Common Application Mistakes, Part 2             by Patti Brugman

By Patti Brugman

         This is Part 2 continued from last week of the most common mistakes we’ve seen on college applications of all kinds:  the Common Application, The University of California Application, and in-house college applications.  Read, Enjoy, and Avoid:

5.  Forgetting Safety Schools and Financial Safety Schools:  Think of the student from years ago who applied to all of the Ivies thinking that one was sure to take her.  She received seven rejection letters on the same day!  Luckily, she had included a school on her list that was both affordable and at her academic level.  We want you to dream big, but also consider the reality of who you really are and what you can really afford, no matter what.

6.  Applying to Just One School:  This happens.  Even if you think you have an “in” at a school because Uncle John is Provost, include other schools on your list-- just in case.  It’s a huge disappointments when students with connections are denied because they have connections, but not the strong academics to succeed at that school. 

7.  Thinking Cheap:  These days, most of our clients are looking for the school that will grant them financial aid.  When they do some of the calculations, they discover that a lovely private school is often cheaper than a UC because of merit scholarships, financial aid, and the 4-year guarantee to graduate.  Broaden your thinking to include both public and private schools because there are tremendous financial incentives to both.

8.  Forgetting The Most Important Thing:  We usually get one phone call per year from a student who forgot to include his most important achievement on his application.  These things can be fixed with a letter to the school, but how much nicer to have had the time to carefully proofread everything on the application.  We love it when students finish early, let the application sit, and then go over it again carefully.