Unigo: Common Admission Mistakes

Expert NETWORK Column

Week of Monday, July 4, 2011

The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts from across the US answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school.

In your experience, what are three of the most significant and avoidable mistakes students make throughout the admissions process?”Elizabeth R., Omaha, NE.

Experts

Expert Answers

Whitney Bruce


Independent College Counselor

Accepted.com

Time management is critical. A student approached me in mid-December, with ill-formed plans to complete several applications in the week before he left for a December vacation. His poor time management created problems for others as his teachers were unenthused by his last-minute request for recommendations. He wrote only one or two drafts of his essays. Ultimately, he tried to submit his applications in the hours leading up to the deadline from half a world away. His lack of planning led to frustration and meant that in some cases, his applications did not meet the deadlines and were not even reviewed for admission.

Todd Johnson

 

Founder

College Admissions Partners

Don’t make these common mistakes when applying to college: 1) Your personal essay needs to tell the admissions office something about you they don’t otherwise find in the application. Give them some insight into why you are the person you are. 2) Don’t recycle “why do you want to attend college X” essays. Writing a generic essay for this prompt is very obvious to even first time readers. Do your homework and tell them why their college is really a good choice for you. 3) Submit the application at least 2 weeks before the deadline. Computer systems often crash when you wait to the last minute. Trust me on this.

Pamela Ellis


Founder

Compass Education Strategies LLC

Top 3 tips for a strong recommendation letter: Students must view their application as a portfolio that consists of several points of data, which create a complete profile! Letters of recommendation provide important data that can either help or hurt a candidate. If you want a strong recommendation letter that complements your application package, avoid common mistakes by following these 3 top tips. 1) Ask a teacher that has a personal story to share about you (it’s OK if you remind them!); 2) Ask a teacher who writes well; and 3) Provide enough lead time for your choice to complete a strong recommendation on time!

Lora Lewis

Founder

College Explorations LLC

The devil is in the details. How you present yourself is a key factor in how a college will react to your application.  If the information you submit is sloppy, late, or unresponsive, the reader might naturally conclude you’re sloppy, late, and usually unresponsive.  These aren’t particularly attractive traits, and none will further college aspirations.  So to keep your application out of the reject pile, avoid the kinds of mistakes that make you look bad.  Submit a document that reflects the quality of your work—edit, proofread, and print preview.  Make sure you’re responsive to requirements—test scores, transcripts, supplements, and recommendations.  In addition, watch deadlines—application, scholarship, and financial aid.  Dog those details and present your best self.

Jane Shropshire

Founder

Shropshire Educational Consulting LLC

Avoid mistakes by keeping priorities straight. This applies to the college search, where students and parents sometimes fall into the trap of chasing prestige rather than a great fit in both personal and academic terms.  Losing sight of priorities can lead students to choose activities that they perceive to be important for admissions, while making no sense for them personally. It can also muck up the application process, leading a student to send an application to Bowdoin conveying great enthusiasm for Cornell. By letting your priorities guide you, you’ll be the student who knows which of the two is the right match and why.  You’ll ably demonstrate your interest to the colleges receiving your applications.

Don’t miss answers by the Dean of Admissions at St. Lawrence University, and more – at www.unigo.com/expertnetwork. To send your question to our experts, visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions.

 

About the Unigo Expert NETWORK: The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts across the US dedicated to the success and well-being of high school students as they make the transition to college life. With members from two-year, four-year, private, public, and independent institutions, the network has over 3,000 years of collective experience, spanning all areas of admissions, financial aid, and how to succeed in college. To see all members of the Unigo Expert Network, visit www.unigo.com/admissionsexperts. Unigo.com is the web’s largest, 100% free resource for college information, used by over four million high school students and parents.

 




Unigo: Common Admission Mistakes

Expert NETWORK Column

Week of Monday, July 4, 2011

The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts from across the US answering questions submitted by students and parents about college admissions and succeeding after high school.

In your experience, what are three of the most significant and avoidable mistakes students make throughout the admissions process?”Elizabeth R., Omaha, NE.

Experts

Expert Answers

Whitney Bruce


Independent College Counselor

Accepted.com

Time management is critical. A student approached me in mid-December, with ill-formed plans to complete several applications in the week before he left for a December vacation. His poor time management created problems for others as his teachers were unenthused by his last-minute request for recommendations. He wrote only one or two drafts of his essays. Ultimately, he tried to submit his applications in the hours leading up to the deadline from half a world away. His lack of planning led to frustration and meant that in some cases, his applications did not meet the deadlines and were not even reviewed for admission.

Todd Johnson

 

Founder

College Admissions Partners

Don’t make these common mistakes when applying to college: 1) Your personal essay needs to tell the admissions office something about you they don’t otherwise find in the application. Give them some insight into why you are the person you are. 2) Don’t recycle “why do you want to attend college X” essays. Writing a generic essay for this prompt is very obvious to even first time readers. Do your homework and tell them why their college is really a good choice for you. 3) Submit the application at least 2 weeks before the deadline. Computer systems often crash when you wait to the last minute. Trust me on this.

Pamela Ellis


Founder

Compass Education Strategies LLC

Top 3 tips for a strong recommendation letter: Students must view their application as a portfolio that consists of several points of data, which create a complete profile! Letters of recommendation provide important data that can either help or hurt a candidate. If you want a strong recommendation letter that complements your application package, avoid common mistakes by following these 3 top tips. 1) Ask a teacher that has a personal story to share about you (it’s OK if you remind them!); 2) Ask a teacher who writes well; and 3) Provide enough lead time for your choice to complete a strong recommendation on time!

Lora Lewis

Founder

College Explorations LLC

The devil is in the details. How you present yourself is a key factor in how a college will react to your application.  If the information you submit is sloppy, late, or unresponsive, the reader might naturally conclude you’re sloppy, late, and usually unresponsive.  These aren’t particularly attractive traits, and none will further college aspirations.  So to keep your application out of the reject pile, avoid the kinds of mistakes that make you look bad.  Submit a document that reflects the quality of your work—edit, proofread, and print preview.  Make sure you’re responsive to requirements—test scores, transcripts, supplements, and recommendations.  In addition, watch deadlines—application, scholarship, and financial aid.  Dog those details and present your best self.

Jane Shropshire

Founder

Shropshire Educational Consulting LLC

Avoid mistakes by keeping priorities straight. This applies to the college search, where students and parents sometimes fall into the trap of chasing prestige rather than a great fit in both personal and academic terms.  Losing sight of priorities can lead students to choose activities that they perceive to be important for admissions, while making no sense for them personally. It can also muck up the application process, leading a student to send an application to Bowdoin conveying great enthusiasm for Cornell. By letting your priorities guide you, you’ll be the student who knows which of the two is the right match and why.  You’ll ably demonstrate your interest to the colleges receiving your applications.

Don’t miss answers by the Dean of Admissions at St. Lawrence University, and more – at www.unigo.com/expertnetwork. To send your question to our experts, visit www.unigo.com/expertquestions.

 

About the Unigo Expert NETWORK: The Unigo Expert Network is a group of top education experts across the US dedicated to the success and well-being of high school students as they make the transition to college life. With members from two-year, four-year, private, public, and independent institutions, the network has over 3,000 years of collective experience, spanning all areas of admissions, financial aid, and how to succeed in college. To see all members of the Unigo Expert Network, visit www.unigo.com/admissionsexperts. Unigo.com is the web’s largest, 100% free resource for college information, used by over four million high school students and parents.

 

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