3 Common College Admissions Myths

College Admissions

The college application process is filled with myths and misconceptions about what colleges and universities are looking for, and what will tip the scales in the applicant's favor. Everything, from the importance of participating in as many extracurriculars as possible, to who should write your letters of recommendation, has a story attached to it. One of the most important things you can do as you get ready to apply to college is learn to distinguish fact from fiction in the admissions process.

Today, I'll talk about three of the most common college admissions myths.

Myth #1: Your SAT score is the most important thing in your application.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, many college admissions officers actually say that your overall GPA is much more important that your SAT score. It makes sense, if you think about it: While your SAT score is reflective of how you did on a three-hour test, your GPA is actually the accumulation of four years of academic performance. While your SAT score is still very important, your GPA trumps it. Don't expect a great SAT score to make up for a poor GPA. Conversely, though (and this goes to show how much more important your GPA is than your SAT score), a great GPA can make up for a less-than-great SAT score. Don't leave anything to chance, though: Excel at school, and excel at the SAT. When both numbers are excellent, you have nothing to worry about.

Myth #2: Your GPA from 12th grade is the most important one.

Although your 12th grade GPA will carry the most weight (since it is the most recent), your GPAs from 11th, 10th, and 9th grade also matter. Schools don't look at just one year's worth of grades--they look at your cumulative GPA. They also want to see that your grades either get higher as you go, or start of high and stay there. The moral of the story? Your entire high school academic career matters. Don't slack off on your classes just because you aren't a junior or senior--start strong, and end strong!

Myth #3: It's okay if you miss an application deadline by a few days. Schools won't mind.

Schools do mind if you're late with your application. In fact, some schools won't accept your application at all. Deadlines exist for a reason, and it's not so that you can miss them. Think of this, too: College applications become available months before the deadlines. If you can't get it together enough to submit your applications by the deadline (if not before), what message are you sending schools? You're basically telling them that applying to their institution didn't matter enough for you to get everything submitted on time. And if you didn't care enough, what makes you think they'll care about you?.

Always remember that, when it comes to applying to college, everything matters: Your standardized test scores, your GPA, your essays and letters, and your timeliness. Making sure that you don't fall prey to admissions myths will guarantee that you submit an on-time, thorough, excellent application that you can be proud of!