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SCEA: Helping Me Decide

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Replies to: SCEA: Helping Me Decide

  • menloparkmommenloparkmom 12458 replies539 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "Arguing a "diversity" angle along the lines of I worked hard in spite of not needing to while surrounded by others who didn't work hard is a recipe for disaster.:"

    BINGO.
    OP, what you dont seem to want to accept is that @lookingforward , like a lot of old timers like me, have seen many kids who think "top colleges will make an exception for me", and then find out in April that, no, they won't, because there are too many OTHER students who DID manage to get great grades in HS, despite experiencing TRUE hardships, because their applications reflect their years of hard work, not excuses.
    And FYI- at the most competitive colleges, the admissions officers who read applications are looking for students who they can REJECT, NOT who to accept.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33456 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 10
    "but your advice seems to not apply to me." Oh yes, it does. People don't get into tippy tops for believing they are what CC calls "special snowflakes."

    I said, "little peer interactions of the sort most hs kids do with a top college in mind. You answered, in part, "I would argue that my peer interactions are incredible." (We aren't talking about hangng with friends.) "I'm writing this in a small living room with eight other family members. There isn't much difference between talking with peers or talking with extended family members that you haven't seen often." Oh yes, there is a difference.

    "I am not going to be changing my entire persona and lifestyle to try and improve my application." Well, the tippy top collges are not going to change their expectations, either. It's the other way around. You need to meet what they want. Not change your persona (a common barb kids throw out,) but rise to the bars they set. That's more than turning around a bad 9th grade situation. It's not even what the big essay is meant to discuss.
    edited July 10
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I must have phrased my original thread poorly if everyone is assuming that I am trying to argue the academic-diversity angle. I absolutely don't think that my work is anything special or deserving of anything more than any other applicant. That's so important to understand, so it's unfortunate that I didn't communicate that well.

    When I mentioned diversity, I was specifically saying how my living situation-- not academic situation-- can potentially help me because it will offer some diversity... "How many applicants will be from a small rural part of northern Canada?"

    I have absolutely no excuses because I don't think I have anything to give an excuse for. I do not think I have faced hardships. This is not the message I wanted to send, so I am sorry that I did.


    To clarify, here is the message I was trying to send to lookingforward:

    "You have to exceed expectations." I did that because my expectations from everyone in my life was to dropout.

    "...triumped despite challenges (context,) is remarkable for what they have done, for themselves/their academics..." Here is where I messed up a little bit; I granted that in the earlier response. My challenges were far easier than most people who rely on personal context, but I still had some form of challenge that is represented in my application, so wouldn't Stanford's evaluation process be better for me, albeit slightly, than something like Harvard?

    Stanford, a school that reveals they look heavily into personal context, could be a good bet for me compared to other top schools. This doesn't mean I have gained admission or anything even close to that, but it still could be a better choice for me than other top schools, which was the point of this thread before it got moved.


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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Quick disclaimer that might help clear some things up:
    I am not trying to do everything I can to get into the top schools. I'm not even trying to get into these 'tippy-tops.' What I am trying to do is finish up my list by finding a few dreams that would be worth putting my ED/SCEA towards. Since I don't necessarily want to commit my parent's 400k towards a school that isn't top-50 or so, I want to make sure I ED at a place that would be 100% worth the money for us. That would be something like Stanford, Brown, Northwestern, Penn, etc. There is no disadvantage to applying early to one of these schools, so I want to figure out which one. I know I'm worse than most applicants, I am riding a small wave of personality, story, interest, diversity, good essays, and cool events in my life that just might sway adcoms. It probably won't, as I've been reminded many times, but there's no reason for me not to do this.

    @lookingforward
    Oh yes, it does. People don't get into tippy tops for believing they are what CC calls "special snowflakes."
    I don't think I am a special snowflake and I don't think I will get into tippy tops. It's a hail marry shot that I am taking because I am technically qualified. As evident by my constant reminders in every single comment, my expectations are extremely low for top school admissions. It's reached the point where nothing can really be done.

    I'm not that concerned with getting into tippy tops. This isn't what this is about. I don't think that characterization of "special snowflakes" is fair. I don't think I'm better than any other applicant. I am just a rural applicant who has the stats but not necessarily the ECs and instead has an interesting story/background and demonstrated values that might convince one adcom somewhere to accept him.

    Is it a long shot? Absoluteellllyyy. I want to take it, though ;)


    "I said, "little peer interactions of the sort most hs kids do with a top college in mind. You answered, in part, "I would argue that my peer interactions are incredible." (We aren't talking about hangng with friends.) "I'm writing this in a small living room with eight other family members."

    My mistake.

    "There isn't much difference between talking with peers or talking with extended family members that you haven't seen often." Oh yes, there is a difference."

    I would strongly disagree, but I understand that adcoms could think so. Sorry for approaching that incorrectly (personally, instead of academically).

    "I am not going to be changing my entire persona and lifestyle to try and improve my application." Well, the tippy top collges are not going to change their expectations, either. It's the other way around. You need to meet what they want. "

    This ideology is for a typical forum-er and applicant, which is understandable. I'm not saying that I'm that special snowflake, therefore I should be accepted. I'm saying that I am unwilling to change my entire life to try and get into those colleges. Some might be. I am not. If that alone is the deciding factor in whether I get into a top school, then I can live with that. I am not, however, willing to tell my entire family to pack their bags and move back to the city for months while I do some volunteer work that is completely fake. To clarify, I am willing to grow and expand myself, but I will not put my family through all of that.

    My college application will be this way around for these reasons. I will find colleges that meet my expectations, then I will hope I meet theirs as well. If not, then I have a ton of safeties to fall back on. I don't think that a college education decides my success. Plus, I want to become an entrepreneur-- I always have-- so it's not like I need a top name to get good jobs. I'm looking for a place where I can be encouraged and motivated by similarly-minded people, where I can grow with peers, and where I can learn the basics for what I want to do in my life (product design / entrepreneurship).

    I truly do appreciate all of the time and I apologize for my apparent aggressive and argumentative tone. It was not, and was never, my intention. It's just how I write online because I thought that holding back a lot meant adding a lot of confussion.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33456 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 11
    "You have to exceed expectations." I did that because my expectations from everyone in my life was to dropout That's not what exceeding tippy top college's expectations means. You exceeded your parents' expectations.

    You misread Stanford. ALL top colleges look at context. Your "achievements" are not, once again, overcoming the family's disbelief in you. The next thing they do is look for what YOU then did that takes you beyond the narrow box. Not just grades. Not just a few good deeds or helping when vistors come. What have you done, what ECs, and so on? What will they see as your impact, as the collges want it?

    You helped with some docks. You have social friends. Not tips. Overcame parent predictions, not a tip.

    It's as if you're looking for short clauses, like "personal context" and stopping there. I translated it for you. If you had taken advantage of the "city" a couple of hours away, or some regional program, etc, etc, this whole picture would be different.

    Stanford has among the highest standards in admission. Try to think this through without the rual factor, parents, or improved grades. Try to imagine the hundreds of kids applying from Canada who also live in a non-city/non-suburban setting and what they were able to do, over 4 years.
    edited July 11
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @lookingforward
    I'm clearly in the wrong here, but I may as well explain my line of thinking to everyone so that we can both benefit here.

    "You have to exceed expectations." I did that because my expectations from everyone in my life was to dropout That's not what exceeding tippy top college's expectations means. You exceeded your parents' expectations.

    I feel like you just took the personal context out of personal context. Tippy top college's expectations of people within their personal context, is what you are saying, correct? Regardless, I had a pretty trash context that I really turned around. That might not be as appealing as a homeless man starting up a business and becoming a millionaire, but I still think it's pretty impressive to the point where it could help me a tiny bit in my application.

    Again, I can't really change my ECs and I already have low expectations-- what is trying to be accomplished here? This isn't a rhetorical question, I genuinely think I am missing something. I already mentioned plenty of times that I have extremely low expectations and I'm consistently told that it's too late for me to add ECs to the point that they make an impact. So, what is being accomplished here? It seems like I'm saying 'ya I'm going to go for this, no point not to' and everyone is jumping on me and telling me that I don't have what it takes and you have to do x to get in, but you can't even do x. I mean, I have the stats, I have the money, I have the time, I have the low expectations, I say to you again, why shouldn't I apply and try it out? It's not like my family and I already bought a house in Palo Alto. It's not like I have any expectations, let alone high expectations.


    "It's as if you're looking for short clauses, like "personal context" and stopping there. I translated it for you. If you had taken advantage of the "city" a couple of hours away, or some regional program, etc, etc, this whole picture would be different."

    It probably seems this way because this is a thread on personal context and Stanford. I wanted to focus on this one aspect of the application because this isn't a chance me.

    I'm about to get really offtopic here, so maybe if you want to respond to this specifically, a PM would probably be best..
    When you say "some regional program," I get extremely thrown off on what is good and what isn't for ECs. I mean, I made a wakesurf board, I built weights for our boat and spent weeks finicking with it, I built a wakeshaper after prototyping it a bunch, I volunteered in the community, I put in a total of 30 docks and then took another 30 out all in 50-degree water without being told or even asked to do so, I pack and unpack a car-load full of stuff nearly every week, all while doing summer school. I've reached a loss here. If I was on the committee, I would take this stuff over some regional program or internship any day of the week, yet you say that it's if I did stuff like those I would be in better shape.

    If we want to get productive here, I would love to hear any tips you have for me to do during the next few months before applications. Specifically, what I could do at my cottage. I've asked this question numerous times but you don't seem to like it because I think we both know that not much can be done in my community (at this point) to impress adcoms.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33456 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 11
    FakeName, none of "context" means you get to stop there. Not limited "witin their personal context," but exceeding that box. The poor Texas border kid who gets an admit didn't get to just amble through high school.

    Nor is it about a homeless guy making a million. The "more" has to be there.

    Who said you can't add ECs? You have 5+ months to 12/31. But haven't gotten anything underway. But on another thread, you asked about starting an online business, etc. Not a tip, for several reasons.

    30 docks? Didn't it start at 2, when you originally mentioned that, a month or so ago? You were asking how cutting fish might help, now it's 30 docks- andin 50 degree water, no less? Nice deed. What else? No one gets into Stanford because they pack and unpack the cars of family/friends. No, if you were on the committee, with 40k apps and slots for about 2k kids.... Stanford isn't looking for kid who put weights on the boat.

    "not much can be done in my community" But you told me there's a family house in the city. You study online, so school is transportable.

    Apply anywhere you wish.
    When you hit the mark, understand the sorts of actions it takes, I will gladly confirm. Meanwhile, I don't think you've moved off the rural context, friends visiting, routine duties.
    edited July 11
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited July 11
    Really can't have it both ways. On one hand you ask:
    "If we want to get productive here, I would love to hear any tips you have for me to do during the next few months before applications."

    Yet you respond to suggestions as follows:
    "Yes, but that's not who I am. I am not going to be changing my entire persona and lifestyle to try and improve my application. "

    The crux of your challenge is summarized in this statement:
    "My expectations were literally to drop out. Nobody expected me to get my grade 12, let alone go to university or apply to top schools. Triumphed despite challenges? Sure, I had three years of failure and embarrassment, yet I continued on with my schooling for another three embarrassing years. Also, I did all of this work in a crappy-internet, lazy, wake-up at noon, distracting environment."

    No school cares about your low expectations they care about the school's standard. Every school does care about three years of academic failure. The goal isn't to apply it is to get accepted. Your environment is no more or less impressive than the poor kid balancing a job while getting good grades or the affluent kid at a pressure cooker prep school. Rarely is a tear shed for those rising above a life of self imposed apathy and leisure (waking at noon) supported by wealth.

    The suggestions have been made. 1) Find a way to show engagement, initiative, etc. 2) Be self aware and introspective when presenting yourself in applications. 3) Learn to listen to constructive advice when offered rather than debate. 4) Seek answers not validation. 5) If you are committed to the statement "not going to change" stop asking for how do I change.

    Sorry to be so direct but your persistence merits a direct response.

    You have spent countless hours on CC. Use this time more productively. Find a way!

    There are no shortcuts and three years of slacking followed by virtue signaling won't get it done. You have a window of time I would suggest using this time productively away from CC.
    edited July 11
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 325 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    @FakeName1332 , reach out to Clarkson 's ad com for international applicants. https://undergrad.clarkson.edu/portal/find_counselor
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Hippobirdy The OP states "I don't necessarily want to commit my parent's 400k towards a school that isn't top-50 ". Unfortunately Clarkson doesn't check that box.

    I believe that is why OP is getting so much push back. Clarkson would likely be an excellent fit given the OPs qualifications. OP however is insisting (under the guise of seeking advice) that his/her "unique" circumstances will (or should) serve to elevate them to Stanford or Brown while discounting advice to seek out more meaningful ECs.
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 325 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited July 11
    Sorry, OP. Meant to suggest OP communicate with admissions counselor at Chapman as suggested by another in this thread. https://www.chapman.edu/admission/undergraduate/contact-us/ali-klein.aspx
    I think Clarkson was suggested to OP in another thread. I agree that Clarkson may be a better fit. OP has such unusual life style with little accountability to third parties. Hard to understand how OP would commit to class attendance or extra curricular activities on a traditional college campus.
    edited July 11
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  • HippobirdyHippobirdy 325 replies1 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited July 11
    At OP, your curriculum is lacking with only two years ASL. Many top schools request 3-4 years of foreign language.
    edited July 11
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6971 replies49 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP - You have a right to apply to whatever reach school you want. What many long time posters are trying to tell you is that your story is most likely not going to be strong enough to overcome your academics and missing course work. Pick the two reach schools you like the best and then focus your time on your match and safeties. Those applications and essays are going to need the same care, time, and attention, if not more.
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  • mamaedefamiliamamaedefamilia 3427 replies23 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @FakeName1332

    Have you heard of Deep Springs College? It's a rigorous, teeny tiny school in California (about 30 students total) - highly selective, two-year program, where students also contribute labor to the working ranch where they live and study. It offers a liberal arts curriculum that provides a lot of coverage across disciplines but not a lot of course choice in any given semester, given the small size of the faculty and student population. It is free. It went co-ed in 2018.

    While I can't say if your academic profile would make the cut, your lifestyle backstory of living cooperatively in close quarters might get the attention of an admissions officer. Graduates typically do very well in transferring to T20 schools for their junior and senior years of college.

    https://www.deepsprings.edu
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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    "Really can't have it both ways. On one hand you ask:
    "If we want to get productive here, I would love to hear any tips you have for me to do during the next few months before applications."

    Yet you respond to suggestions as follows:
    "Yes, but that's not who I am. I am not going to be changing my entire persona and lifestyle to try and improve my application. ""

    I would say that's out of context slightly and poorly worded on my part. In the latter statement, I was talking about how I would have to change everyone's life in my family in order to do something continuous in the city (at this point). You straight up ignored the disclaimer that came exactly after the second quote. I am willing to grow and expand myself, but not at the expense of my entire family. This is the crux of my problem. Everyone seems to respond to my arguments but it's as if they skim read my argument or didn't understand the point. That's my fault as a writer.



    "The suggestions have been made. 1) Find a way to show engagement, initiative, etc. 2) Be self aware and introspective when presenting yourself in applications. 3) Learn to listen to constructive advice when offered rather than debate. 4) Seek answers not validation. 5) If you are committed to the statement "not going to change" stop asking for how do I change."

    I don't know how! How do I show engagement in my community? I can't leave my community because my family lives here and I don't have a car or license to drive home and live there by myself and get an internship, so we would all have to move to the city. I am not willing to get them to do that. They love it up here and they hate it at home. I am willing to change; I'm not willing to change my entire family's lifestyle to something they hate. I think you can understand that.

    I am seeking answers, I just don't understand or think they apply, so I'm trying to figure it out. I think if I was actually just seeking validation I would't bother to reply to these threads. I'm replying because I want to learn about this. I know I'm in the wrong, but I am having a lot of troubles seeing how-- but I am getting there.


    "No school cares about your low expectations they care about the school's standard."

    Thank you for letting me know that. See, after it said "personal context" I assumed that they wouldn't compare me to the standard (in all terms, I mean they have to have some general requirements). I misunderstood personal context-- my mistake.

    "The goal isn't to apply it is to get accepted."
    My goal is to apply. Let me explain. I have already told everyone about my story. I had no expectations growing up and I want to go into entrepreneurship, so I don't want to get into a top school as badly as a lot of applicants do. My goal is just to meet the qualifications to apply and hope that there's someone out there, maybe at Vanderbilt or Northeastern or maybe Tufts, that wants me at their school. The reason why I am asking all of these questions is that I will have some time on my hands and I want to do something that I can add to my application while also getting some more valuable experience in my life.

    I'm not saying that I'm submitting my application as is and there's nothing you guys can do about it. I'm just ruling out the city-option which is continuously suggested.


    "P however is insisting (under the guise of seeking advice) that his/her "unique" circumstances will (or should) serve to elevate them to Stanford or Brown while discounting advice to seek out more meaningful ECs."

    I'm so incredibly disheartened that you think this is what I am saying. I am not insisting anything, I was responding to claims that I didn't have what it takes by responding with why I think I have what it takes. I didn't understand well enough, so I thought lookingforward didn't know enough of my story to make those claims. Ever since that point I've just been defending these claims that make me look like some horrible person.

    I said so many, so many, so many times that I don't think I am better than any applicant at these top schools. Why would you say I think I am elevated to that level? I'm not discounting advice to seek out more meaningful ECs-- I'm trying to figure out what they are. Also, some of the ECs suggested are pretty much impossible for me. It would be similar to suggesting a poor, injured man travel to Africa out of his own pocket and build houses. I can't do it! I'm looking for other meaningful ECs, but there haven't been other suggestions on stuff I can actually do (stuff in my community or online). Still looking here.

    This is four people now who think I'm coming across like this. I have no clue why-- probably my argumentative tone or my long responses of defense... but I have made many disclaimers and clear cut responses where I specifically say something that goes on to be ignored.



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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'll try to go shorter because I don't think that people are reading all of my posts, which is understandable and nobodies fault but my own.

    @mamaedefamilia I appreciate the suggestion, but I do not think I would be comfortable in such a small environment.

    @Hippobirdy
    I'm not too sure how those two relate. I had no accountability, yes, but I also submitted everything on time and had a really detailed self-designed schedule throughout the year that I followed. Although it might seem that way, I'm not sitting around all day saying "oh, when should I do this assignment." I would be super excited to have a classroom setting because I think I would find it far easier to be productive than a living room full of people talking.

    I would love to get into intramurals and some clubs, depending on what the school is. I have a few interests that I am extremely interested in, so I would be excited to be around similar people who could help me get better/learn more about those interests (e.g. wakesurfing, snowmobiling, product design, entrepreneurship).

    @momofsenior1
    I'm taking full APs senior year and I've taken I believe four this year, and I'm doing summer courses. All with straight As. I'm just saying this because I don't know if you have full context when you say "overcome your academics." Regardless, I appreciate the clarification. I'm going to apply to Stanford, Brown, Dartmouth, USC, Vanderbilt, Northeastern, BC, and maybe some more in the states, and then I will worry about matches and safeties in Canada. It appears like I'm really dream-reach heavy, but that's because all my other schools are in Canada and the admissions process is far quicker, meaning I can apply to much more schools.

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  • FakeName1332FakeName1332 201 replies31 threadsRegistered User Junior Member

    @lookingforward
    Okay. I think I understand. It's not how you did in school in relation to your personal context (although, I would imagine that helps a little?), it's how you did in life in general in relation to your personal contexts, and if that life is something interesting to top schools.

    I can definitely add ECs-- I'm looking for some at the moment-- but many people said it's too far gone and adcoms will see that I only did stuff in the final summer or whatever. Again, I need ECs I can do in my community. That's the reality of the situation. I wouldn't say I didn't get anything underway; I started with all that surf stuff because I genuinely thought it would be a good EC. I still don't understand what I can do here.

    30 docks total. I figured that number would be more impressive than four a spring then four a fall. Yes, it's always been 50 degree water. We want to get our boats in as soon as possible because we can start fishing. What else? I don't know! You're telling me what's bad, but I can't figure out what's good.

    You're taking the absolute weakest parts of everything I have done and making an argument out of them. "Stanford isn't looking for the kid who helped clean up his art room," true, but it doesn't hurt and can definitely help paint the bigger picture. I would think anyway. I'm just trying to improve my application while staying in my community.

    So, to get this correct, you are saying that the only possible chance I have is to pack up and move to the city (an impossible likelihood at this moment) and do volunteering and an internship? I can't do that.

    I am trying. I just don't understand what it takes. I'm a rural Canadian kid going into this with absolutely no knowledge of college admissions, you're an expert who has a life revolved around college admissions. I'm not necessarily asking you to cut me some slack, but I want to express that I'm truly not understanding this.

    What ECs can I do in my environment, even if they aren't good enough for Stanford? What can I do apart from all these variables you listed? My application as planned will have an essay talking about my past few years with online school and my lake. I want to emphasize community and my character traits. Then, I have ECs revolved around my community because I can't exactly leave the community. These could definitely be better, but I don't know how. I see so much conflicting advice and I have to figure out which is reliable, which normally results in me selecting the wrong one and getting chastised for it.

    I ask that everyone would take Stanford out of the picture here, and simply help me on my application.
    I have absolutely no clue why this thread was moved. I wanted to have a discussion with the people on the Stanford forum about if SCEA was right for me, but this was moved and turned into a frenzy about my application.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33456 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    No one said you dont have what it takes. They refer to your record not showing that. You've pressed on with academics, but 'leaned back' with the rest.

    You find sound bites, like "personal context" and seem to stop reading. Even when you quote us, it's a few words, not the gist. You repeatedly return to the "no expectations growing up" and miss that "more" is critical. The choices *you* make, outside the seeming limitations, not just the situation.

    They want kids with energy, proven results that speak for themselves. But it has to be relevant to adcoms building a class for that college. We told you repeatedly that existing in a limited environment is not enough. Turning around grades isn't. Being "different " isn't enough.

    "why I think I have what it takes." But you aren't focused on what that truly is.

    " I said... that I don't think I am better than any applicant at these top schools." But you also proclaimed those kids are fake, just do things for their apps, etc.

    That's what it does take.

    I was under the impression, from day one of your posts, and probably pm's. that your family doesn't live at the cottage full time.

    There are kids who strive in every way, bus over an hour to school or an activity. They "lean in." I'm not suggesting you have bus service, dont latch onto that. But they show more determination and follow through.

    This is a "no excuses" world.
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  • Nocreativity1Nocreativity1 1112 replies55 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    OP Really.,."Everyone seems to respond to my arguments but it's as if they skim read my argument or didn't understand the point. That's my fault as a writer."

    I have read them in detail and understand thoroughly your condescension and passive aggression throughout. You are dealing with adults, "my fault" doesn't mitigate the prior words or implied sentiments. We do "understand the point"

    "This is four people now who think I'm coming across like this. I have no clue why-- probably my argumentative tone or my long responses of defense... but I have made many disclaimers and clear cut responses where I specifically say something that goes on to be ignored."

    Agreed you are now being ignored. Good luck.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33456 replies363 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    "how you did in life in general in relation to your personal contexts"
    No. I said how you exceeded (not just schoolwork,) how you triumphed despite limitations. That's not an easy bar, not just that you filled time. The surf stuff is not a tip. Adcoms aren't looking for kids who surf, mow the lawn, walk the neighbor's dog. 50 degree water isn't a tip.

    You aren't the first poster who lives remote. certainly not the first international applicant. How many of those kids overcame everything, without educated parents or enough food on the table, etc, is remarkable. That's determination and deep "leaning in."
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