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The Biggest Mistakes Students Make When Applying to College

Applying to college is one of the most important decisions a student makes in their lifetime. A college education opens up new horizons and will change your life forever. At the same time, it does not need to be overly stressful. Here are some quick college application tips that will help you avoid some of the biggest college application mistakes that students often make while applying.

1) Not Starting Early. If the deadline is approaching, don't worry - there is still time. Many students wait until the last minute and fail to leave adequate time to study for, and take, the S.A.T.'s, request recommendations in time to have them arrive at the school by the deadline, writing essays, etc. An early start will go a long way toward improving the quality of your applications.

2) Picking Schools for the Wrong Reasons. With competition for admission getting fiercer every year, students often get caught up in the name of the schools they are applying to. They may choose to apply to more competitive and widely-known schools that are not a good fit for them. Studies have repeatedly shown that the best students at less well-known colleges receive a better overall education than the worst students at the most prestigious universities. You get out what you put in, and it will be easier to put in a lot if you are in an environment that suits your personality and encourages you to succeed.

3) Not Applying to Enough Schools. While it is important to choose schools that are right for you, it may turn out that your top choice school will not accept you. This can be true even if you are an over-qualified candidate. Most undergraduate colleges in America receive thousands and thousands more applications from students than they have room for. Beyond a certain point, admissions officials must resort to making tough decisions that result in rejecting students that would be great at their school. This should not discourage you from going after your dream schools, but even valedictorians with perfect grades should apply to more than two or three colleges. All applicants should apply to safety schools! Also, be cautious of spreading yourself too thin by applying to over ten schools and not having time to put in enough effort for each one.

4) Not Spending Enough Time On Applications. With extracurricular activities, spending time with friends, the schoolwork that comes with senior year, and the pressure to apply to schools, it is easy for students to feel overwhelmed and overburdened. Don't let this bring you down. Make a schedule for yourself to tackle a little bit of your applications each day. Make sure that your essays are tailored to each school's questions and unique personality. Don't accidentally tell Boston University about how you have always wanted to go to Dartmouth. Check that all of the information has been filled out according to the instructions.

Use these tips to avoid some of the biggest college application mistakes. Having the right mindset and approach to the application process goes a long way toward success.