Creating a standout college application is undoubtedly a difficult task. While there is no such thing as a “perfect” college application, there are definitely some common mistakes to be avoided. Drawing on our 15-year track record, our advisors and private tutors in Hong Kong introduce the biggest DON’Ts of the college application.
DON’T write a college essay that simply lists your accomplishments
It is hard to emphasize this one enough. The admissions committee already has a copy of your resume, so the essay is NOT the place to reiterate this. The essay is the part in which you market yourself. It’s where you translate your activities into something human and purposeful. With that being said, the essay is a good place to highlight one to two major accomplishments, but only within the context of a larger story/narrative.
DON’T exaggerate too much
College admissions counsellors are inundated with applications from students claiming to have cured cancer or started 15 clubs. Admissions officials are smart enough to recognise fabricated accomplishments when they see them. With that being said, it is entirely okay to highlight and emphasize your accomplishments within reason.
DON’T overthink the college application
Many applicants tend to overanalyse or over-edit to the point where it becomes detrimental to their college application. Every student wants their application to be perfect and the best way to make that happen is to speak with professionals. Once you have produced several draft applications send them to a college admissions consultant or other professionals to give it another look. They are often better at discerning what’s good and what’s bad about a college application than you are.
DON’T wait until the last minute
We cannot tell you how many requests we get in mid to late December asking for help in last-minute college application prep. This is an entirely avoidable situation that often leads to a rushed and imperfect college application. Use the summer prior to senior year to begin working on and even finish your college application. Moreover, don’t make the assumption that you will be accepted to an early action/decision school. Even if you apply early action or early decision, you need to prepare for the possibility of not being admitted.
DON’T forget to proofread!
A college application that contains bad grammar, poor word choices, and a confusing structure will greatly jeopardise your application. Make sure your college counsellor, parents, and admissions consultant review your application to ensure that it meets the standards of proper English.
We understand that college applications take a great deal of time and effort to write, but make sure you are balancing it with your academic studies and are not falling behind for school. You may find it helpful to have someone experienced to guide you through the process and to support you on your assessments as well, and hiring an advisor and/or a private tutor in Hong Kong may be in your interest. Contact us for more details.