Too Soon for 2013 TASP Thread?

<p>I think it's detrimental to me how obsessed with TASP I am. As a rising Junior is it bad if I already started preparing my application/6 essays?</p>

<p>at this point last year, i think i had a notebook by my bed in which i was writing college essay ideas, but i hadn’t actually started writing the essays themselves yet. regardless, having a kind of archive of possible essay topics to look through was definitely helpful when it came time for me to churn out my essays the week before they were due hahaha</p>

<p>i would caution against starting the physical process of writing right now or anytime soon (you have plenty of time and will still have a good amount of time if you begin this summer) - it seems as if those who spent the most time prepping their tasplication essays were the most heartbroken if they didn’t make it onward to the interview round. besides, you will continue to develop and be exposed to new perspectives in the next few months that may inspire new essay topics, so you can definitely chill for a bit</p>

<p>Grr. Competition. Lol. Anyway, I do think you are starting a bit early… Like, having essay ideas is always a good thing, but you should be focused on school and tests (ap/sat 2) instead.</p>

<p>Here is my advice: just like when you are looking at colleges and need safeties/backup plans, do the same for summer programs. Instead of thinking much about TASP right now, look into other summer programs as well. TASP has a ridiculously low acceptance rate (something under 5% this year, I think). And everyone who applies is amazingly bright (a significant portion of the pool are top scorers on the PSAT, they get a postcard inviting them to apply). </p>

<p>My daughter applied to TASP for this summer, but also to 5 other summer programs. And didn’t get into TASP… so it is a good thing she had backup plans. Of her other 5 options, 3 are also quite difficult to get into (she heard no from one of them just this week), but 2 she is pretty sure to get into. The TASP application is hugely time consuming, so planning ahead is good so you know when the apps are due for other programs, what was required the year before for the application process, etc. </p>

<p>So it is okay to be thinking about some ideas for your essay topics, but I’d suggest you spend time identifying some other summer options as realistic backups in case your TASP dreams don’t come to fruition.</p>

<p>Thanks for your inputs, and the 5% admittance rate is very daunting. I was thinking about applying for a camp that travels around Asia doing community service next summer if I didn’t get in.</p>

<p>Sounds good. Just be sure you check out the timing (my daughter has a spreadsheet with info about all the camps she researched). TASP apps are due in early January, but you don’t hear about interviews until early March, and then I think it is as late as early May before you know for sure. If your other programs require a decision/non-refundable deposit before that, you could have an issue. I would think an overseas program (Asia) would have a pretty early date for applications, decisions, deposits, etc. due to the need to get travel documents, overseas flights, etc. arranged.</p>

<p>My kid’s spreadsheet of the programs she was interested in had the date the apps were due last year, when they notified last year, what she could figure out from when she would have to commit, deposit info, etc. Now is actually a really good time to look at this info before they take it down for the year. One thing that was frustrating for her was in some cases the website took down the info from last year, but didn’t put this year’s up until late November or even later. So while she identified some promising programs over the summer, it was hard to figure out that timing & deposit info that is important. It can change from year to year, but at least looking at this year’s info gives you some idea how it will probably work next year.</p>

<p>^wow. And I thought I was organized…</p>

<p>Mmm, to be fair I helped her think about what to look for and keep track of. Because I am the one who would be asked to send in the deposits, of course, and wanted to make sure the info was clear on what was and wasn’t refundable, etc… :slight_smile: So I told her she had to figure it out and show me before she applied. And that she needed backups to TASP as well.</p>

<p>Five summer programs was a LOT to apply to. She spent her whole winter break on her TASP essays and NIH lab apps, then time over several weekends on the other 3 apps. I hope it pays off for her… but the good news is that she will be ready to dig in on college apps next year after that experience this year. Maybe even re-use some of those TASP essays!</p>

<p>Starting too early led to the ultimate demise of my TASPlication. I grew obsessed, like you, and nitpicked over little details. Hell, I even wrote two different drafts for two of the different prompts. That’s right, I wrote eight drafts, not even counting the multiple iterations of almost every paragraph of almost every essay. </p>

<p>Looking back at my essays, though, I cringe. </p>

<p>They weren’t my writing style - I was trying to be smarter than I actually am. I knew a TASPer who attended the program in 2011, and I was trying desperately to be him. From espousing the same intellectual interests, to writing style. In the end, it just wasn’t me. I realize now that he isn’t necessarily a better writer than I am, but that he is arguably more scholarly, which is what I thought Telluride wanted. See, TASP is a program for very smart students, but don’t fall in the same trap I did and assume that you have to sound smart to get in. You have to write well to get in, and there is a great distinction between the two. I’ve read two successful TASPer’s essays, and the most important observation I made was that their writing exuded of knowledge, not always on the subject matter, but of the candidate himself. </p>

<p>TASPers are kids with strong backgrounds in philosophy, social sciences, science, math, literature, and theater amongst other things, and contriving the “typical TASPer”, or rather ultimate TASPlicant, would be an exercise in futility. Stay true to who you are – a message you will see carried over to college applications, too. You are a high schooler, and are not good at lying (let’s be honest here :slight_smile: ), so don’t bother being someone you are not. You are both cheating yourself and hurting, even killing, your application!</p>

<p>This is becoming a rambling digression, but my point is, don’t start too early because you’ll become too punctilious. It took me an hour to craft my “most significant books read this past year” list, because I was approaching it in such a calculated way. On the section asking for intellectual interests, I wrote “philosophy of science, mathematics and epistemology” instead of just “philosophy”. Arrrrgghhhhhh! Again… I was being obsessive.
Start early if you want, but don’t be crushed if you’re rejected. There is a lot of unexplainable variability in the process, especially when their only criteria for admissions into the interview stages are five essays (the sixth is just the book list). Go into the process expecting failure, because you face a significant statistical challenge. I hate to sound cynical, but kids who get into HYPS get rejected from TASP (though there are a number of TASPers who get rejected from all their top schools). </p>

<p>That said, think of this process as purely advantageous. I came out a better writer, and I now understand myself, both on a personal and intellectual level, better.</p>

<p>Okay, I am cracking up. My daughter listed Philosophy/epistemology as one of her intellectaul interests. And I don’t think she was being pretentious… she was just trying to be precise. But I didn’t think there was another high school junior out there who would say that.</p>

<p>If it’s her interest, then by all means, list it. I honestly don’t think my interests list is what rejected me, but it was rather just an example of how I was trying to formulate success on the application. </p>

<p>And I don’t know many high schoolers with an interest in philosophy either, so her listing epistemology down comes as a surprise to me, too.</p>

<p>^ Amusingly enough, I listed philosophy as an interest and most of my interview was based on philosophical questions. </p>

<p>I didn’t, however, know what epistemology was (bless Google ;)) but I have now discovered a new interest. :D</p>

<p>i was gonna put “groove” and “nostalgia” as two of my intellectual interests, but it was late at night and i was experiencing crushing intellectual fatigue, so i forgot hahaha</p>