Who had their dreams come true today! Congratulations!
Who are still anxiously awaiting admissions news:
Who received waitlist emails (don’t give up! Keep those grades up! Send updates to the schools):
Who received rejection letters:
And most importantly:
Regardless of the outcomes of October 15th, I think you should all be hella proud of conquering the nearly year-long process (read: 7th circle of hell) that is AMCAS. Jumping through all those hoops requires a great deal of sheer determination and a strong work ethic, so:
Me:The ICU caught on fire. All of our patients on psychiatric holds broke free. Everyone you thought who was going to have a heart attack had a heart attack. My co-intern and I huddled in a corner and cried.
Me:Actually it was nice, we got one admission and discharged four people.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!
While the college admissions process definitely emphasizes a sense of competition among other seniors, please remember that your experiences and accomplishments are a reflection of yourself and the resources that were available to you. I constantly have to remind myself that while I may see someone who I think is very intelligent and well-rounded and has a much better chance at getting admitted into X institution, their life is far different from my own and that I still have something unique to offer to each student body that said student would not.
Please remember that you’re a lovely little sunflower and that regardless of anyone else’s talents and experiences, you still have so much to bring forward. I love you all.
I’ve written several help articles on the admissions process (which will be linked down below), and having been through it myself (and helped several people go through it as well) and having gotten into a few fantastic universities (Cornell, Vanderbilt, Emory, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of GA), I would love to help some of the rising seniors along this process.
I would say that I probably have more of an insight for the admissions and the financial aid process now that I’ve been through all of it, and would be happy to answer any questions you guys may have and perhaps come up with part 4 of AP Lyfe’s College Bound series.
So today and tomorrow, I will be “hosting” a Q&A of sorts here while working on a few mastersheets for different AP classes. :) You can go ahead and submit questions here. about anything college application related, whether it be app writing, interviewing, sending test scores, making a final decision, etc.
As you complete the FAFSA try to avoid these errors.
Leaving blank fields–enter a ‘0’ or 'not applicable’ instead of leaving a blank. Too many blanks may cause miscalculations and an application rejection.
Using commas or decimal points in numeric fields–always round to the nearest dollar.
Listing incorrect social security number or driver’s license number–check these entries and have someone else check them too. Triple check to be sure.
Entering the wrong federal income tax paid amount–obtain your federal income paid amount from your income tax return forms, not your W-2 form(s).
Listing Adjusted Gross Income as equal to total income–these are not the same figure. In most cases, the AGI is larger than the total income. This mistake is particularly common.
Listing marital status incorrectly–only write yes if you’re currently married. They want to know what you’re marital status is on the day you sign the FAFSA, or Renewal FAFSA.
Listing parent marital status incorrectly–the custodial parent’s marital status is needed; if they’ve remarried, you’ll need the stepparent’s information too.
Leaving the question about drug-related offenses blank–If you’re unsure about something, find out before you submit your FAFSA instead of leaving it blank. A conviction doesn’t necessarily disqualify you from getting aid.
Forgetting to list the college–obtain the Federal School Code for the college you plan on attending and list it–along with any other schools to which you’ve applied.
Forgetting to sign and date–if you’re filling out the paper FAFSA, be sure to sign it. If you’re filing electronically, be sure to obtain your PIN fromwww.pin.ed.gov. Your PIN is your electronic signature and will always be assigned to you only.
Entering the wrong address–your permanent address is not your campus or summer address.
Sending in a copy of your income tax returns–you will be contacted if your information needs verification; you don’t need to send a copy of your tax returns in with your application. If selected for verification we would need verification documents along with tax return transcripts (copies of tax returns are not sufficient).
Materials that will help you complete the FAFSA:
Your social security number
Your driver’s license
Your W-2 Forms for the previous year
Your (and your spouse’s, if you are married) most recent Federal Income Tax Return
Your parent’s Federal Income Tax Return for the previous year (if you are a dependent student as defined by federal criteria)
Your current bank statements
Your current business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records
Documentation that you are a U.S. permanent resident or other eligible noncitizen.
As you formulate and
finalize your final college list, you might be putting the most thought into
picking your reach and match schools. Your college list might consist of 4
schools, it might consist of 12 schools. The schools could be spread out across
the country, or they could be all within one state. They could be big, they
could be small. But at least one of them had better be a safety.
When choosing a true
safety school (or two or three), you need to have these things in mind:
You need to be almost
guaranteed to be accepted
of ensuring this is to check the range of accepted students’ test scores and
GPAs. Generally, if you are above the 75th percentile, you have a good shot at getting
in. HOWEVER, this is absolutely positively NOT the case when it comes to any
school with a low acceptance rate or almost any school that views applications
holistically. In both of these cases, admission is a crapshoot. When viewing
applications holistically, colleges will look beyond your numerical values to
see who you are as a person, and who you are as a person may not match up to
your test scores. And when acceptance rates are low (i.e. below 30%), then it
doesn’t really matter that your scores are within or above range, because SO
MANY applicants will have great scores and they still won’t accept them all.
And don’t even get me started on people who consider schools with <20%
acceptance safeties. Oh, your parents went there? Oh, you’re like, super smart?
Cool. Now put those schools back in the reach category where they belong.
You need to be able to
This is very important and
often overlooked by applicants. Every school should let you run a net price
calculator to find out just how much your family will be expected to pay. If
the result is higher than you can afford, it’s up to you and your parents
whether you still want to apply at all, but it is NO LONGER A SAFETY. Schools
that estimate your family contribution to be higher than your family can afford
to pay become financial reaches. This means that even if you are guaranteed
acceptance, it isn’t a safety because there is still a high chance you may not
be able to attend. The financial aid package becomes sort of a second admissions
decision. For a safety to be a true safety, you need to be sure you can afford
You need to love it
This is definitely the most overlooked point of all. Most
applicants associate a negative stigma with safety schools. They think of a
safety school as a school you hate but end up being forced to go to because you
get rejected (either academically or financially) from everywhere else. But
this DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THE CASE. You can LOVE YOUR SAFETY. In fact, your
safety school can be your number one choice: that’s totally fine! Spend at
least as much time, if not more, researching and visiting safety schools, since
there is a relatively high chance you will attend there. If you don’t get the
same feeling at your safety school that you get at your reach school, then
don’t apply. Find one you can still see yourself at, that has the programs you
want, and that has the characteristics you want in a college. “Safety
school” does NOT equal “terrible school.” If you go in with that mindset,
you will never be able to succeed if that is where you end up attending.
Only when a school meets
all three of these criteria can it be considered a true safety school.
*curtsies* Duke, I am applying for publishing programs in grad schools. Right now I'm looking at a few on the West coast. Do you know or have any advice for applying for grad schools? (Also my personal essay is shit.)
*Curtsies* So, general advice: PLAN AHEAD. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to get your applications in. Make a spreadsheet of which school’s materials are due when and go through and take care of it date by date. Also: Have someone else proofread your stuff. There is like a 99% chance they’ll catch typos and stuff you miss.
Essay advice: This is literally all about your personality. Every admissions officer has read every version of “I had very high grades and had leadership roles in extra-curricular activities” under the sun. That stuff’s on your transcript, so make this about you. Why do you want to do this graduate degree and why are you the best possible candidate for it? Tell a story. Make a joke. Make yourself stand out. I got accepted to all of the Shakespeare MAs I applied for and I honestly think my personal statement helped a lot, because I basically said, “Look I’m a huge nerd and I get straight up freakin’ giddy about Shakespeare and I’ve
been this weird since I was nine years old.” I shit you not. Obviously it can’t be that casual, but that’s the general idea. Here are my first two paragraphs to better show what I mean:
parents like to joke that I was a performer from the moment I learned to speak.
I grew up in a family of readers and storytellers, and I was no exception to
the rule. I was boisterous, imaginative, and precocious, and in an effort to
siphon off some of my wild creative energy, my parents enrolled me in my first
theatre camp at the ripe age of six. (I played the title role in Rumpelstiltskin. At the time I was
convinced I was the best actor in the troupe, though it now seems more likely
that because I was the smallest I was simply the most convincing as a dwarf.)
From that point forward, the theatre was the only place I wanted to be. I
persuaded myself that I couldn’t love anything more than I loved the stage. I
years after my theatrical ‘debut’ as a magical midget, I stumbled across a copy
of The Comedy of Errors while
exploring my parents’ library. I smuggled the book up to my room—unsure if I’d
found something decidedly ‘adult’ and therefore taboo—and read the whole thing
in one sitting. The majority of the humor (‘adult’ indeed) was lost on me, but
the beauty of the language was not. I sat on my bedroom floor with the book, on
the verge of tears, devastated that I hadn’t discovered it sooner. It was like
I had stumbled upon a book of magic spells. Shakespeare is so eloquent, so
powerful, so compelling, that my first reading of him was not unlike a
religious experience. One could say I was bewitched.
Like, I literally used the phrase ‘magical midget.’ This is not the time to tone it down. Which brings me to my second point: Let your passion show. Patsy Rodenburg says in her book Speaking Shakespeare that Shakespeare’s world is a world where “passion is attractive,” and I think the same is true of graduate school, because if you don’t love your subject intensely, you are absolutely not up to it. So let the admissions staff see how obsessed you are with books. Normal is not what they’re looking for. They’re looking for exactly the weird sleep-deprived shuffling Frankenstudent who loves books more than they love a good night’s sleep. So show them that.
A Camden, N.J., charter school encouraged each one of its seniors to
send a lot of college applications, and by a lot, we are talking about A
LOT — an average of more than 45 per student. One student sent out more
It’s said that the college acceptance letter is the mark of all accomplishments. So, does that default the deferment or denial letter to a mark of failure? My initial reaction: no. I said, “I know who I am. I know what I have accomplished. Most importantly, I know what I deserve.” I know I am fine. Yet, I sit here with one unrelenting question. Why?
I’ve been told I’m the definition of a shoe-in for the college admissions process. They said I would get in anywhere. They even told me I’m not shooting high enough. They told me it’s impossible to see my resume, my grades and my essays and not admit me. “They” is everyone… “They” is society.
I have prided myself on the fact that I defy all that society defines as a typical teenager. So, I guess you could say that I have defied society once again… But I’m not as proud to admit it this time. I keep going back to the unanswered “why.” I imagine a little room with a rectangular table. There are a couple of admissions counselors with their hands folded, resting on it. I imagine them evaluating my application, reading my essays, judging my character. Then there’s a lapse in my vision. The story goes black as my application is picked up. Something is said in that little room with a rectangular table. But I don’t know what it is. The story only reappears as my application is being placed in the pile to the left—the pile for the deferred.
When an answer is not provided, it is human nature to attempt to find the answer yourself. This is a dangerous practice with the college admissions process because, for the lack of a better (or truer) term, it is an absolute crapshoot. You can have a 4.8 GPA. You can save a life. For all they care, you can be Superman. But one thing you can never be is certain. The college admissions process is an absolute crapshoot.
Please know it is okay when your initial confident reaction begins to falter. It is okay to question your self-worth after a deferral or denial. College admissions decisions do not define us. They simply possess us. It is to this possession that I owe the following thoughts: Why not me? Why them? Will other colleges see the same flaw this one did? What is this flaw? Is it my grades? Is it my writing? Is it… me? What if it is just me? What if I can’t fix it? I may be possessed, but these questions are totally sane. It is okay to ask yourself these questions, too. But do not allow the college admissions process to answer them for you.
I know who I am. I know what I have accomplished. Most importantly, I knowwhat I deserve. I know I am fine. I know we will all be fine.