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5 Common Application Mistakes to Avoid When Applying to College
The Common App supports first-time college applicants by creating one profile and sharing it with the many colleges a student chooses to apply to. Although the process is simplified, it’s important to understand the most common mistakes that can happen along the way.
The common app essay is the main writing sample that is sent to all the colleges you apply to. It is a chance for you to share information with colleges about who you are, not just what you do. Applicants choose one out of seven prompts provide by the common app and are given no limitations on how you can answer them aside from a 250-650 word count limit.
Here are the most common mistakes of the essay that you should avoid
Submitting a statement that does not answer one of the essay prompts
Using direct statement instead of storytelling
Forgetting to proofread
Boasting about your experiences
Overcomplicating the language
Pro Tip: Write your essay in a separate word document, review it thoroughly and copy and paste it into the common app when you are done.
Although the common app allows you to apply to many universities in one place, each one sets its own deadlines. To avoid missing any important deadlines it is always a good idea to stay organized and make a list of the schools you are applying to with their respective deadlines (you can also set a reminder in your calendar to be safe)!
Sending Supplementary Essays to The Wrong Schools
Different universities require different essay prompts as a part of their individual applications. Students often either mix up the essays and send them to the wrong schools, or personalize an essay for a university and re-use it without remembering to take out the university name or details. It is important to change the name of the university, mascot, colors, or any other personalized information you write. To avoid sending in the wrong essays, make sure to keep your documents organized and clearly labeled.
Being Vague about your Extracurricular Activities
Your extracurricular activities are one of the greatest ways to stand out while applying to college. They help show institutions what you are passionate about and how you spend your time outside the classroom. Extracurricular activities also help universities see character traits that they would look for in incoming students. Many students will vaguely describe the activity rather than making a compelling statement on the tasks you were responsible for, the leadership qualities it required, or the dedication you put in. The Common App allows applicants to list 10 extracurricular activities - we recommend choosing a diverse set of involvement to showcase different qualities you possess.
Last on the list, but it should go without saying, the Common App should contain honest and truthful information about you. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is submitting false information like class rank, test scores, or position in a student organization. When universities uncover any inconsistent information it could put your entire admission decision at risk.