Dec 23

5 College Application Mistakes You Should Avoid

Speaking about competitiveness, every year more than a million foreign students apply to attend colleges in the United States. You should stay away from these all-too-common errors if you want to improve your chances of being accepted.

5 College Application Mistakes You Should Avoid

Do you want to improve your chances of getting into a top-tier university? Schedule your consultation with Tokyo Academics today!

Mistake #1: Making the impression that you are “well-rounded”

A lot of extracurricular activities are required, according to conventional opinion, because colleges prefer applicants who are well-rounded. Don’t take this advice, though, if you wish to be accepted into an institution with higher admission standards.

To get into a top college, good grades and a diverse range of extracurricular activities are no longer sufficient.

This is due to the fact that you are up against many other qualified candidates who have profiles that are quite similar to yours. The number of international students enrolled in higher education has climbed 73% over the past ten years, and 10% over the past year alone, the fastest documented annual increase ever, according to the Institute of International Education’s most recent annual Open Doors Report.

The aim is to stand out from the crowd. Applicants who are accomplished and interested in a variety of areas but also have a “spike,” a unique depth in one area of genuine passion, are sometimes referred to as being “T-shaped” by selective universities.


Mistake #2: Favoring “big brands” or well-regarded universities

Professional college advisors don’t rate colleges; instead, we have a tendency to categorize them into tiers. As an illustration, Princeton is in the top tier, followed by UC Berkeley in second, UC San Diego in the third, and so forth. Official rankings might be beneficial to some level to give you an idea of tiers if you’re like everyone else and want to attend the “best” college, but they are not helpful in any other way.

It would be much preferable for you to design your own tiers with your demands in mind. Try classifying universities into reach, match, and safety groups before choosing the ones on which you will concentrate your attention based on factors like academic fit, campus culture fit, etc.

Similar to rankings, international students frequently undervalue other potentially outstanding undergraduate programs at small liberal arts colleges or at less prestigious regional universities. Don’t let a brand name dissuade you from applying to other, similarly great undergraduate programs, especially if you think you might have a better chance of getting accepted because those institutions frequently have less applications from overseas students.


Mistake #3: Applying without a good storytelling

When you submit an application to a college, you do more than that. You are submitting a tale about yourself whether you realize it or not, and that story can be told brilliantly or poorly.

Many personnel working in the college admissions office read your application and form an impression of you based on a story they have about you; they don’t remember specifics. You are in control of how that impression is presented here.

Focus on the one or two main subjects that you are most interested in rather than attempting to explain everything you are doing in high school. And make sure to back up your enthusiasm with noteworthy accomplishments.

For instance, if a student is passionate about environmental sciences, they should ensure that all application materials highlight this interest and highlight any relevant accomplishments. They need to highlight the research They conducted over the summer with famous college instructors and the papers she wrote that were accepted for publication in scholarly journals.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should start organizing the main components of your narrative well in advance of the college application season.For instance, if you begin planning your story in the first year of high school, you will have a long time to develop the accomplishments that set a great story apart.

Do you want to improve your chances of getting into a top-tier university? Schedule your consultation with Tokyo Academics today!

Mistake #4: Beginning test preparation in your senior year.

We speak with a lot of kids who begin studying for standardized tests like the ACT/SAT and the SAT II subject tests far too late. You shouldn’t wait to start preparing for these exams until the end of your junior year and the beginning of your senior year.

Standardized tests, whether we like it or not, are one of the most important factors in the “formula” for college admissions, and if you prepare ahead of time, you actually have a significant edge over other kids. Don’t be among those who start things late. You have some control over this.

Because the material is still fresh in your mind, it is best to take the SAT II subject tests right after studying the subject in class. Therefore, immediately after your 10th-grade Chemistry class, you should take the SAT II (leaving time to study for it, of course).


Mistake #5: Lack of a distinct passion

This relates to the first error: If you are not accomplished in a field in which you have sincere interest, colleges are unlikely to find your application persuasive.

College admissions officers seek out applicants who exhibit a keen interest in both extracurricular activities and certain academic fields. It’s not enough to simply have excellent marks and exam results; you also need to be truly passionate about the subject and have made some significant progress in it.

It’s not actually that difficult for high school kids to find their hobbies and passions with the correct coaching. We offer a unique college admissions counseling program. You can find more about it here. Most people simply don’t take the time to think it through thoroughly, and nobody is encouraging them to do so. Discover what academic and extracurricular interests you have as early as possible in high school, and then make the time to pursue them further.

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