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Introducing a New Expert Content Section: Careers!

SHA - Tips for application..

disneydatkneedisneydatknee Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
To start off with an intro: I primarily wanted to do something with medicine or computers because that's where the money is at, but many of my family members and friends warned me not to focus on something just for the dollar signs, and they are right. I can't see myself drawing blood or typing endless hours of code just to earn more zeros in my paycheck. Hospitality is something I've always adored quite honestly, I say hospitality at school and people say it's a dumb degree. But heck with that, I want to do something I love and would enjoy for the rest of my life...

Back to the real reason why I'm posting. I would like to attend Cornell's SHA.

Male, Georgia, Hispanic,

My GPA is currently a 4.36 (school adds +1 for AP/IB/DE, but nothing for honors). Unweighted is a 3.95 (One B).

AP: Human Geography, World History, U.S. History, English Language,
IB: French HL Year One, Spanish HL Year One, Math Studies SL, Biology HL Year One,
Honors: 10th Grade Lit, 9th Grade Lit, Biology, Chemistry, Accelerated A & B Math,
"Regular": French 1, 2, 3, Spanish 1, 2, 3, Precalculus, Government (Half Semester)

Next Year
AP: Spanish Language, French Language, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, AP Calculus AB,
IB: Biology HL Year Two,
DE: Composition II, Intro to Psychology (Summer Class), Intro to Sociology (Summer Class),
Regular: Chinese I

ACT: 32 (February) - Retaking in June and aiming for a 34.
SAT II: Taking Math 1 and Biology E in June

Work Experience:
* My mom was diagnosed with cancer during winter break, so I've been managing two vacation homes (one for a friend of my mom's) in Florida (we would sell it, but it's worth less than the mortgage) on behalf of her on AirBnb & HomeAway. I book reservations for all guests, organize maintenance schedules, pay bills, deal with complaints, etc.. My father doesn't know how to use a computer (he's old school), so it's my responsibility. My mom insists to pay me, but I do it to support our family.
* I was a tutor for kids in Elementary at a local franchise for a period of five months (center closed in January).
* I run a concession stand in the south of Atlanta with my brother seasonally, usually just 4 days a year.
* I'm not sure if this counts, but I do have a YouTube channel where I make room tours of the cruises I go on with my grandmother.

I will get a job soon at a restaurant or a store, hopefully, and I'm going to inquire about shadowing at some of the local hotels. I was actually going to work at Old Navy starting in January, but I had to quit before my training to take care of my mom.

I think that fact that I take two languages and taking both AP French and AP Spanish next year shows something about me? I'm half Cuban, but I never really learned Spanish, so I started all the way from Spanish 1. I do have reading/listening advantages, I just couldn't grasp talking when I was little. I'm improving day by day. I have a 98 in IB French Year One surprisingly, but a 91 in IB Spanish Year Two.

One of our family friends went to Cornell and he said he would write me a letter of recommendation, but I don't know if that really means anything.

My income is shot right now as both of my parents are not working and it won't be returning ever. My mom brought most of the dough into our family, but now we get 40% of her income in disability checks and my dad makes about 20% in disability checks. We have savings, but I don't really know what we are going to do anymore. My FAFSA will definitely not show our income levels, so I will definitely have to appeal and file special circumstances (anyone have experience) My mom was moved to hospice this past week, so I'm trying to get my college plans worked out. I want to give a her a plan of my future before she passes. I really want to make my mom proud.

I know this a lot to ask of anyone on this board, but does anyone have any tips to improve my future application (besides ACT scores)? Or do I really have a chance to get in.

Thank you.

Replies to: SHA - Tips for application..

  • disneydatkneedisneydatknee Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    edited April 14
    Forgot to Add my Extracurriculars:
    National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, French Honor Society, Beta Club, Key Club,

    I'm VP of Beta Club, Treasurer of Key Club, and an Officer for French Honor Society.

    Also: I don't know how I'm going to put this in my application, but I did manage to get my grandmother out of $10,000 in credit card debt in a period of one year...

    Also: Some of you may have noticed that I take a weird combination of IB and AP. I was in the Diploma Program, but dropped out as I could not take IB French and IB Spanish (conflict in schedules) and I would have to take IB Chemistry... No thanks.
  • 18butterflies18butterflies Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @disneydatknee Personally, I'd say that you have a great chance of getting in. Your course rigor is something that Cornell looks for -- challenging and diverse. Your GPA is also REALLY amazing :) Taking hard classes is one thing, but doing well is more impressive, so nice job!

    You also have demographics going for you. Hispanics and African-American students are sought after in the admissions process, and your scores boost that for you. Also, it's good that you aren't international. They prefer to accept American citizens.

    As for your ACT, I'd say it's fine. 32 on the ACT is approximately 1470-1480, which is Cornell's 50th percentile. If you do take it again, make sure that all sections (that can be improved) improve to show growth, rather than just one section. This is really important.

    Your EC's are good. It looks like you have a lot of leadership roles in your school, which is something Cornell and Ivies in general really tend to like. In your application, emphasize the work you put into leadership roles and how it has shaped you!

    It looks like you really like Cornell. This is a good thing, since when you apply, you have to write an essay with the prompt of "Why Cornell?" which Cornell admissions officers put a lot of emphasis on. They tend to admit students who know a lot about the history of their school and generally are well-versed on their school.

    For this essay, make sure you talk about visiting campus (if you have visited), attending their summer programs (I know their architecture program is completely free for students from underrepresented minorities who apply for and get the Cornell Future Architect Award), how their campus makes you feel, what you hope to gain from Cornell, etc.

    If there's one thing I'd suggest you do if you can afford it would be to attend their summer programs. They are somewhat selective (anyone with a GPA of 3.0 or above and a good recommendation letter can definitely get in) with their admission, but attendance to that program is pretty much gold for their "Why Cornell?" essay.

    They also give (some decent) financial aid to those who apply early, so if you can't apply this year, apply next year in early January. Applications for this summer are due May 1 if I'm not wrong. The programs are 3-week and 6-week, and are around $6,000 and $12,000 respectively. It's a lot, I know, but it's REALLY helpful in their admissions process for showing interest (and you get to study at Cornell!). Here's the link for the list of all their programs. There are some hospitality ones. https://www.sce.cornell.edu/sc/programs/courses3wk.php --> (I'll be attending their summer program this summer for six weeks, so if you have any general questions about applying or anything then let me know and I'd be happy to answer them).

    I don't know how much you've looked into their website, but Cornell SHA (and all schools) post a lot of demographic information on their page. I looked into it and I saw that approximately 50 of their third-year SHA students participate in their study abroad opportunities. In the "Why Cornell?" essay, you could possibly discuss your interest in studying abroad in either South America or Europe since your high school coursework put some emphasis on French and Spanish. It once again shows a LOT of interest in the school and that you have done your due diligence of research and scouring their website :-)

    I'm not really sure how far you are in the admissions process or what year in school you are in, but if you are a junior this year then start early on the essays. The prompts for Common Application have already released, so get some ideas about what you want your personal statement to be about. I think that you could potentially write about how your life has been impacted because of your family situations. You want this essay to have meaning. It's usually the first thing that admissions officers look at, and first impressions matter!!

    The prompt for the supplemental essay for SHA from last year was "The global hospitality industry includes hotel and foodservice management, real estate, finance, entrepreneurship, marketing, technology, and law. Describe what has influenced your decision to study business through the lens of hospitality. What personal qualities make you a good fit for SHA?" This is traditionally limited to 650 words.

    This prompt usually varies SLIGHTLY from year to year, but now would be a great time to start thinking about some things that you can include in this essay (managing your summer home in Florida would be PERFECT for this, running the concession stand [foodservice experience as outlined in the prompt], and if you get a job where you interact with people on a daily basis, include that as well). Luckily for you, your work experience is perfectly aligned with your major of interest, so make sure that you add in information about why you decided on these jobs, what it does for you, etc. They are also looking for something tied to academics in this essay, and I liked the bit about taking French and Spanish for hospitality, so discuss that!

    Also, I was looking on the Cornell SHA website, and saw that you could email student ambassadors from SHA. I'd suggest doing that because Cornell is known to track demonstrated interest and if you are on a first-name basis with some of the student ambassadors or the admissions committee, that'll help your chances of getting in. The ambassador email is: [email protected] . I HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend contacting them. Maybe talk about how you really want to attend and ask them what they did in high school that prepared them for their application process, admission to Cornell, and eventual difficulty in courseload. Also, ask them about the study abroad opportunities if you're interested, and add it to your "Why Cornell?" essay.

    As for recommendation letters, I would not recommend that you ask your family friend who has attended. This might look faked or forced, and you certainly don't want anything that could hurt your chances. Ask two teachers (one humanities and one STEM teacher) for recommendations and maybe a third person who has seen you work (a boss, someone who you know well, etc.) and knows useful information about you like work ethic, passion, interest in Cornell, etc. It's up to you on the family friend, but I don't think it'll help you as much as it'll hurt you.

    Finally, when you send in an application, contact the admissions office and ask for an interview. It once again shows interest (see a pattern here? Haha Cornell LOVES seeing interest) and you want to be able for the school to see your personality.

    Sorry for the REALLY long post, but I hope it helps! You have a great chance of getting in based on interest, scores, and coursework. Just make sure your essays are awesome and you'll get in!

    Also, props to you for choosing a career that interests you and not one of the mainstream moneymaking ones!
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