Six Missteps That Could Sink Your College Chances

Be Careful Not to Trip Up During the College Application Process

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Fall is here and high school seniors should already have the college application process well underway. There is a lot to accomplish this year, so make sure you have a clear outline of what you need to do, and when you need to do it by. Here are six actions you don’t want to take because they could cost you the opportunity of getting into a college you really want to attend:

  1. Missing the Application Deadline: This might seem a bit obvious, but application deadlines can come up faster than you expect. Be very sure of the deadlines at your preferred colleges for early application and early decision as they are coming up soon. Then backtrack by at least a week and put that as your personal deadline. You don’t want to submit everything at the last minute only to realize you have forgotten something after the deadline has passed.
  1. Not Filing for Financial Aid: Some students and parents think they are not eligible for financial aid so they don’t even bother filing the FAFSA. Unless your family is very wealthy, this could cost you money that might mean the difference between your first and second choice schools.
  2. Poor Social Media Profile: Some colleges do check social media sites to get another impression of you. If you are using your own name on these sites, make sure your posts or videos are something you would not be embarrassed to show a college admissions officer in person.
  3. Catching a Case of Senioritis: What you do in your senior year can affect your acceptance potential. Continue to take challenging courses, get good grades, and stay involved in your activities. Not only will it help your chances of being accepted, you’ll also be better prepared for academic life once you get to campus.
  4. Not Getting Scholarships: Scholarships are the “free” money of college. There are tens of thousands of them available for just about every activity, pastime, passion and pursuit you can imagine but you do have to look for them. Don’t just stop at one. Start looking in your junior year and keep looking through your college years. That extra bit of money that doesn’t have to be repaid will come in handy when you get to college and see the price of some of the textbooks you are going to need.
  1. Lazy Attitude About Student Loans: After the college application, college financial aid application, scholarship and admissions tests have all been taken, submitted and completed there will come a time when you need to determine how much your family actually has to pay for you to attend this school. If the money is not available through income or savings, you might have to borrow money through federal and private student loans. If you think this might be a possibility, don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what you need to do. Start now by learning the difference between the types of loans, putting together a budget so you know the least amount you need to borrow, and projecting your earnings potential so you have a handle on how much you can realistically repay. This information can be crucial to your decision-making process.

    The most important thing to remember is that you have come so far already. Build on that and know that you have the ability to take the right steps now which will lead to a promising future.