College Applications: The Do's and Don'ts

TTYL, LOL, 2NTE. We use a lot of shorthand to write notes and send text messages to each other. While it’s an easy quick way to get your point across to friends and sometimes even family, acronyms like these won’t fly when it comes to filling out a college application or writing a scholarship essay.

Colleges and universities look for students who can represent themselves well in person and on paper. Your application and scholarship essay are the first clue of what type of student you’ll be. So keep the slang acronyms out of your applications and do your best to follow these other do’s and don’ts:

DO thoroughly read the application and scholarship criteria before writing. Missing important tidbits and overusing a correction pen show a lack of attention to detail and could lead to your application getting thrown into the “reject” pile.

DON’T be unclear with your answers. Whether you’re elaborating on a scholarship essay topic or explaining something from your past on your application, be as honest and detailed as possible.

DO take note of deadlines and submit your completed application and scholarship essay on time. That means proofing your documents for spelling and grammatical errors in advance to avoid any mistakes. Have someone you trust review your materials and consider any advice they may have to offer.

DON’T write —type! This will avoid word confusion for the reader, help you steer clear of misspelled words, and catch most grammatical mistakes. If you cannot or are not allowed to use a computer for either of these documents, utilize technology to verify spelling and grammar before writing it down on any permanent document.

DO understand what your school and specific program of interest is looking for in a prospective student. We’re not saying it’s okay to lie to sound like the perfect student, but understanding how your strengths best fit their criteria will help leverage you against other prospective students.

DON’T forget to sign your application! An unsigned application is not a valid one and many schools will not process your file.

DO feel accomplished with your finished application and essay! It’s no easy feat to complete these documents. Take each college or university’s process seriously and they will do the same in return.

Good luck!