If you or your child is currently in the process of applying to a variety of colleges, you need to know what mistakes to avoid. Here is a list of commonly reported goof-ups in the admissions process.
Two of the main mistakes that an admissions office will notice are misspellings and grammatical errors. An application is one of the first impressions that a school will receive about a student, and careless errors are not a good reflection on your work ethics. If a student won't proofread an application for errors, how are they going to perform as a student? Worst of all, some students have even made a spelling mistake when listing their major.
Make sure that the student reads the application carefully and follows instructions exactly as they are written. Mistaking the word "county" for the word "country" can cause an embarrassing error. As a courtesy to the admissions office, make sure that your son or daughter practices their best handwriting on the application. Illegibility won't leave a good first impression, and it is likely to get your child a rejection letter.
Always check the standard academic requirements of a college. While there are a few factors involved when trying to gain admission, the most important factor is classroom performance. Too many students make the mistake of not spending enough time on college preparatory classes. Make sure that the bases have been covered by choosing college-prep or advanced placement classes instead of study hall.
When researching schools, make sure that your son or daughter uses all available resources. From alumni and guidance counselors to school guides and DVD's, there is an abundance of information on schools around the country. Talk to financial aid officers for specifics on the admissions process. They will help your child create a timetable for their application process, and they may even help your student choose the school that's best for them.
Another common mistake is to choose a school without taking a tour. Any college or university will be happy to show prospective students what they have to offer, and it's critical for your child to see campus life firsthand. The right school in theory may not be the right school in reality. School websites alone are not a substitute for a campus visit.
The big name colleges have extremely high academic standards, and most that apply are turned down. Many smaller colleges offer an education equal to the big names at a fraction of the cost.
Speaking of price, keep in mind that the "sticker price" isn't necessarily their final offer. When financial aid packages are taken into consideration, pricing will change completely. What if your family makes too much money for government aid? Two-thirds of current students receive some form of financial aid. Merit-based scholarships and community grants make financial assistance available, even for families with high incomes.