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My story and some musings on the process


Replies to: My story and some musings on the process

  • dividerofzerodividerofzero Registered User Posts: 547 Member
    edited June 2014
    Haha I wish I could edit the top post on here because the main takeaway (in meta-hindsight?) is that you shouldn't just apply to the Ivy+ range schools as Ivy+ range schools. If you're applying to Princeton-as-Princeton, you're probably a much better-suited applicant than someone applying to Princeton-as-an-Ivy. (My app makes it pretty obvious that I was in category II- applied to a bunch of Ivies that I shouldn't have applied to, didn't know what I was doing most of the time, and had no real gameplan). So the main lesson is: do your homework.
  • 13lia113lia1 Registered User Posts: 136 Junior Member
    Hm you seem like an interesting guy. I feel like not many arrogant people are actively aware of their own character - I mean good for you! That's an interesting and valuable trait to have IMO. CMU also sounds like a wonderful place for you, and you'll be able to pursue your dream well. I wish you all the best in the future!
  • Evergreen1929Evergreen1929 Registered User Posts: 153 Junior Member
    Thanks for sharing your experiences. You remind me a little of my rising sophomore son. In the end my advice to him (and to myself ) is that he should be himself. He and you are smart kids, know yourselves, and will land in the best fit for you emotionally and intellectually.

    And you are being tremendously mature with the criticism on this post. Some of it seems a little strong coming down on a teenager.
  • CHD2013CHD2013 Registered User Posts: 2,528 Senior Member
    I had a visceral reaction while reading you post similar to that of @GA2012MOM. I assume you're not looking to cause that type of feeling. Keep in mind, success is more likely if the people around you actually like you.
  • dividerofzerodividerofzero Registered User Posts: 547 Member
    @CHD2013‌ Thanks for the suggestion. I actually had a similar visceral reaction while writing it; this post was kind of my Suzy Lee Weiss moment. It might represent me, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't.
  • CHD2013CHD2013 Registered User Posts: 2,528 Senior Member
    I think that's a good comparison :)
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 28,310 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    It's not the lack of STEM leadership, it may be the fact everything major-related that you cite is competition based. With all the cracks about resume beefing or vapid research, I assume you wanted to show you had earned any success, but EECS can look for robotics and other activities that show you also gained the cooperative mindset, experienced that sort of project teamwork/support, and understand how progress can come in its own ebb and flow pattern. Plus you admit procrastination. And that you would cheat and are arrogant.

    I'd suggest you act on this supposed knowledge of yourself. Take yourself in hand and quit delaying. Do the ground work to understand expectations. Maybe you've lurked longer. But I still don't think you quite understand how apps are reviewed, what the top, competitive schools actually expect to come through. I would have advised you to pore over the college's admissions websites to understand what they say they look for.

    Congrats on CMU, excellent school, use it wisely. Rather than look backward, look forward. In parts of the CE world, arrogance is tolerated. But it has to be backed up by performance and a share of team attitude- which most definitely doesn't include procrastination. I'm familiar with college apps for engineering.

    ps. If it's any consolation, Texas generates many highly competitive STEM applications to top colleges. You may have had an issue with geographical diversity, depending on where you live and who else from your area or sub-area applied. Also, Rice is so unpredictable, I'd call it a win, too.
  • dividerofzerodividerofzero Registered User Posts: 547 Member
    edited June 2014
    Thanks. The competition/cooperation thing actually did come up, and I did spent a while browsing their admissions blogs but I guess that wasn't enough since my understand when I wrote this post is pretty evidently flawed- even looking back at it from now.

    Also, I didn't exactly say I would cheat- at least not literally. I was just frustrated because I didn't believe there was a way to succeed in the applications process without what I saw as "cheating"- exaggerating aspects of your life to create hooks and manufacturing a fake personality for the sake of getting in.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 28,310 Senior Member
    The cooperative experience can matter very much in engineering. As well as being someone others want to - and can - work with. Also, about resume beefing or vapid research, I don't usually care how or why a kid came to those experiences, as long as he or she pursued it and did somehow participate. Even lite "research" responsibilities are still experience in the milieu. HS kids should be open to that. It will likely be a little different in college, where you'll be expected to hit the ground running and make a contribution. But understand that you don't have this prior experience to show, if you do go for a research position in college- or an internship- if they want that. So, mind the interpersonal skills. Don't swing the pendulum to the other side, just be sensitive to what others need from you. Make this a turning point. Again, CMU is super.

    And bless the blogs, especially MITs, but I meant the actual official wording by the schools.
  • dividerofzerodividerofzero Registered User Posts: 547 Member
    True, but we didn't exactly have a FIRST team at school. But we definitely have a nice robotics club at CMU- and I already contacted them a week ago. A lot of cooperative opportunities that weren't present in HS (which I didn't know about) will exist in college, so that'll be fun.

    Ah, the official wording was useful too but it seemed pretty canned. I did find Johns Hopkins' stuff pretty useful, though. I read it in October, though, so that wasn't exactly enough time to change anything but presentation. Ah well.
  • spuding102spuding102 Registered User Posts: 563 Member
    Interesting post. Congrats on CMU and Rice. I am really shocked that with those grades you didn't hit those match schools like Johns Hopkins. It seems like your "soft" factors were off like you're letters of rec and essays. For other applicants-do your homework and make sure to write specific essays that really speak about you.

    Best of luck in CMUs excellent program
  • dividerofzerodividerofzero Registered User Posts: 547 Member
    Yeah, my soft factors were probably off, although it's a bit confusing because the essays that I put the least work into (scholarships, CMU) ended up getting me the best results. As for LoR's, I was kind of limited in choices and one of my teachers ended up turning them in during February :/

    But definitely it's a testament about how not doing homework hurts an applicant. I know another 2400, though, who only had UT and Rice, so it could be other stuff as well.
  • scholarmescholarme Registered User Posts: 2,546 Senior Member
    Congrats at being admitted to CMU! The FA you mentioned is merit aid? Congrats at that too.
    You sound very smart & ambitious; be ready now to work hard and be meticulous about preparation.
    You will be surrounded by other smart & ambitious students at CMU, good luck to you!
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