Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Break!

Hey everyone,

Sorry, but I'll be going to California (yay!) this Christmas break (Dec. 23 - 31). I probably won't be checking the blog or my email very much if at all. I apologize for the inconvenience in your most hectic hour. I wish everyone good luck on their applications, and make sure you send them in on time! Merry Christmas and happy holidays!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Campus Life - Intro

So.. For the "campus life" section of the blog, I'm going to make a video blog. Here is the first installment. I will admit that it's pretty lame, and I promise I'm cooler than I appear in this video, but the future ones will be more informational and can hopefully hold your attention =P

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Q & A: Standing Out in the Applicant Pools of Top Colleges

Q: One more thing sohan, you said that everyone at this level will have a similar resume as me. so how competitive do you think I'll be among those who do what I did? About how many people do you know in your class that have about the same things I have?

What does it mean to stand out in an applicant pool?

A: When I say "everyone at this level will have a similar resume as you," I mean that students at your level will have accomplishments of similar magnitude and scope, though they are not necessarily the same exact activities.

These "similar" accomplishments are usually the academic ones - e.g., NHS, quizbowl, honor roll, math league, science league, and other academic achievements/clubs. I feel that such distinctions, as well as a certain GPA, SAT score, etc., are just about required to reach a certain tier in the applicant pool.

What you do besides your academics (or if you have extraordinary academic achievements, such as winning a national science fair or the likes), sets you apart in this tier. To clarify, everyone applying to top schools is undoubtedly smart, but you have to show that you are committed, diligent, charismatic, service-oriented, and a whole slew of adjectives.

Note: The poster volunteered his efforts for Hurricane Katrina relief, and subsequently won the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and the Presidential Service Award for his community service.

For example, your service work for victims of Hurricane Katrina is impressive and will set you apart. What you write about in your essays will set you apart. If you wrote a superb essay about how you helped out victims of Hurricane Katrina, I think that would put you at another level, because it's something that not every student does, and it reveals something about your character.

You can really divulge this "extra" information about yourself in your essays, which is where you want to reveal your character.

On a side note, I find that the top colleges like students who not only smart, but also are EXTREMELY proficient in on area or activity rather than someone who is generally well-rounded. If you do something BIG in one club or activity, it counts more than participating in numerous clubs and sports teams. You have done excellent work in community service and should make sure you emphasize this point and its impact on your character.

Even if you haven't had some wonderful opportunity, in the end it all depends on how you spin your accomplishments to make them sound important, to be honest.

*** Organized List of All Posts

For your viewing pleasure, here is an organized list of everything I've posted so far.

Open Discussion - Question and Answers
Open Discussion 1
Open Discussion 2
Question: GPA, Application Help, Cornell

Question: Choosing Schools to Which to Apply
Question: Standing Out in An Applicant Pool

The Common App Guide - Advice for all sections of the College Applications
Getting Started
Adding Colleges
Future Plans, Personal Data, Address, and Family
Standardized Tests
Additional Information

Pre-Application Advice
Extracurricular Activities
SAT and ACT info

When to Start Preparing

Intro to Scholarships
Finding Scholarships
Winning Scholarships

Nailing the Interview
About this Blog
About Me

Monday, December 1, 2008

Open Discussion - 2

Hey guys. It's now December, and college apps are due in about a month!! Unfortunately, I have to start studying for my final exams and won't have that much time to write new blog posts.

However, I'll always respond to any questions you have, and I might create blog posts about any good questions and answers. That said, here is Open Discussion 2.

Post a comment on anything - any questions on deadlines, advice, the application process, anything! You can post your stats (SATs, GPA, activities, schools interested in) and we'll tell you (honestly) what we think your chances are of getting in to the colleges you want, and what direction you should take to improve. Everything is anonymous, so please ask all questions on your mind! Remember, we were in high school not too long ago.

Link to Open Discussion - 1