Common Mistakes on College Applications 2023

by | Mar 28, 2023 | Applying to College

Applying to college is an exciting and important step in a student’s academic journey, but it can also be fraught with common mistakes that can negatively impact their application. From missing deadlines to poor essay writing and not showing genuine interest, these mistakes can jeopardize their chances of being accepted. However, there are several ways to avoid these mistakes and improve the quality of their application. This blog will cover the most common mistakes students make on college applications, including how to avoid them and offer best practices for a successful application process. By following these tips and avoiding common mistakes, students can maximize their chances of being accepted into their dream college.

Missing Deadlines

One of the biggest mistakes is missing application deadlines. Many colleges have strict deadlines for applications, and missing them can result in the application being rejected or deferred.

Not Paying Attention to Requirements

It’s important to read and follow the application requirements carefully. Failure to do so can result in the application being rejected.

Not Proofreading

Students and parents should proofread the application before submitting it to ensure that there are no errors or typos.

Writing Poorly Written Essays

Many colleges require students to submit essays as part of the application process. It’s important to write well-crafted essays that showcase the student’s personality, strengths, and unique qualities.

Not Showing Interest

Many colleges want to know that the student is genuinely interested in attending their institution. Students should take the time to research the college and mention specific programs or activities that they’re interested in.Showing colleges that you are genuinely interested in attending their school can increase your chances of being accepted. Here are some best practices for demonstrating your interest:

Visit the Campus

Visiting the campus is one of the best ways to show a college that you are interested. Attend a campus tour, meet with an admissions officer, or sit in on a class to learn more about the school.

Attend College Fairs

Attend college fairs in your area to learn more about different schools and meet representatives from those schools. Be sure to ask questions and get contact information to follow up later.

Contact Admissions

Reach out to the admissions office with any questions or concerns you have about the application process, financial aid, or the school in general. This shows that you’re taking an active interest in the school.

Attend Information Sessions

Many colleges hold information sessions for prospective students. Attend these sessions to learn more about the school, ask questions, and meet other students who are interested in attending.

Follow the School on Social Media

Follow the college’s social media accounts to stay up-to-date on news and events happening on campus. Engage with the school’s posts by liking and commenting to show your interest.

Apply Early

Applying early can show a college that you are committed to attending. Many colleges offer early decision or early action application options.

Write a Personalized Essay

Write an essay that is specific to the college you are applying to. Highlight how the school’s values, programs, or opportunities align with your personal goals and interests.

It is important to be genuine and thoughtful in your efforts to show your interest in a school. Don’t overdo it or come across as disingenuous. By following these best practices, you can demonstrate your interest and increase your chances of being accepted into your dream school.

Not Being Honest

It’s important to be honest on the application, including academic achievements and extracurricular activities. Lying or exaggerating can backfire during the admission process.

Not Asking for Help

Students and parents should not hesitate to ask for help if they’re unsure about any part of the application process. Counselors, teachers, or college admissions officers are great resources.

Not Addressing Specific Questions

Some colleges ask specific questions on their applications, such as “Why do you want to attend this college?” or “What is your most significant accomplishment?” It’s important to answer these questions directly and thoroughly to show that you’ve put thought into your application.

Not Following Directions

Some colleges have specific instructions for submitting transcripts, test scores, or other documents. Not following these instructions can result in a delayed or incomplete application.


Inconsistencies in the application can raise red flags for admissions officers. For example, if the student’s essay says they’re interested in pursuing a career in engineering, but their extracurricular activities show a strong interest in the arts, it can be confusing and raise questions.

Poor Online Presence

Many colleges will check a student’s online presence, such as social media profiles or blogs. If the student’s online presence is inappropriate or unprofessional, it can negatively impact their application. Cleaning up your online presence is important because many colleges will review applicants’ social media profiles, blogs, and other online activity to learn more about them. Here are some best practices for cleaning up your online presence:

Google Yourself

Search for your name on Google and review the search results. Look for any negative or inappropriate content that may be associated with your name.

Review Your Social Media Accounts

Review all of your social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Delete any posts, comments, or photos that could be considered inappropriate or offensive.

Adjust Your Privacy Settings

Adjust your privacy settings to control who can see your posts and activity on social media. This can help prevent unwanted attention or scrutiny from strangers.

Use a Professional Email Address

Use a professional email address that includes your name rather than a silly or inappropriate username. This can show colleges that you are mature and responsible.

Be Mindful of What You Post

Think carefully before posting anything online. Avoid posting anything that could be considered offensive, inappropriate, or unprofessional.

Ask Friends and Family for Help

Ask friends and family members to review your social media profiles and online activity. They may notice things that you missed or offer suggestions for improvement.

Create a Positive Online Presence

Consider creating a personal website or blog that showcases your interests, achievements, and goals. This can help demonstrate your creativity, professionalism, and commitment to your passions.

Your online presence is an extension of your personal brand, so it’s important to take it seriously and make sure it represents you in the best possible light.

Forgetting to Submit Optional Materials

Some colleges allow students to submit additional materials, such as portfolios or letters of recommendation. Forgetting to submit these materials, even if they’re optional, can make the application seem incomplete.

Not Personalizing the Application

Admissions officers read countless applications, so it’s important to make the application stand out. Students who don’t personalize their applications with specific anecdotes or experiences may be seen as less memorable or less invested in the college.

Research the School

Research the school thoroughly to learn more about its programs, faculty, campus culture, and values. This can help you tailor your application to the school’s specific offerings and demonstrate your knowledge of the school.

Attend Information Sessions

Attend information sessions, webinars, or virtual tours offered by the school to learn more about it. Take notes and ask questions to demonstrate your interest and engagement.

Connect with Current Students

Connect with current students at the school to learn more about their experiences and get a sense of what it’s like to attend. Reach out to student organizations or clubs that align with your interests to learn more.

Attend Local Events

Attend local events hosted by the school or alumni to meet current students and alumni and learn more about the school’s community.

Write a Personalized Essay

Write an essay that is specific to the school you are applying to. Highlight how the school’s values, programs, or opportunities align with your personal goals and interests.

Mention Specific Programs

Mention specific programs, courses, or research opportunities that you’re interested in. This shows that you’ve done your research and have a genuine interest in the school’s offerings.

Get Recommendations from School Alumni

If you know any alumni from the school, ask them to write a recommendation for you. This can demonstrate your connection to the school’s community and your enthusiasm for attending.

Common Mistakes on College Applications 2023 last edited by CAMS Staff on