Eton with a B in art, and E in geography. So they do matter but other factors such as your academic achievements, past glories, essay, interview, enthusiasm and lack of criminal history, are going to play a much bigger role (unless you know the royal family).