13 Haunting College Admissions Errors

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College admissions counselor Mandee Heller Adler, CEO of International College Counselors, treats college bound high school students with college admissions tips before Halloween.

International College Advisors

International College Counselors

Dracula, Drak, Vlad the Impaler. Students should only use their legal name when completing a college application.

Halloween, October 31st, is the night before the Early Decision and Early Action deadlines of many colleges and universities. Ghosts and witches are scary but a missed application deadline is absolutely terrifying.

High school students, take heed and avoid these nightmares:

1. Waiting until the deadline: Unseen spirits wreak havoc, computers and websites go down. Many students who wait for the last minute to submit their applications find that all their hard work is not received on time. Colleges and universities expect students to confirm that their complete application has been received. Students who wait until the last minute to submit everything have no time to follow up. Make sure that the application has been received or be afraid. Very afraid.

2. Repeating information again and again: Applications have only so much space. Make best use it. Make sure that every part of the application adds something to the story, and does not say it again.

3. Asking the wrong questions: Do not spook the admissions team or a college interviewer by asking for information that is easily found on the Internet. Good questions are the ones with answers that cannot be Googled or found on a college website. A treat for a counselor is to be asked what his or her favorite things are about the school. Do the research and ask thoughtful questions.

4. Choosing extracurricular quantity over quality: Pursue passions when not in school and boost the college application. Show consistency and commitment by choosing a few activities and sticking with them. Do more than the minimum required in each of those activities and take on leadership roles. Students with an idea of their career path (i.e. health care) should take part in at least one activity that demonstrates interest in the area (i.e. volunteering at a hospital).

5. Missing the curriculum requirements: Many schools have specific curriculum requirements for incoming freshmen. High school students who look into the course requirements too late risk not having the time to take them. Make sure all the required courses are taken before senior year. Start researching colleges as early as freshman or sophomore year.

6. Making sloppy mistakes: Bad luck can never be blamed for careless errors. Make sure the name of the college is correct on the application and in the essay. Do not leave any part of the application blank. Do not make grammatical errors or misspell words. Reread each application carefully, make sure all lines are filled in correctly, and have someone else proofread it, too.

7. Writing a less than great essay: Poorly written essays and generic essays will not trick colleges into sending an acceptance letter. Students need to show that they really want to attend a school. They also need to show that they are ready to attend. Essays give schools the opportunity to learn more about a student. And this is a chance for students to shine. Do not get tricked into thinking optional essays are optional. They are never optional. Take the time to provide a thoughtful answer.

8. Changing names: Penelope, Penny, Lope…or Dracula, Drak, Vlad the Impaler. Students should only use their legal name when completing a college application. Specifically request that counselors and teachers use the same name. Using variations of a legal name may result in materials being lost, misfiled, or credited to different people.

9. Asking the wrong recommenders for letters, or asking too late: Students should only ask for recommendations from teachers who like them and know them well enough to write about their particular strengths and specific abilities. Wait too long to ask, though, and students will find those teachers in a zombie-like state. Close to the deadline, many teachers get burnt out writing letters and students who waited may not get the thorough and thoughtful letters colleges want to see. Choose teachers early, talk with them, and provide them with information on each college/program being applied to.

10. Missing deadlines: The college admissions process is all about deadlines, and missing one can mean rejection or lost financial aid. Yes, there are dozens of dates to remember from application deadlines to financial aid to scholarship deadlines. Keeping track of them all is a student’s job. Miss them and be haunted forever.

11. Not demonstrating interest: To get on a college’s radar, students need to show that they are interested in attending the school. Fill out a request form for more information, connect with a school via social media, attend a college fair and check in, call or email an admissions officer, visit the campus, or do a number of these things. Schools track what students do.

12. Catching Senioritis: Do not get lazy during senior year. After 11 years of hard work, this is the final year, and colleges are watching. Keep up the grades and do not start taking easy classes. Most college acceptances are provisional, meaning the admissions team will review final transcripts after graduation. Do poorly and schools have a right to withdraw acceptance. Senioritis can be fatal.

13. Going the dishonest route: Do not lie on the college application. If a college finds out there will not be a ghost of a chance of getting in. Dishonesty discovered after an acceptance can lead to rescinded admissions.

Have a safe and boo-tiful Halloween!

Upcoming Events

Thursday, November 12 @ 7pm

Preparing for College: What to Look for and How to Get In!
Competition for acceptance to colleges and universities is at an all-time high. Parents and students in the 8th – 11th grades are invited to attend a special free seminar by Dr. Lourdes Martinez Cowgill that will provide real and practical answers to crucial questions about preparing for the college admissions process. Space is limited. Contact mira@3dlearner.com or 561-361-7495 to reserve a spot.

Location: 7100 W Camino Real, Suite 215, Boca Raton, FL 33433

About International College Counselors

The expert educational consultants at International College Counselors are dedicated to helping students and their families from across the country and all over the world find, apply to, and gain admission to the college of their dreams. Students and families who would like to learn how to successfully navigate the college admissions process, please contact our expert college advisors at info@internationalcollegecounselors.com or call 954-414-9986.

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