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AMA: Admitted to Penn (Wharton), Harvard, Columbia, UChicago, etc.

arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
Sophomore bored during quarantine. Ask me anything about the admissions and decisions processes.
edited April 1
19 replies
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Replies to: AMA: Admitted to Penn (Wharton), Harvard, Columbia, UChicago, etc.

  • parkeppuparkeppu 25 replies2 threads Junior Member
    edited March 29
    how's the college life (from a junior in high school who's fed up with life at home and wants to get out asap)
    edited March 29
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    I know this sounds like the standard answer but it really does depend on what you choose to do with your time away. 1) If you just want to get away from home, you will most definitely get that – you will be with plenty of people from so many different cultures and it'll be quite exciting especially if you're not from a big city like NYC/Chicago. 2) Counterintuitively, your family life will almost certainly improve as both parties begin to appreciate each other more. This is a fairly common theme for a lot of people I know. 3) There'll be a ton of opportunities almost no matter where you go, so it's very important (if you care about this stuff) to test out a large variety of clubs Freshman Fall. That way, you'll meet more people, you'll build a better CV for jobs, and you'll feel more secure in what will be a largely foreign environment (I assume).
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  • chimmy2023chimmy2023 1 replies0 threads New Member
    I want to become a doctor. Would Harvard be best for me?
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  • grtd2010grtd2010 1571 replies15 threads Senior Member
    chimmy2023 wrote: »
    I want to become a doctor. Would Harvard be best for me?

    Apply to very competitive BS/MD programs if you are a high school junior in senior year. You will find out how difficult it is. Harvard does not have a bs/md program.
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  • user_743245user_743245 12 replies1 threads New Member
    Chance me at Princeton/Yale! (Chemistry Major)
    I'm an international student
    Currently a junior at a private school on a full scholarship
    4.0 Unweighted GPA
    Full IB program
    (was planning on doing the SAT this March but it was cancelled, but from practice tests i'd say i'd get 1500+)
    My school doesn't rank but I'm guessing im in the top 20/400

    Extracurriculars:
    Chemistry internship with the top professor in my local university (I conduct experiments and help with the research)
    I founded my own club/nonprofit organization in which we fundraise and donate the money to vulnerable children
    I co-founded a recycling environmental project that aims to reach the SDG goals of the UN
    I've been doing Model UN for 2 years
    I'm in a Varsity Rugby Team

    And that's all! I have a few other ECs but these are the main ones!
    Thank you!
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  • Tenn_FoodTenn_Food 24 replies0 threads Junior Member
    @arcticmonkey22 How do I make my Common App essay standout? I feel like I do not have one specific life-changing moment. Thanks!
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    Hi @user_743245, here are my two cents (keep in mind this is not objective and the admissions process is unpredictable).

    1. Your grades seem fine, nothing incredible. Specifically, some importance might be placed on what IB subjects you chose (e.g., which ones are HL or SL?). SAT 1500+ would be expected and top 20/400 could be a little low for top ivies (emphasis on 'could'). Since your academics aren't your hook (i.e., no IMO gold medal/Science Fair win/Significant research/etc.), you just need to pass a barrier to prove that you can handle the intellectual rigor of Princeton or Yale classes. If you want some numbers, I'm guessing 42+ IB predicted, 1520+ SAT, Top 10/15.

    2. It's great that you've founded different clubs/projects but you're gonna have to show a lot more here. This is to say that your ECs must have weight behind them -- anyone can start a club but not many can start an organization that delivers water to 20,000 kids. If we're gonna be harsh, MUN for two years/rugby are pretty useless if you have no leadership role there.

    3. It seems like the Chemistry research you're doing is quite interesting -- hopefully you build on that and maybe mention it in your essays. At a glance, you don't have any significant hooks so your chances will depend heavily on your essays/recommendations/profile. I don't know much about you and a Lithuanian vs. a kid from Singapore/someone who grew up homeless vs. someone who had every resource will have very different chances.

    Conclusion: Grades are acceptable, ECs not strong enough for a hook, so your essays/recs/profile will play a big role. So will luck.
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    @Tenn_Food Hey, a lot of people think they need life-changing moments for good Common App essays. You don't. One of the best college essays out there is by this girl who talks about her experience walking through Costco (https://www.businessinsider.com/high-school-senior-who-got-into-5-ivy-league-schools-shares-her-admissions-essay-2016-4).

    I actually just looked back at my essays and cringed a little -- no doubt I would have done them differently now. Key tips: Focus on a point -- what are you trying to tell the admissions officer? How will you get this point across? They don't have much time with your application, so how will you capture their attention? Don't overuse the thesaurus, no one cares what big words you know. Write truthfully with as little useless embellishment as possible unless you're an incredible writer. Read a lot and look at how professional authors write so naturally... you'll see the difference when you compare Ishiguro to the Common App essays that get submitted by average HS kids.
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    chimmy2023 wrote: »
    I want to become a doctor. Would Harvard be best for me?

    @chimmy2023 Not necessarily, there's a lot of great pre-med programs in the country (Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Penn, Columbia, Duke, UNC, Cornell). You most certainly can be a great doctor without going to any specific Ivy/college. Look in to dual degree programs too, they're rigorous but impressive.
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  • user_743245user_743245 12 replies1 threads New Member
    @arcticmonkey22 Thank you so much for your reply! Let me clear up a few things.

    As for the SAT, I wouldn't worry too much because so far, I've done over 7 practice tests and gotten 1570-1600 on all of them so I think I'm good.
    As for the ranking, my school does NOT rank so colleges will not receive this information and I'm guessing I'm 5/400 but I didn't want to assume too much so I just said that im in the top 20.
    As for ECs, keep in mind that I come from an under developed country with little to no opportunities and activities for highschoolers. For example, for my chemistry internship, I practically had to convince the professor for hours to let me in as internships are uncommon and essentially nonexistent for highschoolers over here. On top of that, I am a low income student on a full merit scholarship at the best private school in my country and I've taken every opportunity I could. I was the first in my highschool to EVER start a club and the first in my country to fund raise to donate to underprivileged children from refugees along with tutoring and providing them with essential materials (as these refugees are extremely disregarded over here). Also, you mentioned science fairs and all that. However, we do not have any science competitions, honors and all that over here.
    As for my IB subjects, I'm taking the most rigorous combination and I'm still managing to get a 4.0 GPA. My HL subjects are Chemistry, Psychology, Biology and English while my SL subjects are Math AA and Language B. My predicted score is a 43/45 (maybe a 44/45 im not sure)

    Thank you so much for replying to our posts. I appreciate it :)
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    @user_743245

    Hey, glad you found it useful. Like I said in my third point, your profile is probably going to be very important for your application. The fact that you have accomplished what you have as a student from an underdeveloped country with very little opportunities is no doubt impressive -- this will be taken into account by the admissions officers. Your grades will likely also receive a bump given where you're from. If this is a country that historically sends very little people to Ivies i.e., Syria vs. South Korea, then your chances will go up further. Of course, this information is purely based on my experiences with applications and with studying at an Ivy college. Now, make sure your strengths are emphasized throughout your common app and put a lot of time into your essays (you should have first drafts by September for regular decision apps). Trust me, it's easy to mess up a great application (grades, ECs, recs) with a bad or average essay. It seems like you're well prepared, so good luck on everything and don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.
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  • user_743245user_743245 12 replies1 threads New Member
    edited April 13
    @arcticmonkey22 Thanks again for your reply! I'm considering applying early to either Princeton or Yale.
    Princeton has been my dream university for years now, however, I've heard that they don't admit that many internationals ED. What do you think? Should I go for it?
    edited April 13
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    @arcticmonkey22 Thanks again for your reply! I'm considering applying early to either Princeton or Yale.
    Princeton has been my dream university for years now, however, I've heard that they don't admit that many internationals ED. What do you think? Should I go for it?

    @user_743245 The classic problem with ED/SCEA is that the early pool is much stronger than the RD pool in the sense that kids who apply early to Ivy+ are athletes, donors, legacies, priority admits, etc. These kids apply knowing they'll get in. So even though Princeton's SCEA rate is around 19%, that is inflated heavily. I personally did not apply to Princeton but this was communicated to me about Harvard, Stanford, Penn, and Columbia so I applied to those during RD. However, if it really really is your dream school, I think you might regret not applying to Princeton early. If you don't get in during RD, you'll always think: what if? My advice is – if you truly want to go to Princeton, just apply SCEA. If you get in, great. If you get deferred, wait. If you don't get in, who cares – at least you tried. Don't forget that the pool is arguably even more competitive despite a higher admit rate though.
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  • user_743245user_743245 12 replies1 threads New Member
    @arcticmonkey22 Makes sense! Thank you!!
    Did you apply to any school early?
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  • xqk5jsxqk5js 26 replies0 threads Junior Member
    Did you have any business extracurriculars when applying to Wharton?
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  • happylearner27happylearner27 5 replies0 threads New Member
    classic question: what were your stats and Ec's ?
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    edited May 27
    @arcticmonkey22 Makes sense! Thank you!!
    Did you apply to any school early?

    @user_743245 No, all RD.
    edited May 27
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    xqk5js wrote: »
    Did you have any business extracurriculars when applying to Wharton?

    @xqk5js Yes, my profile was very well tailored to Wharton. I can't provide too many details but 1) actually led a national level charity event backed by two very notable companies and raised six figures USD 2) founded and led finance/economics society at school 3) slightly unrelated but I also had a ton of debate/public speaking that were applicable to 'business'
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  • arcticmonkey22arcticmonkey22 9 replies2 threads New Member
    classic question: what were your stats and Ec's ?

    @happylearner27 IB 45 predicted, ACT 35, SATII PCM 2400. EC's were heavily related to leadership/charity/debate on national levels.
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