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!

Real-Life Accounting Student

Brianna Barton
Senior | California Baptist University
Being open to new experiences and opportunities has always been a huge anchor in my lifestyle.

Going into college, I initially thought I wanted to do pre-med, or possibly work in management. I guess it’s safe to say I was wrong. After doing a little homework and shadowing various individuals in their professions, I knew that accounting was the perfect fit for me. Accounting provides an array of opportunities and routes that I could eventually take as a college graduate, which is what I appreciate most about the profession. With multiple career paths and excellent job stability in the economy, my future should be very promising.

Being open to new experiences and opportunities has always been a huge anchor in my lifestyle. I constantly try to better myself and become more versatile, because the more knowledgeable or versatile an individual is typically reflects in their personal success. Only part of the college learning experience occurs in the classroom. Throughout my collegiate career, I’ve realized the importance of gaining hands-on experience towards my field of study. Volunteer opportunities, academic organizations and internships are all excellent ways of receiving these essential skills and experience which can make a significant difference after graduation.  

Most importantly, I’ve always been told to do what I love the most! Establishing a career is already difficult, but I can’t imagine being in a practice that’s simply not for me. Become informed on what career opportunities are available in your area of interest. Find things that you enjoy. Know what you can bring to a profession and run with it. Don’t let specific courses or minor failures deter you away from your passion. Use these experiences as an opportunity for personal growth and become comfortable in areas where you were once weak. It has been proven, individuals that love what they do become most successful at it. Learn to create your own brand as early as you can, and no one can stand in your way.


Favorite Sport:

Running and volleyball are my favorite sports to play but basketball, football and water-polo are my favorite sports to watch.

Favorite Movie:

The Water Boy. Absolutely hilarious.

Favorite Actor/Actress:

Morgan Freeman and Julia Roberts

More About Me:

My Dream Vacation:

Fiji/Bora bora and then head to Europe

Best Advice I Ever Received:

It is the unique quirks that make people who they are; so be yourself and have fun.