Tips and Tricks from Admissions Officers

On Tuesday night I attended a program called “Exploring College Options” in Portland. It was a seminar put on by admissions counselors from Georgetown, Duke, Stanford, Penn, and Harvard. Whether you are shooting for schools at this level or not, I thought I’d share what I learned. 


Letters of Rec: Find a teacher(s) who knows you well enough to actually give the college a sense of who you are as a student. One way to do this is to ask your teacher what would be missing from their class if you were not present. What do you bring to the table that no one else does? By portraying this they can capture exactly who you are as a person and student. 

Extra-Curriculars: There is no right or wrong EC. However, colleges would rather see you committing and succeeding in one specific area rather than dabbling in several. The Harvard officer explained it as “diving into the deep end” How deep can you go (to what extent) and how big of a splash do you make (your impact)? Finally, do something because you are passionate about it, not because you think it will get you into college.

Essays: It does not matter what you write but rather how you write it. The admissions team wants to get to know you. Get feedback on your essays, but not so much that it no longer sounds like you. The essays give a window into what you will bring to their campus. 

Testing: Testing is a standardized yard stick and is not always fair. Admission people realize that. Do the best you can. Take it once junior year, study over the summer, and again senior year. Don’t make standardized testing an extra curricular activity. In addition, know what tests or subject tests your schools require well before you have to start applying. Rushed testing is bad testing. 

Overview: The application should be a compilation of the best parts of YOU. Don’t try to be someone you aren’t. Admissions officers are normal people and they are rooting for you. 

reminder that Trump’s alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania, claims to have good financial aid, but takes outside scholarship money from financial aid students and forces them to pay the full amount deemed appropriate by the financial aid office. so if the school says you owe $10,000 a year after aid, and you get $10,000 in outside scholarships, you still owe Penn $10,000 of your own money. only students on NO aid can actually reduce or eliminate what they pay the university. this shit is just one of the reasons ivy league degrees are only shown to be valuable for wealthy students, and schools need to be held accountable for the specific policies that perpetuate that reality.

In honor of Penn’s birthday, I decided to draw what V.1 Beta!Penn would look like! This isn’t the first design of what he could’ve potentially looked like when built, but it’s the first physical body the lab team put/tested his consciousness into before things were completely developed. Translation: in beta mode he’s basically a little robot baby! 

March 13th

So I might be late by a few days since I’ve been so busy but I still REALLY wanted to make a post about it. On March 13th 2016, I drew Penn for the first time. 

He started off as random doodles on sticky notes, and now he’s one of the most developed characters I’ve ever made in my entire 21 years of life. From starting off so random and out of nowhere, he’s now one of the stars of my short film, a webcomic, many other non-linear comics, drawings/studies, and helped me prove to myself there’s something I can create that could be worth while.

Making his character has helped me grow so much. It’s helped my confidence a lot and inspired me to keep creating characters of my very own. Penn gave me something to turn to and express myself through some of the toughest parts of my life. He gave me an outlet for all my emotions when at the time I didn’t have much. I created a wonderful character that not only helped me get better at my art over time, but also gave me a new and wonderful way to practice my writing, to cope with things, and all the extra practice time I didn’t even really know I needed. 

It’s officially been 1 year since I started focusing on my original content, and I honestly couldn’t be prouder of myself. It’s such a freeing and proud feeling to have something you’re so proud of, and have it be completely and unmistakably yours. An OC is a gift you give to yourself. Something you can look at and say “Yep. I made that.” and it’s wonderful. I feel like I owe so much to this lil robot. 

Happy Birthday, Penn! 

Inspiration can come from anywhere at anytime, and all I can say is to just go with it…It might just lead you somewhere great!