Most Common Mistakes made by Indian Students while Applying to US Colleges
Waiting to apply once you graduate
Unlike India, the US application system runs a year ahead. So, if you are targeting Fall (Aug/Sept) 2016, then the deadlines will begin by October 2015 onwards.
The USA college application process takes also considerable time and planning. It involves multiple steps, with choices to be made and deadlines to be met. You need to prepare and take exams according to the programs you are applying to such as SAT, GRE, GMAT. You need to write essays, SOP, ask for recommendations. And the US colleges are very strict about their deadlines. So it is good to start a year is advance, if you do not want a gap.
Starting applications just before the deadline
On the day of the deadline due to higher traffic, some technical error might also occur. At times, the websites get clogged due to heavy traffic. Many students who submit on the date of the deadline assume that everything transmitted was received, which may not be case.
Delay in sending exam scores
A lot of students plan to take the exam once the online application is submitted. This should be not at all be done. Whichever exam you take, SAT, ACT, GRE, GMAT, the reported score needs to reach the universities you are applying to before its deadline.
Failing to read guidelines
Every university has a section on the website that is marked clearly ‘specifically international students’. It is very important to go through the all information and the directions mentioned there. Apart from the website, there are guidelines in the online application too. So do not miss out on that. The set of directions also vary from university to university. For instance, several universities have one common application for all its students, while some have a separate application for international students
Going beyond the word limit
We Indians have the tendency to make the documents lengthy. In case of applying to the US universities, you must strictly adhere to the prescribed word limits in your Essays, SOPs and other such documents. Keep them precise and as concise as possible.
Looking for only “High Designation” recommendation
Many Indian students applying to USA for higher studies believe that better the designation of their recommender, the more positive impact it will have on the university officials. This is however not the case. What is important is that the recommender should know the applicant well and have taught him/her at college or supervised at work. The designation of the applicant is not at all counted, so does not matter whether they are the HOD (Head of Department) or a lecturer/Assistant Professor.
Not reviewing the application
Once the application is ready to submitted, do not forget to review the application at least once carefully. Preview the documents that had to be uploaded, just to cross check that documents are uploaded correctly and stick to the format and size as guided by the university. Proofread your documents and application to avoid any kind of grammatical and spelling errors.
Wrong college name in an application essay, the spoiler
It is fact that, most applicants write one SOP and then change the name of the college for different applications. Applicants need to make sure that the correct college name appears in the application wherever it is mentioned. It will be a turnoff for admissions officer if your application starts with the discussion about University at Buffalo being your first choice, but your final statement says, “California State University, Fresno is the perfect match for me.” And many students commit this blunder. Mail merge and global replace can’t be relied on 100%. Rereading this kind of documents carefully is the minimum that is warranted from a serious applicant. It is suggested that you get them proofread, may be you can ask your friend.
Converting your Grades
Indian colleges do not have a common grading system. Every university has adopted a different grading scale, such as percentage, CGPA out of 10 etc. This is not the case in US. They have only one grading scale, i.e. CGPA out of 4. A lot of Indian applicants end up converting their grades using some online calculator or some formula to match the US scale. And this is a strict “NO”. Do not convert your grades. In the application mention exactly the way you have been marked by your university. You will send your transcripts and based on that the US colleges will evaluate it accordingly.
Too much involvement of Parents/Guardians
Parents are always concerned with the career development and other prospects of their child. So they get involved in the admission procedure of their children as well. It is good that they encourage and support the students endeavor to get admission in a n university of the students choice. But the parents who keep on pestering too much actually end up doing disservice to their children. The universities would always want to take a student who can take care of his or own affair. They also want that the student makes relationship with the college. It is in the student’s best interest that they limit the involvement of their parents.