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The basics
THE USA: Applying to University

University Insight: What mistakes do students make in university applications?

Find out about the common mistakes which international students make when writing their application. Making a mistake in your study abroad application can hurt your chances of being accepted.

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Between sorting out your visa and getting your subjects organised, it’s almost too easy to make a careless mistake on your study abroad application. We went out and about to find out what some of the most common mistakes students make with their university applications as revealed by admissions officers. 


Give the correct information 


It’s imperative that when you’re making contact with a university or institution that you provide full and accurate information. Many admissions officers that we spoke to relayed their frustration at receiving emails or applications that did not contain even the most basic information about students and what they want to study. One example cited was an email which read, “I want to study at your great university, please tell me how”. This sort of correspondence is not only generic, but also gives the impression that the writer is not particularly serious about studying at an institution. By giving more information, such as what your aspirations are, what qualifications you have, where you’re from and what you’re hoping to study, it’s easier for a university to evaluate your suitability. 

Show creativity and imagination 


Submitting correspondence or communication that covers only the minimum of what is needed doesn’t give the best impression. For those evaluating your application it may appear as though you have not taken the time or effort that would be expected. They may think you haven’t made an attempt to research the university or your intended course of study. They may infer that you may not have the imagination or creativity that would be required for a student wanting to study at their university. This doesn’t bode well for the chances of your application, so make sure to take your time and put in the work that’s needed to help you stand out. 



Make a good first impression 


As with many situations in life, making a good first impression is really important for your university application. This can be from the moment that you make contact with or meet a university representative. Make sure to present yourself in the best light in a professional and confident manner. This sets the tone for the nature of your future relationship and can determine how seriously the university may view you as a prospective student. If you put in the effort it is much more likely that an admissions officer will dedicate time to your application and assist with queries




Some of the admissions officers with whom we spoke indicated that when they are interacting with a student who displays the positive traits of enthusiasm, creativity and a good work ethic they are prepared to spend more time getting to know them. If you can demonstrate a good grasp of your ambitions and motivations allied to knowledge of the institution and programme you want to study, you’ll be in a much better position to succeed and ace your interview



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