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“Ask The Experts” is written and provided by Scholarship Media. It does not reflect the views of The Collegian or its advertisers.

Now that I am accepted to a college, will someone tell me the secret, so I can tell my brother? Why were so many of my applications rejected?

Your question is asked by every frustrated college applicant. Fear of rejection is high as students fill out their applications. But being denied admittance does not necessarily mean that a student is unqualified or could not be successful there. Universities must take into consideration things like supply and demand, past performance in school, and student-school fit. Perhaps we are not giving away secrets, but here are the most likely rejection reasons.

Having top grades, a resume full of community deeds, and a packed extracurricular schedule does not guarantee you a place at your choice of college. There are no guarantees with college admissions, but there are things you can do to improve your chances.

One of the top reasons for application rejections is also the most obvious, not meeting the academic criteria. Most colleges will base admissions on a full range of conditions, but they want to know that applicants have a solid enough educational foundation to handle challenging courses. Courses and grades taken in high school are the best indicator of how you will perform in college.

Incomplete applications are also reasons for rejection. Missing test scores or references can cause delays in the application and drop it lower down the list. Unanswered questions, blank spaces on the application form, general carelessness and a lot of spelling mistakes, errors, and typos will also count against you.

Essay questions carry a lot of weight. Your essay is your opportunity to express yourself, say something positive, and tell the college why you need to be there. Many teens leave the essay to the last minute and reel something off without a lot of thought. Most think that the essay should just impress the admissions officer, but it goes beyond that, it should be used tell them about yourself. Getting parents to write or edit essays also gets noticed, for the wrong reasons.

Failure to research the college and answer how and why it is the right choice for you can also be reason for rejection. Institutions want to see why applicants want to study there, whether they understand the school’s mission, and how it can help them meet their goals. You will be one step closer to admission if you can explain your goals, ambitions and why this particular college should be a part of your future.

Your character will come under scrutiny during the application process. If you had disciplinary issues at high school the college will take note. A suspension is not an automatic reason for refusal and you will be given the opportunity to explain the situation on your application.

Supply and demand are influential factors, many colleges simply do not have enough positions for the number of students wanting them. This is why paying attention to the reasons highlighted above can make all the difference to whether you are successful with your choice of college.

Sometimes I feel my whole life has been one big rejection – Marilyn Monroe.