How do you ensure that you get accepted into your college of choice? At a minimum, it is extremely important that your application is complete, meaning, that you follow all steps required of each college when submitting your application materials. Unfortunately, even the most qualified students are rejected from colleges each year simply because they did not submit a full application, they did not meet the qualifications required, or some other important reason. Below are some of the top reasons why college applications do not get accepted along with some helpful tips on submitting the most competitive application possible.
The applicant does not meet the academic threshold – the majority of colleges base their admissions decisions on all parts of a student’s application, not just on grades and test scores alone. Hence, the types of courses a student takes during high school (of course the most challenging being preferred) and his or her corresponding grades as well as extracurricular activities can greatly influence one’s chances of being admitted. As provided by a leading U.S. academic institution, “we have a bottom line when it comes to admissions, and if a student does not achieve over a certain number of our admissions factors, it can lead to an overall denial of their application.”
The application is incomplete – as noted above, an incomplete application can lead to a denial of even the most qualified applicant. This means that such things as missing test scores, recommendation letters, personal statements, and other required documentation can delay the review process and even lead to a rejection if they are not received in a timely fashion. This is why we recommend that you do your homework ahead of time to know what each application requires, and the associated deadlines of each. Create a schedule to guide you during the process and keep on top of the timelines required for each step of the application. Check off the requirements that have been fulfilled so that you know where each application stands.
The college just isn’t the right fit – although admissions officers do not expect students to know exactly what their academic and career goals are, they do require them to understand the college’s overall mission and have a clear understanding whether it meets their needs and desires. For instance, if a student applies to a large university yet expresses in a personal statement how he or she prefers small classroom sizes from day 1, his or her application will likely get rejected. As such, students really need to think about whether the college meets their expectations, as this can lead to wasted time and money applying to institutions that simply don’t fit.
Typos and grammatical errors – while most admissions officers are able to overlook minor mistakes, applications replete with typos and grammatical errors tell a college that you aren’t serious about their institution or that you simply do not possess the writing skills necessary to succeed at their institution. That is why we recommend that you have a parent, teacher, guidance counselor or other qualified individual review your application materials before submitting to each college.
The student has a record of behavior problems – a student’s character is often just as important to a college as his or her grades and test scores. Hence, if you have had a history of suspensions or disciplinary actions while in high school, this can negatively impact a college’s application decision. While you can certainly explain these incidents in your application, it is still important to consider that behavior, especially fighting or being disruptive in class, will likely affect your overall application status.
Demand and supply don’t match – many talented students are rejected each year due to the fact that the demand at a college is greater than the supply. Meaning, for a college that receives over 20,000 applications yet has an acceptance rate of 10% or less, this can lead to a denial of one’s application even for a student that meets or even exceeds all of the college’s entrance requirements. While we do not discourage a student from applying to the most competitive colleges, it is nonetheless important to understand that you may be denied admission, even if you are at the top of your class, have top SAT/ACT scores, and pursue a multitude of different volunteer and extracurricular activities.