One Mistake Does Not A Denial Make

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Every year, we get a panicked email or phone call because a student “messed” up on their application. Either they, forgot to send their official test scores; they put the wrong number of hours or weeks per year on one of their activities; or they didn’t fill out their Self Reported Academic Record (SRAR) correctly or on time.

If you’ve already submitted your application, you cannot make any changes through the CommonApp or school specific application that has been submitted, but you can make changes on the CommonApp to schools going forward.

The natural response is to panic and assume that they are NOT getting in because of this error. This is almost never the case but many of these mistakes can all be either corrected or avoided. Below are some common mistakes and how best to correct them.

Correcting Mistakes on Already Submitted Applications.

Don’t Catastrophize The Mistake. The most common response is: “OMG, I’m never getting in. I totally screwed up!!!” But one mistake does not a denial make! Once you are done predicting every bad scenario possible, take a beat and analyze what is actually missing or wrong.

Identify the source of the mistake and who can help fix it.
Below are some common mistakes.

Problem: Forgot to send official test scores to schools who require them by application deadline.

Possible Solutions:

  • If it’s still before the deadline and you have access to the testing administrator or your high school has a copy of your scores, you can have that person send your Official Test Scores by Email.
  • Apply test optional (If the school allows it) . If you realize before you submit, you can answer the question on the CommonApp that you do not want your test scores considered. If you have already submitted and said you DO want your test scores submitted, you may be able to change to test optional on the school’s portal or by emailing the school’s admissions office. The email for admissions is handily located on the CommonApp.

Worst Case Scenario: Your application will be deferred to regular decision, which will give you time to send your official test scores. Send them ASAP.

Problem: You put the wrong number of weeks or hours by mistake on your activities or resume or you forgot to put some piece of information on your application.

Possible Solution(s):

  • See if you can add a short note to admissions on the school’s portal or email admissions with the correct information and explain that you made a mistake.

Worst Case Scenario: None. Admissions officers recognize that you are human. It would be worse not to acknowledge the mistake.

Problem: You forgot or didn’t fill out the Self Reported Academic Record (SRAR) correctly or forgot to link it to a specific school.

Possible Solutions:

  • If it’s still before the deadline, just make the change.
  • If it’s after the deadline, contact admissions to see if you can still submit it. Large state schools will likely say no and defer you to regular decision, but if enough people ask, they may extend the deadline.

Worst Case Scenario: Your application will be deferred to regular decision.

Problem: You attached the wrong version of your personal statement or supplement.

Possible Solutions:

  • Go to the school’s portal or email the school with the correct version and ask them to swap it out.

Worst Case Scenario: The may still read the wrong version but you’ll never know, so don’t sweat it.

Problem: You reported a low AP score or you said you took an AP exam but did NOT include a score.

Possible Solutions:

  • If the former, don’t worry about it as AP scores are not a requirement for admissions.
  • If the latter, you can email admissions with the score if it’s favorable, if not, leave it be. AP scores are not a requirement for admissions.

Worst Case Scenario: The may see a low score and compare it to any other test scores or grades; or they may think you had a bad day if the score is inconsistent with the rest of your application.

College recognize that mistakes happen, so don’t panic. You can usually find a solution.

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