Keep an Eye Out for Common Mistakes When Reviewing Your Applications Before Hitting “Submit”
Early application deadlines are around the corner, and for students planning to apply to their top-choice colleges by November, it’s time to put the finishing touches on their applications. Students should take time to review their applications before submitting, but what should they be mindful of when proofreading their college apps?
It’s important to review your applications before submitting because common application mistakes can make an otherwise compelling applicant look a little disorganized or even not serious about the schools to which they are applying. The fear of submitting an application with spelling errors, lack of context, or even mentioning Yale in your Harvard supplement can keep students up at night. However, these mistakes can be easily avoided by taking the time to carefully review your applications before submission.
Here are a few things to look for when reviewing your college apps.
It may seem simple, but it’s not unusual for students to miss typos or incorrect information in the basic info section of their college applications. While it’s not the end of the world, it can be a pain to sort out if your name is spelled incorrectly, your address is wrong, or you input the incorrect information for your college counselor. Double check that everything is accurate – it never hurts to go back over those sections a time or two!
Spell check is not foolproof! One letter off and your “ability to assess” can become something entirely different and embarrassing! Your reliance on autocorrect can also turn your extracurricular activity in “tutoring” to “torturing.” Carefully read and re-read your essays and short answer responses in order to catch any typos, misspelled words, or grammatical errors. While one typo won’t derail your whole application, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that you submitted an application that’s free from simple errors.
When reviewing the separate elements of your application ask yourself, “does this give the reader any additional context?” Context is everything and can help admissions officers better understand who you are as a person and student. Did you have a grade dip one year because of an illness or issue at home? Do you work to help support your family, leaving you little time for extracurricular involvement? Give content to certain elements of your application that might send up some red flags to admissions officers. Use the additional information section of your application to explain certain circumstances that may have impacted your grades, courses, activities, and more.
Details, Details, Details!
We can’t stress enough the importance of tailoring your application to each school to which you are applying. While the Common App has the main essay portion, schools will often ask supplemental essay or short answer questions. Often these can be very similar, like the “why this college?” essay prompt. If you encounter similar essay questions in different supplements, it can be tempting to just copy and paste the same response multiple times. However, this doesn’t allow you to be specific and show details in your supplements. Mention specific courses, activities, landmarks, professors, and more in your supplements. Details also matter in your personal statement. Have you set the scene for the reader? Be descriptive and use details that can paint a complete picture of the story you are telling. If you read through your application and find those details are missing, work to add them in. A little detail can go a long way!
When reviewing your college apps before submitting, don’t be afraid to ask for a second pair of eyes! Ask if your parents, counselor, or even teacher can take a look over your application and catch any mistakes you may have missed. It never hurts to get a second opinion – especially if you’re applying in the highly competitive early applicant pool.
At IvyWise, we can be that second pair of eyes with our Application Review, where one of our expert counselors will review your Common App and one supplement and provide detailed feedback and recommendations. This is an especially beneficial service for early applicants, as it’s an opportunity to have a former admissions officer take one more look at the application to your top-choice school before you submit! Contact us today for more information on our Application Review service.