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Top 5 College Application Mistakes

When you’re applying to colleges, it’s important to know the most common application mistakes, and how you can prevent these simple errors. In fact, these common admissions application mistakes can make your test scores and hard work in school less relevant. Knowing these mistakes can make your application perfect and won’t get you rejected from your top college.

Most Common College Application Mistakes:

(1) Forgetting Spell-check. This is by far the most common mistake students make. You should have someone you know read your essays and applications, and at the very least (which takes two seconds) select “spell check” on Microsoft Word when completing your application. This could literally save your application as admissions officers don’t like to see typos and simple errors. Remember, the application is a reflection on your entire high school career.

(2) Entering the wrong college “CEEB” information. When you’re applying to colleges, you should know the correct “College Entrance Examination Board” or “CEEB” code number. This number is assigned by the College Board to any college you’re applying to. Don’t mess this number up! If you assume that a college’s CEEB code is correct, double-check. Many SAT scores are not received each year because student’s incorrectly put the wrong CEEB code.

(3) GPA (weighted v. unweighted). The difference between your weighted and unweighted GPA can be significant. The weighted GPA is what carries more significance, particularly because it means you have taken harder courses in high school. Know the difference between a weighted and unweighted GPA. The weighted GPA means that AP and honors courses are assigned higher values compared with the unweighted GPA, which means a GPA that is based on “normal” course work. If you mess up this calculation, the college admissions offices could reject your application. So be careful not to confuse the two concepts. Your high school should clearly note these on your transcript they provide.

(4) Extracurricular activities. On the new Common Application, you are given an option to enter 12 extracurricular activities. Be careful not to put too many here! Fewer extracurricular activities is sometimes better. Also, if you enter too many extracurricular activities on the common application, there’s a good chance a “red flag” might be raised by the admissions officers. What this means is that an admissions committee could either doubt that you actually completed that many extracurriculars or believe you’re exaggerating. Remember, there’s a fixed number of hours in any week – whether academic or not – and if you suggest in your common application that you’re doing close to 25 to 40 hours in extracurriculars, that work will come into question. Less is sometimes better. Think quality over quantity.

(5) SAT and ACT score self-reporting. On the common application, you’re asked to self-report your SAT/ACT scores. Be careful you get the dates, scores and subjects correct. Any mishap here can cause a serious red-flag, and your application will be tagged by the admissions committees. Now that the SAT is based on score-choice, you can select which scores you want to report. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include the proper scores. Your SAT and ACT scores need to be accurate, along with your entire college application.

I hope this information helps you as you begin to apply to colleges and universities. If you need help with college admissions counseling or with admissions experts, give us a call today at (800) 501-7737 or fill out our contact form.

Best regards,

Ross Blankenship
Founder, Top Test Prep
Admissions Expert

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