Warning: Long post ahead but here’s a TL/DR:
Area of Residence: India
Location of School: Kansas City
Hooks: Full Pay, Woman in STEM (?)
Intended Major(s): First-Choice- CS or CSE (Depending on the College); Second-Choice- Psychology. Also Chose Astronomy or Entrepreneurship for Colleges with 3 Options.
Standardized Tests: Test-Optional (but I did submit my GRE, TOEFL, Duolingo, and California Achievement Test scores)
GPA: 4.0 UW
Class Rank and Weighted GPA: School doesn’t do that
Weighted Courses: 10 APs, 4 Honors, around 15 DEs (including senior-year schedule)
Highest Level of Courses Taken in Each Subject Area:
Math- AP Calc BC/ AP Stats/ Essentials of Calculus (DE), Foundations of Statistics (DE)
English- AP Eng Lang/ AP Eng Lit/ Foundations of English Composition (DE)
Science- AP Bio, AP EVS, Honors Phy, EVS (DE), Integrated Science (because I didn’t want to take a chemistry-specific course)
Social- AP Psych, AP World History, AP European History, Microecon (DE), Intro to Sociology (DE)
Foreign Language- French 2 (highest level of course offered but I did take 4 years of French in my former Indian HS)
Comp Sci- AP CSP, Intro to IT (DE), MIT’S Intro to Comp Sci and Programming Using Python
Arts/Other- AP Studio Art- Drawing, AP Music Theory, Around 8 more DEs
Essays: CommonApp/Coalition App- 7-8/10; Most Supplements- 9/10
LORs: 1 from AP Calc BC Teacher- 8/10, 1 from Humanities Teacher- 8/10, 1 from Former HS’ Eng Teacher- 9-10/10 (I guess because I haven’t seen it), 1 from Peer (BF but same thing )- 10/10, CommonApp specific- W.R.A.C. Employer- 8-10/10, Colaition App and MIT App specific- Myelin Foundry’s Founder- 9-10/10
ECs: Pretty Good, I Guess : )
Now for the actual post:
For the last 14 years, I’ve studied in a reputed private high school in India. But after my 9th grade, I decided to drop out because I despised the regimentation of the Indian curriculum and I always felt stifled by it. Everything was based on pure rote learning and we never got to actually learn, you know? So I dropped out in March this year.
Since I was so hell-bent on pursuing my undergraduate studies in the US, the only viable option for me was to enroll in an accredited online American high school. Hence, after a week of rigorous research, I found a good online high school (Excel High School) and I enrolled in it. While I was studying at Excel, I also started taking dual enrollment courses at MIT, BYU, and Sophia Pathways. I also took an Algebra-2 Credit-by-Exam offered by UTHS, which enabled me to take Calculus BC in my third month of high school. In August, I started taking courses at Acellus Academy and was enrolled under a scholarship program.
Since I was enrolled in an online high school, I had flexible timings, and so I could work on weekends and for longer durations as well. In just the last 3 months, I’ve spent 1014 hours studying at Acellus Academy and along with that, several more hours for college courses. The flexible timings combined with the number of high schools/colleges I was enrolled at enabled me to acquire 25 high school credits and 30 college credits in under 5 months. However, in order to graduate, I was told that I needed to be at least 16 years of age and my counselor suggested that I continue taking more courses till August 2021 and that they would then provide me an official high school diploma.
In essence, I would be graduating on 1st August 2021, but I would still be graduating 3 years early.
GRE score (I took the GRE only because I was very bored during the lockdown and I hadn’t studied prior to taking the exam): VR-151 QR-147 AW-3.5
California Achievement Test score: 325/349 (11th grade) 99th percentile overall
Duolingo English Test: 135
I also hold a diploma in Advance English which was presented to me by StudySection and I was also ranked 1st globally in the test.
I founded a company called CollegeBot which helps low-income international students apply to American universities. I also wrote my “expand on one of your extracurricular activities” essay on this. I wrote about how I struggled because I didn’t receive any guidance during this process and how I didn’t want other people to be defined by their circumstances and that they can flourish despite the lack of resources. Over the last 8 months, we have acquired 15,718 clients and our team consists of 15 14-32 year olds from 8 countries.
I’m not sure how much this matters because it’s my dad’s company but a few years ago, my dad gave me an internship opportunity and since then, I’ve been working at his company. I currently hold the position of Senior IT Analyst and it’s the highest position in the IT Dept so I lead a team of 20-30 year old men : ). I didn’t really know whether I should include this in my application because I read somewhere that college didn’t really care about (and even interpreted it negatively) if the student worked in a family member’s company. This is why my first 10-15 applications didn’t include this but then I decided that this was something I spent a lot of time on and I wanted AOs to know that.
I worked as the IT Team Manager at Wright’s Resumes and Connections. I first started out as an IT Assistant but in August, I was promoted to the managerial position.
I was hired as the Director of Web Development by a teen-startup, Quaranteen Music Lessons.
I authored a research paper titled “Artificial Intelligence: The Means to Curb the Increasing Suicide Rates”. In this paper, I proposed a method to detect changes in lifestyle trends and monitor social media activity to identify who’s at a higher risk of suicide. This paper was listed as a semi-finalist at an all-Asia research competition which many of you might’ve heard of- YHSA. My paper was also published in the October edition of the International Journal for Scientific and Engineering Research. I’ve been invited to speak at the IEOM Singapore 2021 Conference for this paper and post the conference, my paper will be indexed in SCOPUS.
I was one of the two people who were given the opportunity to job shadow at India’s leading AI company- Myelin Foundry. This was a one-month internship and through this, we gained access to the newly-developed GPT-3 and we got to experiment with it and create documents for the company.
My poem titled, “Triumph,” has been published in the StoryMirror website and has an average rating of 4.8/5 stars. I was also awarded the “Write of the Week” and “Literary Captain” awards. Lastly, this poem was also chosen to be included in a book they’re publishing this year.
I was the captain of my school’s girls basketball team and I led my team to the state championships (we lost though ). I’ve been playing basketball for 10 years now and it is by far the most time-consuming extracurricular of mine because I used to practice for like 3 hours everyday. I also played for two nationally recognized basketball clubs in India.
I was the lead guitarist of my school’s band and every year, we had an annual music festival and we played for an audience of over 2000 people.
I was the president of my school’s photography club. I also do a lot of visual editing and graphic design in my free time.
My Common App essay was about the passing away of my role-model Kobe Bryant (RIP) and how that changed my entire life. I spoke about how as a kid, I promised him that I’d chase my dreams relentlessly and refrain from making blatant excuses and how after he passed away, I realised that I wasn’t keeping my word. It was due to this epiphany that I was able to achieve all this within such a short period of time and I wanted to emphasise on this incident as this truly was the most important event in my life.
In almost all my supplements, I spoke about a very specific career goal which is to establish an AI-based startup that would develop humanoid robot psychologists/psychiatrists and certified online chatbot-based therapists to provide accessible and free mental health care. I also stated that I wanted to make the model I proposed in my research paper, a working system to prevent suicides. Furthermore, most of my essays were based on my passion for mental health advocacy and my long-term goal of dampening, if not eradicating, the stigma associated with mental illnesses.
Colleges I applied to:
I applied to around 50 colleges and before you get mad, I paid application fees for all of them. The reason I chose to apply to so many schools is that when you’re a fifteen-year-old international student, no school is a safety/target because in my case, colleges are not only going to consider my academics, ECs, and essays but they should also be willing to take the risk to enroll and allow me to live in the dorm because maturity is certainly a deciding factor.
Here’s the list of colleges I applied to (in no particular order):
UC San Diego
UC Santa Barbara
University of Illinois
Franklin and Marshall
Bard College at Simon’s Rock
Harvard- REA- Rejected : (
GTech- EA2- Rejected
UGA- Accepted with Honors College and Presidential Waiver (>$20,000 per year)
Purdue- Accepted but no merit and Honors decisions aren’t out yet
Stony Brook- Accepted with $20,000 merit but Honors decisions aren’t out yet
Kent State- Accepted but other decisions aren’t out yet
Radford- Accepted with Honors College but Merit Scholarship decisions aren’t out yet
Regis- Accepted with Honors College and full-tuition scholarship
I know you can’t chance me for all of them and that’s okay. Thank you so much for reading this extremely long post. I really appreciate the fact that you spent your valuable time reading this.