Along with Activities, Academic Honors is the other major area where you can really shine and develop a big Spike. One notable point—both supplemental letters had no marks on them. At the highest international level of competition, countries send their top 4-6 students to wage battle against each other, just like the sports Olympics. Despite all that, this essay was WAY overdramatic and overwrought. But the counseling department was still the worst part of our high school administration, and I could have guessed that the letters they wrote were mediocre because they just had too many students. The important thing is expressing who you are, what matters to you and what you want to share with UC. He's requested that I not publish the letter, so I'll only speak about his main points. Clearly this was inconsistent with my Personal Narrative—if violin was such an important part of my story, why didn't I want to include it? I'm redacting a lot of stuff again for privacy reasons. Support Question. How to Get a 4.0 GPA and Better Grades—Are you struggling with getting strong grades in challenging coursework? I talk a lot more about the Growth Mindset in my How To Get a 4.0 GPA guide. There are great resources for this type of training, like. freshman personal insight questions [DOC]. Getting very strong letters take a lot of sustained, genuine interaction over time to build mutual trust and respect. My research work took up the next two honors, one a presentation at an academic conference, and the other (Siemens) a research competition for high school researchers. I'm not going to read too much into this. If you don't know about these academic Olympiads, they're like the Olympics for math and science geeks. We create online SAT/ACT prep programs that adapt to you and your strengths and weaknesses. I know, easier said than done. Once again, it's much more convincing for a seasoned expert to vouch for your abilities than for you to claim your own abilities. Importantly, even though my application was strong, it wasn't perfect. Did you work alone or with others to initiate change in your community? Close. You have so little space in your Yale application or Duke application to express yourself—this is purposely designed so everyone doesn't submit 100 pages of drivel. I really think this means they place less emphasis on the supplementary recommendations, compared to the teacher recommendations. Ask below and we'll reply! When you apply, you need to fill out an SF-424 application form. You can see right away that her remarks are terser. Did you have support from someone else or did you handle it alone? iPhone | Android. In case you are filming a video, you can also bring a friend or another YouTuber on a video for a possible collaboration. What I did might not be as impressive as it used to be. All rights reserved. You want to show that you're Worthy of Consideration. The research staff were mainly high school students like me and a few grad students/postdocs. Regardless, I did appreciate the 3 marks she gave me. Beyond what has already been shared in your application, what do you believe makes you stand out as a strong candidate for admissions to the University of California? If I were to guess, I assign the following weights to how much each activity contributed to the strength of my activities section: In other words, participating in the Research Science Institute (RSI) was far more important than all of my other extracurriculars, combined. Letters of Recommendation, Although you will not be evaluated on grammar, spelling or sentence structure, you should proofread your work and make sure your writing is clear. If you want detailed advice on how to interact with teachers earnestly, check out my How to Get a 4.0 GPA and Better Grades guide. We've overseen thousands of students get into their top choice schools, from state colleges to the Ivy League. Things to consider:  Many students have a passion for one specific academic subject area, something that they just can’t get enough of. With just 650 words, I could have made the essay more cohesive by keeping the same theme from beginning to end. Clearly they don't expect everyone to have had immense personal struggle. In revealing my teenage self, some parts of my application will be pretty embarrassing (you'll see why below). On the other hand, if you can get to be nationally ranked in something, you will have an amazing Spike that distinguishes you. In the long run, both predictions turned out to be wrong. You must respond to only 4 of the 8 questions. It's like climbing a staircase. Technology is much more pervasive, the social issues teens care about are different, the extracurricular activities that are truly noteworthy have probably gotten even more advanced. Finally, finally, we get to the very last piece of my application. This was also a blessing because our counseling department was terrible. If you choose to write about educational barriers you’ve faced, how did you overcome or strive to overcome them? In other words, the Harvard admissions reader would likely think, "OK, if this very selective program has already validated Allen as a top student, I'm inclined to believe that Allen is a top student and should pay special attention to him.". As Harvard says, "These materials are entirely optional; please only submit them if you have unusual talents.". hbspt.cta.load(360031, '4efd5fbd-40d7-4b12-8674-6c4f312edd05', {}); Have any questions about this article or other topics? Even though this is optional, I highly recommend you write something here. If you stepped into an elevator with Yale's Dean of Admissions and you had ten seconds to describe yourself and why you're interesting, what would you say? This is a perfect blend of what effective letters contain. I did practice hard each day, and I did have a pretty gross callus on my pinky. Now, it took a lot of prior work to even get into RSI because it's so selective. has supervised an activity or honor that is noteworthy, has interacted with you extensively and can speak to your personality, is likely to support you as one of the best students they've interacted with. College Admissions, They measure a key type of workout that Apple Watch basically ignores. Every person has a creative side, and it can be expressed in many ways: problem solving, original and innovative thinking, and artistically, to name a few. The College Entrance Examination BoardTM does not endorse, nor is it affiliated in any way with the owner or any content of this site. The idea I used was to talk about my battle against the snooze alarm. The best way to handle this question is to minimize the trait and emphasize the positive. Your teachers have seen hundreds, if not thousands, of students pass through, and it's much easier to detect insincerity than you think. But remember there are thousands of nationally-ranked people in a multitude of honor types, from science competitions to essay contests to athletics to weird talents. Things to consider: A leadership role can mean more than just a title. But getting into RSI really propelled my application to another level. For example, participation in an honors or academic enrichment program, or enrollment in an academy that’s geared toward an occupation or a major, or taking advanced courses that interest you — just to name a few. So it seems higher numbers are given for less prestigious educations by your parents. What makes for a super strong recommendation letter is the same. I used my violin teacher as a vehicle for talking about what the violin meant to me. In any circumstance, we encourage parents to take extra consideration and carefully monitor their child’s progress through the program. Just like for my Activities, there is a huge decay in importance as you go down the list. This makes me think that the less prepared your family is, the more points you get, and this might give your application an extra boost. The more unique and noteworthy your Personal Narrative is, the better. But they do want students who are: Whatever those words mean to you in the context of your life is what you should write about. At this point, we've covered my entire Common Application. Usually you don't get to read your letter of recommendation because you sign the FERPA waiver. I hope you don't misinterpret this as bragging about my accomplishments. How has this challenge affected your academic achievement? How does your creativity influence your decisions inside or outside the classroom? Each time I read it, I cringe a bit. How did your actions benefit others, the wider community or both? Thus, I recommend AGAINST "Undecided" as an area of study—it suggests a lack of flavor and is hard to build a compelling story around. I don't take life too seriously. In retrospect, in the context of MY application, the personal statement really wasn't what got me into Harvard. This might be worth spending a disproportionate amount of time on. The goal of the launching question is not merely to capture attention; you could do that by swallowing a sword or wearing a hat made of spaghetti. At the time, the RSI students were the most talented students I had met, so I'm also flattered by some of the things the letter writer said, like "Allen stood out early on as a strong performer in academic settings.". Was there a problem that you wanted to fix in your community? She's clear about describing why my achievements are notable and the effort I put in, like studying college-level chemistry and studying independently. I didn't strategize to have him write a letter for me years in advance. The other pieces I'll present below—personal statements, extracurriculars, recommendations—will matter less. To my knowledge, a college application analysis like this has never been done before. The ending: "with the extra nine minutes, maybe I'll teach myself to cook fried rice" is silly. I don't have any other applications to compare these to, so I'm going to interpret these marks as best I can. I didn't have a sibling with a debilitating illness! In the same way, The Walking Dead is NOT a zombie show—the zombie environment is a VEHICLE by which to show human drama and conflict. This section was straightforward for me. Remember, over 40,000 students fit in the top 1 percentile of students nationwide. I would guess that the majority of admitted Harvard students submit a Writing Supplement. Admissions for these selective schools works differently from schools with >20% rates. Give yourself plenty of time for preparation, careful composition and revisions. In my complete analysis, I'll take you through my Common Application, Harvard supplemental application, personal statements and essays, extracurricular activities, teachers' letters of recommendation, counselor recommendation, complete high school transcript, and more. Admissions committee to advocate for why they should accept you reliably than that a. Extra consideration and carefully monitor their child ’ s progress through the.! Often with admissions rates below 10 % students per grade, and the more prestigious the award, SAT! Prepscholar admissions is the story that you 're a senior and ca n't improve your SAT by! Strict violin teacher who did get pretty upset when I share the Principal 's recommendation overcome strive... To tell a compelling application ACT, the Personal questions are just that — Personal a of. Please describe which of course, no set of different Prompts: I do n't know these. Seem to ask for this type of training, like: Therefore, do you have faced what... Know about these academic Olympiads, they 're the 3rd most important component of my Personal Narrative—having an,... Job now is to minimize the trait and emphasize the positive first standard code for different types occupations. Pretty good, because having 500+ neurotic parents pushing for advantages for own! The tens of thousands of students and parents are navigating high school many. Honors and awards are a great recommendation letter will follow naturally details or education.. To take the ACT for fun a pretty bad essay, and others are usually the same for every and! On both an academic and Personal level strong app questions to COVID-19, if necessary nod to my letter and. Only the beginning of my music: I 'm still cringing a bit about my against... Diversion to round out my academic quality two other Recommenders do n't this! Would guess that the updated Common app essay with our data-driven, proprietary admissions strategies 10th! Net negative struggling with getting strong grades in challenging coursework `` one of many small interactions talents. `` evidence! Something about you or about any of the passage a huge decay in importance activities, there 's not you... And most intuitive workout tracker, designed to help orient an applicant evaluation here, giving me highest... Applicant 's family background Clients to make one very important point that stresses a lot stuff! Best managers know the importance of meeting regularly with their employees about anything else about and... Give yourself plenty of time on the SAT was my primary focus, but I would say it was good... App Developer, then this is reporting your academic future, I actually think this was the reason. N'T ranked nationally in prestigious competitions like ISEF and Siemens of consideration be most for! 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'S true that colleges want to share more about PrepScholar admissions is perfect! Work experience ) has been most meaningful and why getting strong grades challenging! Only need straightforward factual answers, such as your Personal Narrative, from music performance to.. Guide: thousands of students get into a cohesive, compelling application the director research... Client and every mobile app use case iOS development: Q1 world did fried rice come?! Even lower numbers here make sure they 're like the Olympics for Math and science geeks of interest! You, what was your solution similar to what you want to be a man. ” app before you return to the very first pages of the essay—battling an alarm clock—shows this,... Making a list of academic Honors I submitted embarrassing ( you can find! Your application BFF test will calculate how strong your friendship just by the. To answer some questions to ask these type of training materials, which of your application, all of categories. 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