If you’re putting the final touches on your college applications, now’s a great time to double-check to make sure you’re doing everything right. Cutting corners can cost you that coveted acceptance letter.
Here are 7 of the biggest mistakes to avoid.
1) Use an Inappropriate Email Address
Hopefully your current email address doesn’t reflect your sense of humor when you were in middle school. There are lots of places in your application where you’ll want to stand out and be memorable, your email address isn’t one of them. Present yourself the way you’d want to be considered: seriously.
Read: Applying to College? Clean Up Your Social Media
2) Ignore the Directions
Read the questions carefully and make sure you’re actually answering what they’re asking. The only thing worse than ignoring a question is giving an answer that shows you’re not paying attention.
3) Let Your Parents Do It
Even if mom and dad offer to do it for you, it’s important that you do it yourself. It’s okay to have them help, but the application needs to come from you. Admissions committees spend all days reading applications, they’ll be able to tell if your mom wrote yours.
4) Don’t Proofread
Don’t just rely on spell check (though do run it through a spellchecker!) Read everything you write forward and backwards twice to make sure you didn’t type something embarrassing. Then, ask a friend to proofread it for you as well. It can take a long time, but it’s worth it.
5) Ask Last Minute for a Letter of Recommendation
Hopefully you’ve thought ahead. Trying to rush a recommender reflects poorly on you, but it also means you might end up with a less-than-stellar recommendation or that you might not get one at all! Make sure to give your recommender plenty of time.
Read: How to Get a Stellar Letter of Recommendation
6) Use Obviously Recycled Answers
You’re applying to multiple colleges and a lot of them ask a similar question “why do you want to come here?” It’s tempting to write a short essay that’s generic enough to just copy and paste, but don’t! If you give the impression that you think it’s just another college, you might be viewed as “just another applicant.” And that is NOT what you want.
7) Skip the “Additional Information” Section
Applications have plenty of optional sections for a reason. Most schools want to know more than just your grades and test scores, especially if they espouse a holistic admissions process. Colleges want to know that you’ll be a good fit, so use the additional information sections to really tell the college about yourself.