There are so many articles out there giving tips on what you should do for your college applications- the Simple Studies blog included. But what about all the things you shouldn't do? Here is a list of things to consider avoiding.
1) Not doing everything "optional": Yes, it says optional, but unless you simply don't have anything you could use, do it. Optional essays, for example, give you the opportunity to tell admissions more about yourself.
2) Trying too hard to sound smart: Put all of your effort in, but don't write your essays in an attempt to sound brilliant. Don't use words admissions might not know-- it doesn't come across as smart, it comes across as trying to sound smart.
3) Referencing specific classes that might be a one-time thing: In the "why us" essay, it's common to try to get into the specifics of the school. However, some applicants make the mistake of saying they want to attend the school for the purpose of a specific class. At a lot of schools, classes are offered once and never again. Be careful to do your research!!
4) Not providing any relevant context: The additional information section gives you the chance to tell admissions whatever you didn't get to in the rest of your application. This is not applicable to everyone, but if you have contextual information you want to share, use that opportunity to share it. For example, I wrote that I have a high-risk family member and thus, couldn't leave the house during COVID for any reason, including standardized testing.
5) Not taking both the SAT and ACT if you're able: As I mentioned above, I didn't get to do my testing, but my plan was to take both tests, see which one I did better on, take it again, and superscore it. Some people perform significantly better on one test over the other, so if you are able to take both, see which percentile is higher and take that again for the possibility of getting a higher section score. Superscoring allows you to use the highest section scores you received, regardless of if they come from the same day's test.
Best of luck with your college applications and make sure to check our other blog articles for more advice!