Preparing For College Admissions
The college admissions process can be an overwhelming experience for new students and a “wake up call” for the life changing step from high school to college. The first thing to consider is admissions requirements. Each college has different requirements for who they admit to enroll at their school. Admission requirements commonly factor in test scores, grade point average, and prep courses. It’s important to know the requirements and make sure you meet all the requirements before applying for enrollment.
The second thing to consider is the college application. You want to set yourself apart from the pack when filling out a college application. College applications often include essays, letters of recommendation, portfolios of work, and interviews. Essays are critical to your application. Essays let the decision makers at the enrollment office know why you are interested in attending their college and if you are the type of person and the type of student they want to allow in. When writing your essays be sure to include any good works you have done such as volunteer work and any clubs and extra-curricular activities in which you participate. Try to represent yourself as a very well rounded individual who is actively involved in your community.
Letters of recommendation are very important as well. You can’t control what people say about you in their letters, but you can control who you ask. Be smart when making the decision of which people to ask for letters of recommendation. Only ask those people who will help your cause and say good things about you, and make sure those people have good written communication skills and good grammar.
On campus interviews are a great opportunity to win over the decision makers of the schools. Not all colleges offer campus interviews, so if the college you are applying to does you need to take advantage of the situation. Generally speaking the campus interview is not the biggest factor, but it could be your opportunity to tip the scales in your favor. Speaking in a one-on-one environment is your chance to make a great impression and provide the interviewer additional information about yourself that may have been left out of your application. Present yourself as confident and competent as well as humble and respectful.
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.
Five Tips to Avoid Red Flags on your College Application
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!