Sometimes small mistakes can have huge consequences.

Did you know that the Hubble Telescope first launched into space with a measurement flaw in it’s mirror of only 4 microns? To fix that tiny flaw (smaller than the width of a human hair) NASA had to spend a few billion dollars.

Applying to college isn’t rocket science, but it’s still complicated. What’s worse, most hopeful college-goers are left to figure it out all on their own. There’s got to be a better way!  In fact, there is -- applying in person to college can help you avoid the little mistakes that cause big nightmares.  Here’s how.

You enter the wrong GPA

Sounds crazy? It happens. Even if the GPA question doesn’t get you, there are plenty of questions on a college app that can be confusing. What do they mean by “student type?” What if you transferred high schools and how they calculate GPA was different?

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Apply in person so an actual human can answer the question, “am I doing this right?” No second-guessing, no post-submit anxiety, no digging through “how-to” and “FAQ” pages. Just actual, immediate answers.

You forgot your transcript

Whoops. And you were sure you hit upload. Worse than forgetting it all together: uploading the wrong file. At least the admissions officer will have a fun surprise when they open a word doc full of GIFs of Adventure Time and Ariana Grande. Why would you even have that on your desktop?!

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Apply in person and an admissions officer can immediately tell you if your transcript, or anything else, got left out of your application by accident.

Your essay makes you sound bland

Even when you follow the best essay writing advice, it can be difficult to really express yourself in 400 words or less. And what if your answer to “Where is Waldo, Really?” doesn’t actually express a single thing about who you are or why you want to go to college? (Yes, that was an actual essay prompt at University of Chicago.)

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Some schools and programs give an interview instead of asking for an essay.  That should be welcome news to anyone out there who happens to have a personality bigger than what can be written in just a few short paragraphs.

You missed the deadline

There is nothing worse than putting your blood, sweat, and tears into your application -- crafting a beautiful essay, making sure every little demographic box is filled out perfectly -- only to realize that your pursuit of perfection actually made you miss the deadline.  Or alternatively, accidentally putting it off for just a few days too long.

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One major advantage to applying in person: you know exactly when it is, and when it will be over. You can’t put off going to an event, you actually have to be there. Sometimes applying in person can get you a faster decision from the school.

The American Honors program allows students to apply to college in person.  You can find out if there's an application event for a college near you at our Facebook Event page. 

Authored by Jared Meyer

Jared specializes in communication in higher education. He writes about getting into college and succeeding once you're there. He's the editor of the American Honors Blog.