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Recommendations for a 2014 ED Applicant

PersonaVallPersonaVall 1 replies4 threads New Member
I am a junior, who will be graduating in 2015

So these are my stats:

GPA: 4.9 weighted, 3.9 unweighted
SAT: 2190 (710 Reading, 680 Math, 800 Writing) (I am taking another SAT to improve my Math and Reading scores)
PSAT: 228
ACT: 34 Composite (35 English, 35 Math, 35 Reading, Science 32, Writing 9)

9th Grade:
World History (4)

10th Grade:
European History (5)
Spanish Language (4)

11th Grade (No AP Tests taken yet):
Spanish Literature
English Language
U.S. History


3 years volleyball (1 on varsity)
1 year basketball
2 years yearbook (1 as editor)
2 years Junior Statesmen of America (1 as boardmember)
3 years Science National Honors Society (1 as boardmember)
2 years Academic Decathalon (Team Captain)
2 years Quiz Bowl (Starting Player and Vice President)
1 year Magic Club (Founder and President)

Job Experience:
Freelance writer published on Bleacher Report 22 times
Staff writer for animation review website
In the process of publishing a light novel with a Japanese publisher
Internship with California State Assemblymember, worked in PR and media
Upcoming internship with CAUSE (An Asian Business League), working in PR and media
Hired as a stage magician for birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, etc.

Volunteer Work:
100+ for local volunteer organization
Founder of Cards for Kids, a local volunteer organization involving teaching magic to elementary school children
3-5 Hours a week volunteering at a local senior home, preforming magic for assisted living patients, with one large monthly show

Boys State Delegate
Leading Scorer for Academic Decathlon, 5th highest score in school history
AP Scholar with Distinction

Ethnicity: Asian
Gender: Male

Does anyone have any recommendations for what I could do to help my application stand out?

I am family friends with the former Deputy District Attorney and a current California State Assemblymember, so should I try to get a letter of recommendation out of him? The internship I mentioned above was with him, and I've known him personally for my entire life, so he would probably have a lot to say about me.

Also, my parents know someone on the Board of Trustees at Amherst. Does anyone know if those kinds of connections are actually helpful or not? The person we know said she would put in a good word for me if I needed it, but I am dubious as to how much that could help.

Please, any help or advice would be greatly appreciated!
5 replies
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Replies to: Recommendations for a 2014 ED Applicant

  • avisreaavisrea 16 replies2 threads New Member
    edited February 2014
    Because your scores and grades are all within the range Amherst tends to accept, I recommend you refine the focus of your application more so that it matches your interests and personality. Having a lot of extracurriculars is definitely impressive, but if they don't have anything to do with your intended major and course of study, admission offices would just be confused by the purpose of your extracurriculars.

    So I'd suggest for you to only get the letter of recommendation from the Deputy District Attorney if you're field of interest would benefit from that.

    Also, try to divide the focus of your essays and letters of recommendation so that there aren't too many overlaps. For instance, what I did during my applications was not mention my extracurriculars in my personal statement because my teachers could emphasize that enough. In my personal statement, I successfully demonstrated my personality and motivations, and in my Amherst supplement, I discussed my interests (humanities: sociology, art history, and literature).

    Hopefully this was helpful! Feel free to ask any more questions if you want.

    edited February 2014
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  • ScopemonkeyScopemonkey 18 replies2 threads New Member
    I think that it is also worth asking a very pointed question to Amherst College Admissions----for the Class of 2018, 169 out of 476 ED applicants were accepted, 37 were deferred, and the remainder rejected. After legacies, athletes, and underrepresented minorities (including First family member attending college), and perhaps even factoring in geographic distribution, what is the likelihood that someone from a typically well-represented state (i.e. MA, NY, CA), even someone with tremendous credentials, will be accepted ED? Aye, therein lies the rub. Certainly, reach for the stars, apply ED where you really want to go, but in such a small liberal arts school known for its diversity, there is little wiggle room for ED applicants who don't have any of the first 3 "hooks" listed above. I would wager that other similar small top-rated LA schools (Williams, Swarthmore) have similar track records in ED.
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  • rkooikerrkooiker 19 replies2 threads New Member
    Hmm, I was accepted ED, but I don't have any of the hooks you mentioned. My stats aren't that stellar, I think. Maybe my being an international student from the Netherlands helped?
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  • ScopemonkeyScopemonkey 18 replies2 threads New Member
    Amherst (and other small LACs) love diversity and want to have representation from as many countries as feasible
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  • PersonaVallPersonaVall 1 replies4 threads New Member
    Okay, thanks for the replies. Just to clarify, my areas of interest are mainly concerned with politics and English. I don't know if taking part in a lot of activities that involve writing would constitute an interest in English, but that would be the purpose of most of my activities.

    Magic is something I do on the side, but I have made a business out of it, and created a volunteer organization for it, so I was hoping that it would show my interest in something other than school, because my life basically revolves around writing and magic.

    Do you guys think that it would make me stand out any more from the next applicant? I know that magic isn't really an intellectual pursuit or anything, but it's what I've been doing for the last few years, and what I spend a lot of my free time doing.

    Also, I don't know if my novel will be published by the time I apply, so should I write it down anyways? I'm on a schedule that should have me finishing my manuscript by the end of April, but this is my first novel, and I have no idea how long the publishing process is going to be, since they have to do editing, illustration, and all of that.

    Otherwise, my writing resume is a little weak, other than writing for a few websites, working as a staff writer/ editor for my school yearbook, and doing some political writing during my internship.

    The political side would be coming from my participation in Junior Statesmen of America, my internships, being a Boys State Delegate, and a lobbying position I just found out I received. I've also worked on a few political campaigns as well, and I'm really more interested in the grassroots kind of democracy than anything else.

    Do you guys think that I am really going to draw any interest from Amherst with this? I know that my resume looks a little flimsy, but I'm hoping that the amount of time I put into my activities will outnumber the quantity.
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