College Admissions Officers Look for Red Flags

While you spend this last week preparing and perfecting your remaining college applications, be sure that the content will not raise any red flags with admissions officers. Any glaring inconsistencies in your applications will definitely end you up in the rejections pile no matter how high your test scores or how magnificent your prose. Here are a few situations outlined in this article written by Andrew Belasco that you should definitely avoid:

  • Your resume states that you had the lead role in a play while your drama teacher's recommendation praises your abilities as a stagehand.
  • Your SAT writing score is in the 400s, but your admissions essay is as perfectly written as they come.
  • You mention that you volunteer 20 hours per week at a nursing home, but you play three varsity sports, take 4 AP classes, and edit the school paper.
  • You claim that you are passionate about political science, but you did not take your school's AP Government course. If your interest recently developed, clearly share your story in the essays.

As Belasco writes, "Colleges want to see a real human being capable of communicating their passions and actual life experience. Be genuine. In the world of college admissions, an honest stagehand is always a more marketable applicant than a fraudulent lead player."