Hi all! I have a similar post to this already, but I wanted to do an updated one. I got deferred from Yale REA (which is quite fine actually, I grew more disenchanted with the school as I waited for the decision). I am starting to get really excited about RD applications! I don’t think I am going to apply ED2 anywhere, as there are a bunch of schools I am particularly interested in. I would say my top choices, in no particular order, are Vassar, Oberlin, Brown, Sarah Lawrence, NYU, Harvard, and Amherst.
Background: I go to a pretty small high school (700-800 students) in Maine. I am white, economically privileged, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I will apply and have already applied with interests in the music/performing arts and education studies/political science fields.
This is where I think my application is the weakest (particularly SAT). While my stats are pretty good, they are not in the typical “Ivy League student” range.
SAT: 1440 (720 / 720)
GPA: ~98/100 Unweighted (Straight A’s), ~102.5/100 Weighted (my school does weird weighting)
Class Rank: Top 10% (my school only does decile ranking, so this is the best rank you can get)
Course-load: I basically took the hardest course load offered to me at my school. I took Honors or AP options for all my core classes (with the exception of doing regular physics senior year, because let’s be honest - physics sucks lol), and will finish schools with 6 APs (which is considered a bunch for my school).
I think this is one of the stronger parts of my application. There are some unique positions so I will try concisely explain them.
I have danced in my dance studio for 6 years, and trained in numerous styles (contemporary, hip hop, ballet, jazz, latin ballroom, and Bollywood). My dance teacher just recently made a principle dancer group made up of six dancer to take on more advanced choreography and training, and I was one of them!
I think one thing that make me stand out in the applicant pool is my acceptance to the AMDA High School Summer Conservatory for performing arts. They are super selective, I was one among 20 students selected from an international applicant pool, and I got to train for 2 weeks in NYC with performers on Broadway and AMDA faculty. I think it has around a 4% acceptance rate… It was a really awesome experience!
I also just recently got accepted into my school’s Gifted and Talented program for performing arts for music and dance, where we basically get mentored by local experts and teachers. The people accepted into the program are supposed to represent the 2-5% of the state’s student population who are deemed “gifted and talented” in the performing arts.
Since a young age, I have had a background in choir, since my mother is a choral director. I sang in my school’s large choir for 4 years and the select choir for 3 years. I was the recipient of the 2019 Most Outstanding Ensemble Member for the select group. Our choir received “Superior with Distinction” (highest possible rank) at a MaineACDA adjudicated festival.
I also was accepted into and sang in a number of Honors choirs throughout high school. I sang in Maine’s District Choir from 9-11 grade (auditioning for 12) and All State Choir for 10-11 grade (auditioning for 12). In 11th grade, I got accepted into the ACDA All-Eastern Musical Theatre Honors Choir, which consisted of high school and college students from 11 states.
I participated in all of my school’s fall musicals (which are pretty well recognized at our state level). I got a lead 10th grade and a supporting lead 11th grade (unfortunately our 12th grade musical got cancelled because of COVID).
I also hold a state position called “State Thespian Officer” for the Maine Educational Theatre Association. We basically strive to improve high school accessibility to the performing arts for Maine high schoolers by helping to organize and run state-wide theatre events and using social media.
I think one thing that might stand out in my application is my work with the Maine Department of Education. I was selected by the Maine DoE leadership to service as a student representative and advisor. We got to discuss policy with the Commissioner and other awesome leadership and we initiated the implementation of a Diversity and Inclusivity training for Maine teacher recertification (something really important to me being a member go the LGBTQ+ community). Our main goals were to promote equity among students of all racial and economic backgrounds and raise mental health awareness and acceptance in our schools.
I also worked with my school district’s anti-racism action group which included our superintendent and schools administrators, teachers, and students.
I am also currently the president of my school’s NHS (elected by club), which has been really interested given COVID! 80+ service hours.
I started a poetry project inspired by COVID-19. I reached out to people and asked them about one thing that they are grateful for during this time. I really wanted to emphasize the important of gratitude within my local community. Currently, I am taking their stories and turning them into works of poetry. I hope to sell these books and give all proceeds to local organizations providing COVID relief.
I also am a certified Reiki master! Kind of a weird thing, but I have always been inspired by the philosophy and history of Reiki, and so I studied it throughout high school and now I can teach and practice it!
Awards: Nothing huge. Mainly school-level award from my teacher. I also listed the gifted and talented program and choral award my choir got, both of which are state-level.
Essays: I think my essays are pretty good, but nothing jaw-dropping. I feel that my CommonApp is pretty simple, but captures who I am and how I got there through showing rather than telling. My supplements focus more on why my activities were really important to me and their impacts on my life.
Teacher Rec #1: My writing skills really evolved with my English teacher, and I grew from sort of the underdog to a leader within the class who helped other students, I I think her essay will be strong.
Teacher Rec #2: My APUSH teacher is my favorite teacher EVER, and I think she liked me. She promised to do her best to get me into my schools!
Teacher Rec #3: I had my chorus teacher/musical director write me one. We really like each other, and I got to read her LoR. It is pretty short (1 full page), but really nice!
Teacher Rec #4: Yes, I am extra and decided to ask a FOURTH teacher to write me a LoR. This one didn’t get sent to most places, but I have my AP Lang teacher write me one. I really loved her class, and I was the only one in there to get an award from her, so it should be pretty good.
Counselor Rec: I unfortunately never made a super strong connection with my counselor, but I feel like I was able to convey my passion and personality to her through my interview with her.
Additional Rec: I also got my dance teacher to write me a LoR. We absolutely adore each other and she knows very well, and she actually shared her LoR with me. It was like 5 pages long (doubt my reader is going to read most of it LOL), but it was one of the most powerful pieces of writing I have ever seen!
Performing Arts Supplement: I am planning on sending a music (voice) supplement to schools. Even though I express more commitment to dance on my app, I already have to send music audition videos to some of my school, so it is much easier just to send those.
Well, that was really long! Here are my schools:
Middlebury (17%) - My brother went there so that might help
NYU (Liberal Studies Program, ~16%)
Yale (Deferred, 6%)
Conn College (38%)
Vassar (25%, but higher for men, like 30-35%)
Sarah Lawrence (56%)
Ithaca College (69%)
University of Southern Maine (85%) - Already got in with Honors Program invite and President’s Scholarship (~50% tuition)
I also might add McGill (Canadian school) to the list, just add some diversity to my options if I get in. I think they have around 50% acceptance rate, and they admit basically by score and grade cutoffs (which I believe I meet).