Tag Archives: applying to college

Avoiding Red Flags on Your College Application

Avoiding Red Flags

We’ve already talked about things college admission offices consider when reviewing applicants for enrollment.  Now let’s talk about how to avoid red flags on your application.  At many colleges and universities the admissions officers are only going to accept a small percentage of applicants and there are certain “red flags” that can get your application denied before they even finish reviewing it.

avoid red flags

Five Tips to Avoid Red Flags on your College Application

  1. Bad Grammar – If your college application is full of typos, bad grammar, and misspelled words that sends the admissions officer a red flag that you are not on the college level.  Be sure to use the proper word for common misuses such as to, two, and too as well as your and you’re.  Getting those wrong can get your application denied in a hurry.  On the flip side, a nice clean application with good grammar will get you headed in the right direction.  It’s also important to use good penmanship.  It gives off a vibe of professionalism and dignity.
  2. Exaggerated Extracurricular Activities – As we mentioned in the previous post, listing all of the organizations, clubs, community programs, etc. you belong to is a great idea, but make sure you are telling the truth.  Many colleges and universities will do their due diligence and check out your list.  If they find out you exaggerated and you are not as involved as you claim to be, your application could get denied based on honesty alone.
  3. Negative Social Media – If you have a Facebook account, Twitter account, etc. make sure your pages and pictures are clean.  If the admissions officer looks you up and sees a lot of foul language or pictures of your partying all the time they will take that into consideration.  On the flip side you can make yourself look good with clean, respectable accounts and pictures of you doing community service, going to church, etc.
  4. Bad References – When you list references on your college application you need to make sure that the people you list actually know you and that they will actually give you a good recommendation if they are called upon.  If a college admissions officer calls one of your references and they say they don’t know who you are, or if they say something negative about your character, you can consider your application denied immediately.  There is no bigger red flag than that.
  5. Incomplete Application – Make sure you fill out your college application completely.  Take the time to answer every question and spend an ample amount of time on any essay questions asked.  If you fly through the application and skip questions or give short, simple answers the admissions officer won’t take you seriously.

There are certainly other red flags, but these are the major ones you should easily be able to avoid just by taking your time and using common sense.  I hope this helps when you’re filling out your next application for enrollment.  Good luck!

What Colleges Look for in an Applicant

We’ve already been telling you which colleges are the easiest to get into, so now let’s take a close look at what colleges actually look for in applicants.  Here are the main things most colleges will consider when you apply for enrollment:

what colleges look for

  1. Your test scores – most colleges take a good hard look at your standardized test scores such as the ACT and SAT tests.  If you are hoping for a scholarship your scores need to be on the high end.  If you are just hoping to get into the college then your scores need to be in the middle of the pack or higher.  If your scores are toward the bottom you’d better hope the admissions office likes other things on your application and those other factors carry enough weight to get you in.
  2. Your grades – much like your standardized test scores, college admissions decision makers will look at your grade point average as a good indicator of your future success at the college level.
  3. Your high school classes – the admissions office will look at which classes you took in high school.  A lot can be determined based off of your class schedule strength.  For example, were you taking easy classes or AP (advanced placement classes) and how well did you perform in those classes?  It definitely matters, and it matters a lot more today than it did 10 or 15 years ago.
  4. Community Involvement – are you a leader?  Did you do any volunteering?  Showing community service is a great way to show character and attitude and give you an edge on a college application.
  5. Extracurricular Activities – do you play sports, are you in any clubs?  Showing you are well rounded will also give you an edge with the decision makers at the admissions office.
  6. References – If you can get letters of recommendation from your teachers, councelors, principal, community leaders, or professionals in your field of study that can also go a long way in providing you with an edge.
  7. Your application itself – You should present yourself well, by making sure you answer everything asked and you have good grammar and good punctuation.  Showcase a good vocabulary.  If you have to come in for an interview dress nice, be well groomed, and always smile.  Those things can go a long way.

I hope these tips help.  Being educated on what colleges are looking for will give you an edge on getting accepted.