admissions

THE BEST ESSAY ADVICE YOU WILL EVER GET

Yo peeps, so as you can probably tell, I’m about to blow your mind. You might want to sit down, grab some water, you know, keep yourself hydrated. Maybe do a few stretches.

Now that you’re all ready, let’s begin! A girl who wrote about hotdogs and Costco got into Stanford and most Ivy League Schools, a student who wrote about his love for food got into Stanford, while Cornell’s admissions officer’s favorite essays were about lint and failing the driver’s test four times. Observing a pattern here? All these people chose kind of silly topics to write about. You might be wondering, “Yo,why would I want to sound stupid in front of the admissions officer, this doesn’t make sense!” . Well, that’s a valid argument. Now read this excerpt from one of the essays I mentioned above.

“While enjoying an obligatory hot dog, I did not find myself thinking about the ‘all beef’ goodness that Costco boasted. I instead considered finitudes and infinitudes, unimagined uses for tubs of sour cream, the projectile motion of said tub when launched from an eighty foot shelf or maybe when pushed from a speedy cart by a scrawny seventeen year old. I contemplated the philosophical: If there exists a thirty-­three ounce jar of Nutella, do we really have free will? I experienced a harsh physics lesson while observing a shopper who had no evident familiarity of inertia’s workings. With a cart filled to overflowing, she made her way towards the sloped exit, continuing to push and push while steadily losing control until the cart escaped her and went crashing into a concrete column, 52” plasma screen TV and all. Purchasing the yuletide hickory smoked ham inevitably led to a conversation between my father and me about Andrew Jackson’s controversiality"

Yes, yes, she’s literally talking about hot dogs and Costco. Now don’t underestimate her, this girl got accepted to 5 Ivy League Schools and Stanford. Jeez, that’s impressive. So now, you might be thinking , “Okay, enough of this, just get to the juicy part, give us the magic potion!” . Luckily enough for you, I’m getting to the point.

If you want to write an essay that slays everyone else’s like Beyoncé, first you gotta be true to yourself. You’re 17 or 18, you don’t want to end poverty or save the world. Maybe you enjoy pepperoni pizza, maybe you love watching horror films, maybe you love shopping at Macy’s, whatever it is, write about it.

The key is to choose a seemingly silly topic and present it in an intellectual light. Your ability to turn something silly into something genius will impress them and make you more memorable. In order to do that, you need to have a lot of knowledge about the topic you chose, which is why you need to be true to yourself. But then again, don’t write a pointless essay, don’t tell the officers that you can stuff 20 cheese balls in your mouth. Although I think it’s impressive, the admissions officer will beg to differ.

So there’s the secret formula to write a winning essay. Best of luck and I hope you get into your dream school!

Diyanshu Emandi

07.13.17

I got the admission today!! I’ll be a engineering student this fall! I got accepted to master of science in computer science! So happy!! 

And hey, thank you so much for 1k followers!! I’m so grateful ❤️ I bet the 5 following years will be a lot better having the studyblr community to lean on 😍. This has been a great day! I’m so thankful 💕📚🥂 

(picture taken from my studygram: pretty.notes)

Excerpt from the poem “An Admission, Late and Via Text Message” by Trista Mateer (@tristamateer), featured in the collaborative poetry collection, Before The First Kiss

archiveofourown.org
"You Know They're Gonna Think You're Lovers, Right?" - Chapter 18 - neglectedrainbow - Dear Evan Hansen - Pasek & Paul/Levenson [Archive of Our Own]
An Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
By Organization for Transformative Works

Chapter 18 of “You Know They’re Gonna Think You’re Lovers, Right?”

Evan and Jared talk. Then they stop talking.

LAW SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS

For anyone out there who is considering law school, and have been offered a scholarship (or just haven’t heard back yet), please take this to heart.

If a law school offers you a contingent scholarship, like “you have to be in the top 20%, 30%, 40% whatever% to keep your scholarship,” BEWARE. I don’t care how smart you are, or how well you did in undergrad. You’re about to go to law school. EVERYONE IS SMART. EVERYONE DID WELL IN UNDERGRAD. If they didn’t they wouldn’t be there. Period. The playing field is much more level than it ever has been before, I promise. 

So if you’re offered a conditional scholarship, where you can keep it if you perform at a certain level, don’t take it. 

Law schools are a business. They want to make money. And guess what? That conditional scholarship they offered you, they don’t want you to make the grades to keep it, because then you’ll have to pay them more money. And they’ll make sure that you don’t. They will group you in a section with other scholarship recipients to maximize scholarship loss (you can’t all make A’s - law school is graded on a curve). They know that after the first year, even if you lose your great scholarship and now will have to pay through the nose or owe your first born son to Sallie Mae, you’re more likely to stay because you’ve already invested a year of your life into law school, don’t want to seem like a quitter, etc. The point is that odds are you’re going to keep going no matter what the cost is, and they know it.

So what can you do if you’re offered a contingent scholarship?

NEGOTIATE. 

I wish someone had told me that before I accepted my admission, and thus my scholarship as well. 

You have the power to negotiate with them. Do not think that the initial offer that they make you is the one and final offer. Call them, talk about your concerns with a contingent scholarship. I know someone who did that, got his contingency completely taken away. 

Please do not fall into the trap that I did. When the Dean of Admission called me and told me that I was being given a HUGE scholarship to one of the best law schools in the nation, she said “this is a BIG deal; no one was calling me and offering me this much money when I went to law school!” and “you have to stay in this top percentage of your class, but you did so well in undergrad, we don’t think you’re going to have any problem with that!”

And I believed her. Blindly. This woman who I had never met, who was southern and sounded so sweet on the phone. I liked her instantly. The thought that she was about to royally screw me over was the furthest thing from my mind. 

I had plenty of generous scholarship offers, yet I chose the one offer that was contingent on my performance. My excuse: I had no idea that it was a bad deal, or that I could negotiate. Now my only prayer is that I get in-state residency so that I can stay in law school. If I don’t get it, I will have to either drop out or transfer, which is so sad considering that this time last year, law schools were competing over me, offering me ridiculous amounts of money to attend their respective schools. 

So PLEASE. Learn from my mistakes. If a school offers you a scholarship that is wonderful, but then tells you that you have to maintain a certain GPA or be in a certain percentage of the class to keep it, DO NOT TAKE IT. You’ll want to at the VERY LEAST negotiate the contingency down (top 60% instead of 40%, keep a 2.3 instead of a 2.8, etc). If you can, negotiate the contingency away completely. I promise, you won’t regret it. 

Also, look at the school’s scholarship retention information. The ABA requires all law schools to provide this information. If a school has a high number of people who either lose completely or get their scholarships reduced, that is a HUGE red flag. Do not ignore it. Do not think that it won’t happen to you because you’re smart. Because everyone is smart. And it most certainly can.

Best of luck, everyone. 

Welcome to the next post in my university advice series! I’m gonna give you some tips on choosing your college major, cause I have truly been through it:

  • Think about how/what you did in high school before you choose your major. By this I mean what classes did you do well in? Which ones did you actually enjoy? What clubs did you participate in? If you’re planning on being a math major but the only C’s on your entire transcript are in math classes, that’s not a good idea (@myself). If you enjoyed your government classes and debate club, consider something like poli sci. Going to college doesn’t mean you’re an entirely different person; you’re going to enjoy the same things and be bad at the same things. Take this into consideration when choosing your major.
  • Don’t be afraid to go in undecided. So many of my classmates in high school didn’t know what they wanted to do before going to school. Then I got to uni and no one knew what they wanted to do there either. Going in undecided is honestly way better than declaring a major, doing it for a year, deciding you hate it, and then having a year’s worth of useless credits (again, @myself). Go in, take some general requirements, take a couple electives in things you find interesting, and you’ll eventually figure out what you want to major in. Don’t stress about it too much. I promise there will be hundreds of other students who are undecided, too.
  • DON’T CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR BASED ON WHAT YOU THINK WILL MAKE MONEY OR WHAT YOUR PARENTS WANT YOU TO DO. Everyone says this, and I heard it a million times before I went to school, yet I still ignored this advice. Story time: at the beginning of high school, I was planning on going to a school where I could major in songwriting. My parents made it clear that that wasn’t going to be a lucrative choice at all, and various people planted the idea in my head that I should do something in engineering, especially since women of color are so underrepresented in that field. I took AP comp sci in senior year and decided I would just do that. If I couldn’t do what I truly wanted, I didn’t really care what I did instead, I thought I might as well do what makes money. Computer science is basically a few classes short of a math major, and I had spent the past six years complaining about how much I hated math. My first semester of college, I failed both calculus (a calculus class I had already taken in high school, mind you) and gen chem and got put on academic probation. My second semester, I retook calculus and passed with a D, passed my second lab science with a D, and only passed the intro computer science class with a C. I struggled with every assignment, every test, no matter how many hours I studied or professors I spoke to, I couldn’t do well. I spent a good chunk of my freshman year more depressed than I have ever been, and anxious about getting kicked out of school. It took a visit to my doctor to discover that STEM was not meant for me. In my heart, I knew that, but I thought I could push through to get my degree. But what would’ve happened then? I would’ve gotten a job I hated and been just as miserable. Basically, there’s no way that this will end well. Please choose your major based on what you’re passionate about. No matter how hard you try, you can’t make yourself love something you hate. Even if you excel academically, you’re setting yourself up for more unhappiness. It doesn’t matter how much money you have if you’re miserable. Please trust me on this. 
  • There’s nothing wrong with changing your major. Tbh, changing your major is great. You’re paying all this money to attend university, you deserve to study what you want to study. If you’re like me and discovered that your current major isn’t for you, change it as soon as possible. Don’t push it off and think “it’ll get better!” because before you know it, it’ll be senior year and you’ll either have to finish what you started or stay in school another two years just to graduate. I know it’s scary at first, but your mind changes! I swore to myself i would never change my major, and now it’s only my second year and I’ve transferred to a completely different school in my university to major in a completely different field. You can take a couple classes in the field before officially changing your major to make sure it’s for you. And if you change your major and still hate it, guess what? You can change it again! You can change your major as many times as you want. Many people in the work force have jobs in fields that have nothing to do with their degree, so it’s not like your major is a determining factor for the rest of your life anyway. Literally all of my friends who are about to graduate have both been on academic probation and changed their major at at least one point; one just changed his major during his fourth year. The point here is that nothing is permanent and change is going to have to be embraced if you decide college is for you.
  • People are going to judge you, especially if you’re in the humanities or arts. The reactions I got when I told people I was a computer science major versus the reactions I get now when I tell people I’m a gender studies major with an italian minor are so vastly different it’s ridiculous. People used to be so proud and impressed of me. Now when I tell people what I study, they can’t even hide their confusion and judgement. It’s so awful. I constantly get asked, “what are you going to do with that?” “how are you going to make any money?” “what job opportunities are in that field?”. The answer is always that I don’t know yet! I didn’t know when I was a comp sci major either, yet no one asked me then, because STEM professions are seen by our society as more valuable. All i know is that I want to help people. Whether that be through policy, law, psychology, non-profits, even my music, that’s what I want and that’s what I’m going to do. News flash, people! There’s no guarantee of a job no matter what field you’re in. There’s plenty of unemployed people with engineering degrees. Even on campus, people in STEM fields tend to be condescending and look down to us in humanities. I can’t even imagine the crap that art majors get. You have to learn to ignore the looks, the questions, and the sly comments, cause you’ll get a lot of them. Understand that what you’re doing is just as valid and important as anyone else. If it’s what you want to do, it’s inherently super cool!
  • I understand everyone can’t take my advice on this, and I’m sorry. Obviously some people don’t have the freedom to choose whatever they want to study. I have friends whose parents have threatened to literally cut them off if they don’t stay pre-med. Sometimes factors are outside of your control and that really sucks. What i want to say to you is that, again, nothing is permanent. Someday you’ll be financially independent, living alone, and won’t have to rely on your parents. Their opinions won’t matter. Even if you had to get a degree in mechanical engineering or bio, you don’t have to pursue that. At least not forever. You really just have to look at the light at the end of the tunnel. Your major in college does not define you or your future. 

I hope this maybe helped ease some of your worries concerning college majors! Remember what you want is what’s most important. Post on deck: advice on surviving orientation week (including move-in day and first day of classes)! 

Previous post: Application Advice

07.12.17

600 pages of math in 50 days. Day 30! 

As you can see on my math tracker ↑, I’ve come pretty far. 

I have: 200 pages, 7 online tests, 3 assignments and 1 examination left to do, and 20 days to go.  

AND TOMORROW: ADMISSION(!!), so freaking nervous. and really excited. 

College Interview Tips!

I just finished a couple of college interviews, so I wanted to share my tips with you so that you can have the best chance possible to present yourself well in your interviews!

Apparel/Appearance

For Girls:

  • Dress modestly and professionally. The dress code is business casual. Try to dress in either a collared shirt/sweater and skirt, a dress with a cardigan, or a collared shirt/sweater and slacks. Try to keep the outfit relatively monotone or toned down– you want to make sure the focus is on you, not on your clothes!
  • Try to make sure that you aren’t wearing anything too tight or too revealing. Once again, you want to make sure that you look professional, and you want to focus to be on what you’re saying!
  • Dress comfortably! If you are comfortable, chances are you will be confident. If you are uncomfortable, it’s really hard to focus on the task at hand.
  • Keep your makeup simple. Once again, professionalism is the name of the game. For my interviews, I wore simple face makeup with a little bit of a smokey eye, and I felt that worked well for me!
  • For shoes, I would highly recommend wearing flats. Once again, you want to be comfortable, and for a lot of us girls high heels aren’t very comfortable. If you want to wear heels, keep them low.

For Guys:

  • I would recommend wearing a collared shirt with either slacks or a nice pair of khakis. Make sure you shirt and pants are crisp and well-ironed. A suit will usually be overkill. Throw on a sweater too, if you are interviewing in the winter.
  • If you have a pair, wear brown or black leather shoes, and make sure they are very clean and shiny! Definitely no flip-flops or sneakers.

For Both:

  • Don’t change how you dress to dress like what you think the college wants! They want to know you and to see your individuality. Dress in a respectful way, but don’t forget to show your own style! 

Interview Content

  • You MUST know why you want to attend the college that you are interviewing for. If you don’t prepare any other answers, prepare an answer to this question. Without fail, almost every interviewer will ask you why you want to attend the college. Know both tangible and non tangible reasons. I would always start out talking about location, academics, extracurriculars, but then I would move on to community, unity, pride, and history. KNOW YOUR ANSWER TO THIS.
  • In many interviews you will be asked why you want to pursue the major that you have indicated. Make sure you have an answer to this question as well.

  • Explain what you do outside of school.

  • Explain what activities you wish to pursue in college.

  • Be able to explain your strengths and weaknesses. 

  • Talk about a favorite book that you’ve read in school or on your own.

  • What will you bring to the college/Why do you think you are a good fit for the school?

  • Be candid and be completely honest! They aren’t trying to trick you into a wrong answer– They really do just want to know more about you! Emphasize your good points and try to avoid bad points. Be positive!

Other Advice

  • Allow yourself at least 15 minutes of time. For one of my interviews I didn’t give myself enough time and ended up spending 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot. First impressions are extremely important!! Be on time. You don’t want to stress yourself out by being late.
  • Have a firm handshake. Look your interviewer in the eye. Be an active listener. Nod and give verbal confirmation that you understand what they are saying to you.
  • If you can, bring a copy of your transcript and resume. If they ask to see it, you want to be prepared.
  • Prepare a list of 3-4 questions you can ask the interviewer. They will always ask if you have any questions, and you want to make sure you can show them that you are curious!
  • If you are doing a Skype interview, like I did, go through a test run the night before. Unfortunately, sometimes this can’t get ride of all problems. For my interview, my Mac Skype wasn’t compatible with my interviewer’s Windows Skype, so we had to do an audio interview without the video.
  • Be flexible. Things are going to go wrong, but it’s going to be okay! If you stay calm and focused, you will be fine! Go with the flow. Interviews are a wonderful opportunity to showcase yourself and learn more about the college you are interested in. Don’t worry too much! They really are quite fun!