Education

Avoiding Major University Admissions Mistakes

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Written by Quentin Hack

After studying tons of information on the Internet, students get down to the most important thing, which is enrollment. They choose a university and a program in the desired specialty, prepare for exams, and draw up documents. It would seem that after looking at so many websites and articles, no detail can escape them. But for one reason or another, failure still happens.

According to professionals from Essayassistant.net, here are the 5 most common mistakes of applicants.

  1. Choose a university only, not a course

There are many prestigious universities and colleges in the world. Most of them are multidisciplinary, but not all of them are strong in all fields at once. More often the reputation of a university is based on only one or a few specialties. For example, Harvard University is known worldwide for its law and medical schools. At Christ Church College in Oxford, where fans of the Harry Potter movies tend to go, future famous politicians have studied and are studying. American MIT is especially popular in the fields of IT, engineering, and, oddly enough, business (MIT Sloan).

There are many choices, and only you can determine what you want to get from a particular university, course, major, or country. But be careful: it is important to look at the subject rankings for your desired major, rather than blindly chasing the big names of universities that top the world QS or THE. Firstly, these famous universities might not be that good in your field of study. Secondly, due to their high requirements, they are hard to reach, while other, lesser-known ones might be the winning option for you.

Remember: Even if two universities in the same country teach the same program, it does not mean that they have the same quality and content. The journalism curriculum at Columbia University in New York, for example, is very different from that at La Verne University in California. That’s why it’s so important to read program descriptions and curricula carefully, rather than being guided only by the names of the fields of study.

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  1. Choosing a university without regard to location

Ignoring the location of an institution is a mistake that has little to do with admission, but it can have a big impact on your education. Is the country appropriate for you? What is the climate of the region where the school is located? The lifestyle of the city where the campus is located? Is it equipped with all the necessary infrastructure? How expensive is it to live there?

For example, some universities in New Zealand are located among picturesque fields and green pastures, but for those who are used to the rhythm of the city, these places are hardly suitable. Some Australian universities are in the tropics, but life in this belt may be uncomfortable for people who are used to, say, a temperate continental climate, or who simply cannot cope with hot weather. Finally, overpriced housing and groceries that you’re not prepared for may simply result in you not being able to support yourself for the duration of your studies.

  1. Writing an essay or motivation letter at the last minute

It may seem like an essay or letter is the easiest thing a college requires. In reality, you may find that you write three essays in one evening and none of them are final, or even just good. This is a fundamentally wrong approach to writing an admissions essay. The essay should demonstrate your ability to analyze and think critically; every idea here should be clearly described and argued.

Even more demanding is a motivation letter, because it is the only one that can reveal you as a person, not just your GPA and exam results. For the admissions committee will not be enough just information about your name and dreams. It’s important to have concrete examples from your life, accomplishments, and a clear vision of your future, both academic and career goals.

When it comes to the world’s top universities, motivation letters and essays are the only things that differentiate applicants from one another. Harvard applicants have high test scores and a mountain of all sorts of activities on their resumes. As Syndrome said in Supergirl, “When everybody’s super, nobody’s super. Universities strive for diversity in the student body, so when everyone is about equally good, only writing will help determine the quality of applicants. And it takes more than one evening to write a decent text.

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  1. Not paying attention to admission requirements

When it comes to admission requirements, every detail counts:

  • Some majors require specialized tests and exams that take time to prepare for and may take long before the exam itself;
  • If your score is below a certain minimum, it is a mistake to think that a miracle will happen this year. Moreover, hoping for a minimum threshold is not a good idea either, because statistics show that passing grades only increase every year;
  • The university may require that letters of recommendation be translated and notarized. And sometimes translations are not accepted at all – the letter must originally be written in English, and the envelope must be sealed and contain a signature of the author on the glue.

And this is only a small part of what students often attach too little importance to. All of the requirements vary from institution to institution. And given that applicants usually apply to more than one institution, it is necessary to prepare several packets of documents, carefully studying the requirements of each university. Sometimes a small detail, whether it’s a missing signature, an incorrectly filled out form, or a typo in the application, can be the reason for rejection.

  1. Apply to more than one major at the same university

To give themselves more options, students often apply to more than one institution and more than one major. This obviously improves your chances of admission. However, if you are applying to more than one program from different fields within a single university, admissions officers may find your candidacy problematic. Even if everything is in order, there is still a chance of rejection.

Some institutions, such as those in Australia, allow you to apply for 2 or 3 different majors. This information should be verified on the website of the university or the admissions office. But even then you should be careful: It is a serious mistake to write one common letter of motivation for all specialties. Such an approach shows that you are not reliable and simply can not decide what you want to become.

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Conclusion

Each country’s educational system has its distinctive characteristics. Different countries and universities have their own admission and application rules, admission requirements, and application deadlines. An even more difficult period begins after you have sent your applications: at any moment, the admissions committee may ask for additional documents and relevant data – and here it is important to correctly understand and meet the requirements in time. Without knowledge of the specifics, you can simply “fail” the entire process, while being a perfectly “fit” applicant.

If you are not 100% sure that you can cope on your own and reach the winning end, you can always ask for professional help, for example, if you have difficulties with writing a scholarship essay or a motivation letter.

Know that you will definitely succeed!

About the author

Quentin Hack