College Application Red Flags That’ll Send You Straight To The Rejection Pile

Written By Alla Levin
July 08, 2021
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College Application Red Flags That’ll Send You Straight To The Rejection Pile


College application is an intense and grueling process that relies not only on your grades, but also on your ability to write a brilliant essay, and pitch your skills in a way that ticks all of the application boxes. For high-end ivy league colleges and highly competitive areas, especially, acceptance means finding ways to stand above the crowd.

Unfortunately, with limited spaces and a highly competitive environment, most admissions departments have to go through things with a fine-toothed comb, somehow finding a way to distinguish between often exemplary students, and making painful compromises as they do. To ensure that your submission doesn’t land on the wrong end of this scrutiny, it’s essential that you always do what you can to avoid the following common, often rejection-inducing application mistakes. 

College application red flags: getting grammar wrong

Good grammar is a general essay prerequisite, but when you’re up against the best, even a misplaced apostrophe can end your college career. This is the case regardless of how good the rest of your application might be, and it highlights the need for grammar checks with tools like Grammarly, as well as proofreading from third parties.

If you’re applying for a highly competitive environment like Harvard, your application could especially benefit from the oversight of an expert MBA admissions consulting team, who will be able to go over things with an unbiased, professional outlook that points you towards every single minor issue. This way, problems are way less likely to slip through the net and sabotage your chances. 

The trap of TMICollege application red flags

An impersonal, one-size application is never going to get you noticed by admissions teams who are looking for an excuse not to accept you, but it’s also important to note that there’s most definitely such a thing as too much information where a college application is concerned.

Specifically, adding paragraphs of personal information that are irrelevant to your application itself puts you at risk of revealing negative aspects of your personality, and also failing to address the prime reason why you would make a great candidate. Avoid this with thoughtful, strategic personal mentions that are only ever linked directly to your course, or your journey at that particular college. 

Failing the interest test

The ‘interest test’ is basically a way for admissions teams to determine whether you have a genuine interest in a college, or it’s just one in a long line of applications that you aren’t really bothered about. Obviously, people who have a particular desire to study at a college are preferable, especially in an either/or situation.

As such, a successful application should always avoid generic statements in place of researched and verified facts about the college in question, and the reasons that you feel it would be a better option for you than anywhere else. 

College applications can be nerve-wracking, but avoiding mistakes like these is guaranteed to make it that bit easier to get your foot in the door, and to finally secure that much-desired acceptance. 

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