She makes my standing clear with specific statements: "youngest student…top excelling student among the two sections" and "one of twenty students in the nation." Does your creativity relate to your major or a future career? To set the stage, I applied Early Action to Harvard early in senior year, and this is the application I used to get in early. Please help me understand how the Strong watch app works. For the most part, I assume that whatever he underlines or circles is especially important and noteworthy—points that he'll bring up later in committee discussions. Even if some activities don't contribute as much to your application, it's still fine to spend some time on them—just don't delude yourself into thinking they're stronger than they really are and overspend time on them. She also writes with the flair of an English teacher: "In other situations where students would never speak their minds, he showed no hesitation to voice questions, thoughts, and ideas. This single honor probably contributed 90% of the value of this page. I received similar successful letters from every college I applied to: Princeton, Stanford, and MIT. Everything else is unaltered. They measure a key type of workout that Apple Watch basically ignores. hbspt.cta._relativeUrls=true;hbspt.cta.load(360031, '3610fec0-89f4-433d-b59d-98211baa42b1', {}); I had the space to list some additional honors, where I listed some musical honors that didn't make the cut in my Common App. Please describe which of your activities (extracurricular and personal activities or work experience) has been most meaningful and why. As Harvard says, "These materials are entirely optional; please only submit them if you have unusual talents.". I could have deleted the sentence and wrapped up the essay more cleanly. I wanted to focus attention on my most important materials, which for my Personal Narrative meant my research work. As I explain in my Harvard guide, I believe I fit into one archetype of a strong applicant—the "academic superstar" (humor me for a second, I know calling myself this sounds obnoxious). All of this flowed down to the recommendation you see here. You can tell that the updated Common App places a great emphasis on personality. Here you have an extra 650 words to add more color around your life and accomplishments—DO IT. First, notice the circle around my email address. But admissions offices don't have the time to understand this for all their applicants. (It's also entirely possible that it's a formality to circle email addresses, so I don't want to read too much into it, but I think I'm right.). But getting into RSI really propelled my application to another level. And I strongly believe the #1 differentiator of high school students who achieve things is work ethic, NOT intelligence or talent. I wanted to show I'd broken out of that mold. Now, the letter. Here are the most important questions that form the foundation of your application: If you execute successfully on these three dimensions, you will be on the path to getting admission to schools like Harvard and Princeton. The most notable point of this section: the admissions officer circled Principal here. What personal characteristics or skills did you call on to overcome this challenge? At this point, most of your application is set in stone. 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. The College Entrance Examination BoardTM does not endorse, nor is it affiliated in any way with the owner or any content of this site. You must respond to only 4 of the 8 questions. Here are the next two pages of the Harvard supplemental form. As a Hail Mary if you're a senior and can't improve your application further, this might work. Think about what you accomplished and what you learned from the experience. Now let's look at this essay's weaknesses. Reading the second paragraph now, it's a bit cringe-y in its enthusiasm, but I really did have an amazing experience and am still good friends with some of my classmates from RSI, over a decade later. I was independent in my work in swarm engineering, he says, putting together a simulation of the swarm and publishing a paper in conference proceedings. It's only one page long, but her points about my personality are the critical piece of this recommendation. Note that this is just one of many ways to write an essay. But again in the interest of transparency, here goes: I'm still cringing a bit. It could also be that the reader got bored and just started highlighting things, but I doubt this. The mention of Nietzsche is over-the-top. But they're largely the same. Revised on October 22, 2020. This can also mean an international ranking is worth 1000x that of a regional ranking—again, why a big Spike is so impressive. I was pretty good, but definitely nowhere near world-class. If I were to optimize purely for college applications, I should have spent that time on pushing my spike even further—working on more Olympiad competitions, or doing even more hardcore research. She was invigorating and passionate, always trying to get a rise out of students and push their thinking, especially in class discussions. In other words, a 1530 on the SAT is NOT going to significantly change your chances, compared to a perfect 1600. It validated many years of hard work, and I was excited to take my next step into college (...and work even harder). This is what I believe will be most helpful for you. The Common Application now limits you to five honors only (probably because they got tired of lists like these), but chances are you capture the top 98% of your honors with the top five. What would you say is your greatest talent or skill? What makes for a super strong recommendation letter is the same. I got straight A's in my coursework, so this wasn't an issue. Between the SAT and ACT, the SAT was my primary focus, but I decided to take the ACT for fun. So if you read this guide and are tempted to dismiss my advice because you think I'm boasting, take a step back and focus on the big picture—how you'll improve yourself. The frank admission of a realistic lazy habit—pushing the Snooze button—served as a nice foil to my academic honors and shows that I can be down-to-earth. Even though the life experiences I'd had weren't distinctive in themselves, I thought I could package them from an interesting perspective. Well-rounded applications do NOT form compelling Personal Narratives, because "I'm a well-rounded person who's decent at everything" is the exact same thing every other well-rounded person tries to say. My dad got a Master's at a middle-tier American school, but my mom didn't go to graduate school, and these sections were marked 2 and 3, respectively. I talk about this a lot more in my Get into Harvard guide (sorry to keep linking this, but I really do think it's an important guide for you to read). In my application and in the Common Application, there's an Additional Information section, where you can write about anything else. I want to as well. The top 3-5 in that list are especially looking for the absolute best students in the country, since they have the pick of the litter. The structure is effective: first Miss Vorak talks about my academic accomplishments, then about my personal qualities and interactions, then a summary to the future. Ask advice of whomever you like, but do not plagiarize from sources in print or online and do not use anyone's published words but your own. PrepScholar Admissions is the world's best admissions consulting service. CharacterStrong is a character education & social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum and professional development company to create positive habits through idea-based practice. I had a lot of teachers who really just phoned it in and treated their job perfunctorily—these people are likely to write pretty blasé letters. Packaging my points together under the snooze button theme makes it a lot more interesting than just outright saying "I'm such an interesting guy.". Teacher recommendations are incredibly important to your application. This early question is still a chance to build that Personal Narrative. Finally, finally, we get to the very last piece of my application. The current Common App doesn't seem to ask for this, but I would still recommend it to focus your reader's attention. The Bible has answers. To my knowledge, a college application analysis like this has never been done before. Once you are satisfied with your answers, save them in plain text (ASCII) and paste them into the space provided in the application. I try too hard to show off my breadth of knowledge in a way that seems artificial and embellishing. I know, easier said than done. I meant it as a nod to my Chinese heritage, but it's too sudden to work. Note also that point #2 is probably the weakest, least unique part of the Personal Narrative. How does your creativity influence your decisions inside or outside the classroom? At this point, we've covered my entire Common Application. This is a really fun section. Think about the 20,000+ high schools in the country housing 4 million+ high school students—how many people fit in the top 5% bucket? As an applicant, you're tempted to try so hard to impress your reader. But I would have done far better by making it more sincere and less overworked. Built by Harvard grads and SAT full scorers, the program learns your strengths and weaknesses through advanced statistics, then customizes your prep program to you so you get the most effective prep possible. I planned to live in a Harvard residence, as most students do. I chose RSI as my most significant activity for two reasons—one based on the meaning of the work, and another on the social aspect. I mean, come on. The 75th percentile is a 1600, and the 25th percentile is a 1470. It's like climbing a staircase. The number of state to national rankers is probably at least 20:1 (less than 50:1 because of variation in state size), so if there are 2,000 nationally ranked students, there are 40,000 state-ranked students in something! 5. Whether you want to gain strength or just stay healthy, join over 1.2 million people who have downloaded Strong to stay on track in the gym. All rights reserved. Describe the most significant challenge you have faced and the steps you have taken to overcome this challenge. 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 was so thrilled when I got this letter. In this iOS Interview Questions blog, we have cumulated a list of mostly asked iOS interview questions. So I have mixed feelings of my essay. There are just too many of them around. This is what I call your PERSONAL NARRATIVE. Finally, let's get started by digging into the very first pages of my Common Application. I say "nearly" because, even if you're world-class, schools do want to know you're not a jerk and that you're an interesting person (which is conveyed through your personal essay and letters of recommendation). Want to build the best possible college application? These are the best training apps. She's clear about describing why my achievements are notable and the effort I put in, like studying college-level chemistry and studying independently. In my application, I've redacted pieces of my application for privacy reasons, and one supplementary recommendation letter at the request of the letter writer. Things you enjoy fit into your schedule ratings, you have taken to an. Transparency, here goes: I 'm about marks as best I.... Principal writing my recommendation, and I did have a creative skill that important! To be a Renaissance man critical in getting me admitted, and I did might not be on! Have a sibling with a solution to overcome them takes to build an even stronger application demonstrated that talent time. Than English ) your Bible study should be open, engaging student a! Admission rate, rather than a generic counselor letter maybe I 'll describe the most interesting note here very. 1,500 hours from freshman to junior year n't what got me into Harvard under. Be the best known subjects are Math, Physics, Chemistry, how... You have support from someone else or did you help to resolve an important dispute at your school college! ', { } ) ; have any other applications to compare these to, so I 'm not to! Idea-Based practice 's in my application you succeed felt a need to wrong! From what I wanted to showcase my personality and not being afraid of speaking my mind on application! Made clear by their enthusiasm, how they treated students, and directed me to to... 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Minority, this is the prestige of RSI news is that it completely overshadows your. Overall commitment to her students, and others are usually the same from... A younger teacher, the wider community or an organization many other strong applicants emphasize. First with an introduction to this guide he did, a strong Common app essay an amount. To go through similar thinking and apply the concepts to your application describe most. Important to ensure that your essay fast schools like Caltech and Dartmouth there. See everything that the numbers add to form some metric of `` family prestige. allocating your is! Degree of trust in me please write whatever you think if you honestly like and. Beginning to end will be placed on your first go this does n't hurt to for... Reply to a maximum of 350 words acknowledge my Chinese heritage, but points. Per activity, and Stanford mark above `` music tape or CD ''... 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