Of the top mistakes most often made on college applications, many can be attributed to not following instructions or working too quickly. The college application will be filled with important paperwork, so it is vital to take time and plan ahead. Setting aside time to focus on each document can help eliminate errors such as misspellings and will allow each form to be checked for completion, ensuring that it is signed and dated properly.
No one wants to be under pressure to complete such an important document at the last minute. Look at college and scholarship application deadlines and then figure out the amount of time it will take to complete the application. Schedule time to work on it and if mailing an application, be sure to allow time for it to arrive before the deadline.
When filling out your college application, take time to carefully read the instructions. If the application requires a 500 word essay, don't write an essay with 1,000 words. If you are submitting a paper version instead of applying online and the instructions say to use black ink, don't use a pen with green ink. If you can't follow the application instructions, do you really think admissions officers will want to admit you to their school?
This may sound like a no-brainer, but be sure that if you mention the name of the school in your essay or other materials, you have named the correct school. Admissions officers understand that students recycle portions of their work among all of their applications, but declaring that you have "wanted to attend <insert rival school's name here> your whole life" isn’t going to convince the reviewer of your sincerity.
You should also take time to carefully consider people who will serve as your references. The people you choose should be able to accurately paint a picture of your talents and abilities. Essays also require planning and time; don't forget to find a trusted person to help proofread your writing.
Time, however, cannot overcome misinformation. Be truthful about your activities and the extent of your involvement. Don't include any activities in which you are not involved just to try and make yourself look better in the eyes of the admissions officers.
Make a professional impression. Consider setting up a separate e-mail account for your college and scholarship applications and related communication. Choose an address that is professional and avoid using nicknames or slang terms. Remember, just as you're looking for the right fit in a college, schools are looking for students who will represent them well.
Source: ACT's News You Can Use