Whether students are applying to a small, private college or a large, public university, there are some universal missteps that college applicants make year after year, much to the dismay of the institution’s gatekeepers who decide whether the student should be admitted.
To help readers of The Choice avoid these pitfalls, we’ve asked admission officers at a small sampling of colleges and universities to describe the one thing they wish students knew about the college admissions process. Their excerpted responses are arranged by theme.
Choosing a college is a long but rewarding process. It takes time to find which college is the best fit for you. The sooner you complete your application (including transcripts, test scores, personal essay, and so on) the sooner you will receive a decision and your merit scholarship award. This provides you more time to investigate and weigh your options.
— Michael Joseph, vice president of enrollment management, Valparaiso University
I wish students knew to contact their universities of interest and research the steps of the application process before their senior year. Pre-planning can eliminate some of the trials and errors of applying to school. The sooner students conduct research on the application process and what it takes to be admitted, the better they understand which classes they need to take and how they should organize their past, current and future activities.
— Janie Alcala, associate director, office of admissions, Texas A&M University
College ‘Fit’ Goes Both Ways
I wish more students applying to college understood just how important “right-fit” is. Do we want to see people who were successful in high school and had a bunch of extracurricular activates? Yes, absolutely. But you can make an even better case for admission by showing us that you are going to be able to be highly successful and benefit most from the uniqueness of our institution.
Do your research. Don’t only make the case that you’re great, make the case that you’re a great match great for us.
— Micah A. E. Canal, chief admission officer, Antioch College