These Are The 20 Things You Should Definitely Avoid On Your College Applications (From An Actual Admissions Office Employee)


1. Any of the following, or similar to the following email addresses:, or any addresses containing swear words and/or the number ‘69’.

2. Rips, spills, or coffee stains. No one wants to read an app with the corner chewed off and a red stain from who-knows-what at the top.

3. Crappy, unedited sentences such as, “I like you school” that show you really didn’t give a sh*t enough to read it more than once.

4. Slang words, for example (but definitely not limited to): ‘cuz’, ‘chillin’, ‘hangout’, ‘legit’, and ‘aint.’

5. Ramblings about your impressive high school accomplishments…like getting an A on your history paper. PSA: No one cares about your ‘good job’ stickers. Give the basic info and let the transcripts and highlight videos speak for the rest.

6. Texting lingo (are you serious?!) such as: ‘lol,’ ‘omg,’ ‘haha,’ ‘u,’ or ‘ur.’

7. Six attached letters of recommendation. Overkill, just overkill. What school asks for six freaking letters of rec? Oh right, no school. Ever.

8. Claiming you got a 4.0 when you really didn’t. You know we actually read these things, right?

9. Addressing the application or letter to the wrong school. You’re just dumb for that.

10. Requesting (or demanding) a scholarship. No. Just don’t. We have a website with a tab marked ‘scholarships’ just for that reason.

11. Random photographs of you: on the football field, holding a dog, or your favorite senior-pic pose. That’s just strange and makes us feel uncomfortable.

12. An essay when we don’t ask for one. This a) shows us you didn’t read our submission guidelines and b) is just a lot of extra work for no reason.

13. Marking the box, ‘Yes, I am a registered sex offender’ when you’re actually not. You have to admit, it’s a little strange to accidentally check that box. You should probably read more carefully.

14. Applying 4+ times. Dude, we got the app the first time and we’ve probably already notified you that we received it. Chill out.

15. Applying after you’ve already been accepted. This is just confusing.

16. Submitting an incomplete application. Literally it’s two pages long, how do you miss an entire section?

17. Writing in pink, sparkly orange, or basically invisible ink. This is a college application. Need I say more?

18. Writing in illegible chicken scratch. Sure, you can hand-write. Power to you…but it would help if we could read it.

19. The application that says, ‘I’m interested in applying!’ but doesn’t actually have any application information filled out. This just doesn’t make sense and will go in the throw-away pile.

20. Your mother/brother/father/aunt/coach/cousin-twice-removed applying for you. Is this real?! Put on your big girl or big boy panties and apply for yourself!