The Secret to College Admissions

Spoiler Alert there is none. This post is not me trying to brag or anything like that, it is me trying to tell my story and encourage others.

People are always trying to tell you that they have the perfect recipe to get accepted to the school of your dreams, but none of this is true. Every student is different, there is no perfect essay, extracurricular or any of that, colleges want to know you.

Let me introduce myself, my name is Rohan and I am graduating high school as the class of 2021 from a public school in california. I am going to be studying business in college next year at UT Austin. My stats are not the greatest.

GPA: 3.84 Unweighted/3.96 weighted GPA
Test Scores: None
E.C. 4 years of Basketball, Paid Math Tutor, Eagle Scout

Being an Out State student applying to one of the best undergraduate business schools in the nation, everyone told me (except for my parents) I had no shot at getting in. But I got in. The reason being was because of my Essays. I told my own life story and the struggles I went through that are personal to me. I didn’t over-exaggerate what I did or pad my extracurriculars with stuff I wasn’t passionate about. I just wrote like myself. These application readers can tell if you are not passionate about something and are only writing about it to look good. They want to know the true you.

The other misconception is that colleges take only the best students. However, it is more like a theater production, they need to fill every part. They need the protagonist, antagonist, confidant, etc. (You know what I mean).

Anyways, just because you see people with higher stats than you get in doesn’t mean you are not qualified and you won’t get into the school of your dreams. Just make sure you spend lots of time writing those essays and stay true to yourself. Colleges want to know the true you, not a fake version of you.


I don’t recall anyone telling me that have the secret recipe to getting into all the top schools, let alone “always” telling me this.

Maybe I’m missing out.

I think they might be talking about when people ask for someone’s stats


First of all, 3.84 UW GPA puts you in the top 10%-15% of most classes. Your weighted GPA isn’t that high because you took DE classes which rarely provide weighting, so your class set was pretty rigorous. If your school has grade deflation, that 3.84 puts you in the top 10%, if not higher.

So your stats are actually pretty good.

So while your GPA may have been relatively low for UT Austin OOS, it was still well within the range in which they consider people. It was a reach, but not out of reach.

If your UW GPA was 3.64 or 3.54, that would be surprising.

I am also pretty willing to bet that it wasn’t your story of troubles and travails that convinced them to accept you. Admissions isn’t a prize for the best story of surviving difficulties.

Your stats are good and your ECs are good. You posted them elsewhere, and they are pretty strong - they are more than just Eagle Scout and 4 years of basketball. Those are what got you accepted. Your essay was not much of a factor at all - AOs get hundreds to thousands of essays on the theme of “My life was difficult, but I persevered”.

Your admission wasn’t the result of the few hours that you spent writing your essay, it was the result of the hours and days and years that you spent on classes and on your extracurricular activities.

I would never tell a student with a 3.84 UW GPA that they had no chance to be accepted to UT Austin’s business school. I would tell them that it’s likely a high reach, and that they should have a good safety. Applicants are accepted to their high reaches every application season.

Congratulations, and continue working hard so that you can succeed in college as well!