Episode 2: How to Live Your College Admissions Story
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AREA(S) OF EXPERTISE:
College and Scholarships
OVERCOMING AN ADMISSIONS HURDLE:
The SAT and ACT exams were more difficult than I could have imagined! I took each test about three times and, no matter what I did to study or prepare, I kept getting the same score (a score that wasn’t anywhere close to what the top schools were asking for). However, although my scores weren’t the best, I made my essays and interviews the best they could possibly be. I didn’t let a low score take away from the great high school experience that I had and all the other things that I was proud of. Harvard agreed, and several other top schools did too. I believe that no matter what hurdle you may face, you can push through it with all the other things you’re proud of – and I want to help you do that.
I was an extra in a Meryl Streep movie! You can find me as “girl holding fruit” (an Academy Award-worthy performance) in Netflix’s The Laundromat!
I remember going through the college application process as a student and struggling with my personal statement. I have always found it difficult to talk about myself, especially in an environment as seemingly sterile as an application essay. Luckily for me, I had a great network of teachers, guidance counselors, and family who directed me during the process. The best advice I received was framing my essay around something I cared about or enjoyed, using that as a way to explore deeper themes. I ended up writing about playing Halo with my friends, an essay that explored how to create a community out of shared interests. I would not have been able to write that essay without the help and support I received, and I hope to offer the same to anyone I work with!
In college, Steph Curry once help me move into my dorm room.
When I was in high school, it seemed like my entire life was building up to my college application. I needed to show who I was as a person, my academic potential, and my capabilities in a short application that would be openly judged by college admissions officers. It felt like a rejection of my application was equivalent to a rejection of who I was as an individual. Even after I spent dozens of hours pouring over every aspect of my application, turned in my essays and completed my interview, and was accepted into Harvard University, I still did not fully understand the college application process. After my first semester of college, however, I realized that colleges were not looking for perfect scores, presidents, and working bees. Colleges wanted potential, and people who are passionate about what they do. I hope to help others find their potential and showcase what they are passionate about. Ultimately, it is your passion, not a perfect GPA, that will move your admissions officer.
I love to try new hobbies. It would be hard to find something I have not tried before!
University of California – Berkeley Law has always been a dream school. However, being admitted was extremely difficult, in no small part, because I was an out of state applicant. On my first time applying I was rejected and instead enrolled at Northwestern School of Law. But something didn’t feel right. I withdrew and re-applied to Berkeley Law a second time and again was rejected. This time I decided to pursue my studies at the University of Michigan School of Law. While there, I applied yet again to Berkeley Law, this time as a visiting student, and thankfully my persistence paid off as I was admitted!
I love traveling and languages. For the past three summers I spent time in Barcelona learning Spanish and taking in the incredible culture!
AREA(S) OF EXPERTISE:
I was at the lowest point in my life when I was applying to law school. My brother was fatally ill, my personal life in shambles, and my motivation at rock bottom. I was going through the motions of writing my law school admissions essay when I bumped into Hamada (WTA’s Founder), with whom I occasionally played soccer — and Hamada lit a fire under me. He taught me the value of storytelling, and motivated me to write MY STORY. That was the first time I had thought about my life as a powerful story — and that story got me into my dream school (and more). I’m now part of the WTA team because I’m a WTA alum.
As a side gig to being a lawyer, I occasionally perform stand-up comedy — last performing at The Punch Line comedy club in San Francisco!
College, Graduate School, and Law School
As I enjoy dipping my toes in several different areas at once, I’ve always struggled to put together a coherent narrative that best captures my journey and interests. For example, when applying to college, I had to explain why I decided to spend hours in a week in a microbiology lab while spending my weekend volunteering for local political campaigns. I then faced the same struggle when I tried to explain why a law school bound public policy major needed to study Islamic Studies in the UK under a Marshall Scholarship. I ultimately realized that your story and/or niche don’t need to be programmatic in order to be inspiring, coherent, and effective.
I love learning languages and I’m currently learning Persian!
For my law school application, my resume was lacking in some respects, but I was able to write a compelling personal statement detailing the adversity I had overcome in my own life. It is not enough to have a compelling story. I learned what matters is your ability to communicate it and demonstrate why your story makes you a desired member of your future campus.
I own an African Grey parrot, he is very talkative!
Entering the college application process as a student with an eclectic range of seemingly unrelated academic and personal interests, I found essay writing to be incredibly overwhelming at first! I struggled to pinpoint a singular experience to talk about in my personal statement and whenever I did pick one, even my best drafts somehow felt incomplete. Pressured by fast-approaching deadlines, I eventually took a new approach. After doing some soul searching and determining what aspects of myself/my life felt most important at heart, I began writing about each separately: my passion for physics and teaching, my first rock band, my childhood creative writing escapades, and so on. Through countless experimental writing sessions, I steadily accumulated small pieces of clarity–a paragraph here, a sentence there–that captured me partially but authentically; figuring out the underlying narrative connecting these snapshots then became an exercise in self-reflection and self-discovery. By the time I pressed those long-awaited ‘Submit Application’ buttons, I had a body of writing that took readers on a tender journey through the most cherished pockets of my identity. And I ended up getting accepted to every school I applied to!
I used to sing in a rock band in high school and am working on a solo music album right now.
I worked for a little over seven years before applying to law school, and the many positions I held and businesses I started at this time were substantially unrelated to my interest in practicing law. I was worried that my reasons for applying would not be credible, given such an unconventional career path. Nevertheless, I leaned into these experiences to craft a profile that made me a more complete candidate than I would have been had I not worked to this extent. I talked about how anxious and timid I was graduating from a college, and how my first sales job in Manhattan helped me build confidence, forcing me to learn how to connect with people I meet for the first time; I explained how the real estate firm I co-founded and led taught me to be self-motivated and responsible for the development and success of other agents; I shared how working as an interpreter for a nonprofit organization that specializes in helping African immigrants in New York fueled my interest in immigration law. Essentially, I told my story authentically, and was able to show how these experiences would make me a better law student and, ultimately, a better lawyer.
I co-own a cajun seafood restaurant in Brooklyn, NY. If you’re ever in town look us up – we make the best fries in town!
College and Graduate Admissions
When I was applying for college as a first-generation student, I faced a big challenge. I didn’t know much about the application process, and my test scores weren’t great. But I didn’t let that stop me. Instead, I focused on my passion and wrote a heartfelt personal statement. I shared my personal background, genuine experiences and dreams, showing the admissions team who I really am. My hard work paid off, and I not only overcame the obstacle but learned how to write my story in all my admissions statements. Now, I’m on my way to being a Ph.D!
I enjoy exploring botanical gardens!
College, Graduate School, Scholarships
University of Chicago was my dream college because I loved learning and wanted to go to a school that emphasized learning for its own sake. My grades, however, while good, were not great, and my college admissions advisor told me UChicago would be a reach. When I was deferred after applying early admissions, I wrote a letter to the admissions committee explaining why, exactly, UChicago was my dream school and included an essay about my upbringing that demonstrated my ability to be both thoughtful and critical. My undergraduate experience and my years working in academia have led me to believe that far more than grades, your ability to express yourself, to demonstrate passion, and to ask the right questions are the greatest indicators of your ability to succeed in college and graduate school.
My decision to study Hindi for my language credit in undergraduate led to a degree in South Asian Languages and Civilizations and five years living, working, and conducting research in India with non-profits and academic institutions!
College, Business School, Graduate Schools
As a public servant with nonprofit and government experience, I had a nontraditional MBA background, and I had to find ways to explain my work (and my contribution to the MBA community) to a very corporate school like Wharton.
I was a volunteer EMT in DC from 2017 – 2021. This included the COVID-19 pandemic.
Management, Operations, Customer Relations
When taking the GRE, I struggled with high levels of test anxiety and did not get the scores that best represented my aptitude. I worked to submit a great application with strong writing samples and secured one of three spots in an excellent graduate program with a teaching fellowship.
I love the arts. I’ve played every woodwind instrument except the oboe and have experience in percussion and piano.
College, Law, MBA
Each time I applied to college, graduate school, and law school my standardized scores were in the 50th – 60th percentile. Despite taking the SAT, LSAT and GRE several times, the scores simply did not reflect my efforts or true aptitude. I knew I could not get into a top program without an outstanding application including a bulletproof addendum and a unique personal statement. Thankfully in each case I was able to extensively research and artfully craft an application that not only helped get me over the admissions hurdle at top programs, but also receive funding for my studies!
I am obsessed with traveling. To date I have traveled to 150+ countries and attended 7 Soccer World Cups!
Law School, College, Graduate School
My LSAT score was lower than the recommended minimum score of 170 for admissions to Harvard Law, and I worried that, because my GPA was not a 4.0, I would not stand out as a political science major. I was very grateful to receive support from mentors and law school students who knew how I could explain the connections between my passions and the education I wanted out of law school. I applied to one law school and got in. I am excited to be a resource for you to find your potential in higher education at the best school for you.
I love the arts, including theater and dancing. In college, my friends helped me direct a play at the American Repertory Theater in Boston.
Secondary Education & Extracurricular Development (SEED) is geared to help 10th graders with all the academic mentorship, extracurricular guidance and social support through your own personal counselor to maximize high school and pave the path towards college. This is a 3-4 month process.
This is a Comprehensive service for college applicants ready to start their college applications. We will help you craft powerful and personal essays and application materials tailored and perfected for each college in the U.S., Canada and the UK (UCAS)*. This service will not only paint you as an exceptional candidate, but will be the ‘pen-dropping’ quality you need to stand out from the 10,000s of other applicants! This is a 2-3 month process.
*Note, the U.S. Common Application is billed as an ’Individual School Package’ and not as part of any single school application.
Please Contact Write Track for personalized package prices and timeline
College Application Preparation Process (CAPP) is aimed at rising 12th graders before applying to college to provide you with a strategic profile review of your candidacy and to map out the journey from school selection to financial aid guidance, so you hit-the-ground-running when you actually start your college applications. This is a 2-3 week process.
COMPASS (11th Grade): College Orientation & Mentorship Pre-Application Services (COMPASS) is aimed at 11th graders and provides all the academic mentorship, extracurricular guidance, social support, and pre-college planning you need to build your story, strength your profile, and be the “best high school college candidate possible!” This is a year-long process service.
The right school and a great story is only half the battle; you need to ensure that you can effectively translate that story onto paper in a convincing and articulate manner to become a top choice candidate. Our experts are published authors who have helped applicants turn complex and confusing ideas into jaw-dropping statements that truly reflect who they are.
“Write Track showed me the ways I could re-work my essay so that I conveyed everything I wanted to about myself in a coherent and convincing way.” ~ Kevin S. (Admitted Yale Law)
Once you have identified your top choice schools we help you with the most difficult part of the application: discovering and telling your story in authentic, articulate, and effective manner using the WriteStory philosophy. Storycrafting is an art that we have truly mastered with over a decade of admissions experience working with over a thousand of applicants from over 30 countries!
“To get into a top school … you need a hit-me-over-the head-this-is-amazing story. Write Track will provide that edge!” ~ Sara A. (Admitted Berkeley Law)
The application process is often very confusing for applicants. To respond to this need, Write Track has created numerous online resources (newsletters, podcasts, blogs, videos, webinars) as well as a proprietary service for our College, Law, and MBA clients: Application Preparation Process (APP). This unique service will provide you with all the guidance and resources you need to succeed in your applications.
“Write Track gave me the tools and advice I needed to make my complete application impressive.” ~ Rita G. (Admitted LSE)
Area(s) of Expertise: MBA
Overcoming an Admissions Hurdle: Coming from a nontraditional background, I had almost no idea about what it takes to get into a top MBA program. Therefore, my biggest hurdle was communicating my experience in a way that would convince MBA admissions committees that I can excel both in business school and the private sector. To do this, I spoke with several people that also possessed nontraditional professional backgrounds and who were in or had completed business school to glean which parts of my experiences to highlight given my present and future goals. Doing so ultimately helped me to receive offers from several top business schools!
Fun Fact: During my first year at Stanford, a few of my classmates and I would take over the empty MBA lounge on Saturday nights, shut the doors, close the blinds, and blast instrumental hip-hop beats. After cranking up the bass, we would freestyle for hours!
Area(s) of Expertise: College and Scholarships
Overcoming an Admissions Hurdle: It’s extremely nerve-wrecking to know that everything you’ve worked for is determined by one application process. Every time you’ve sweat a test, practiced for extracurriculars and even dealt with difficult people — all your hard work is captured in this two dimensional application of just words. That really scared me. I felt like there was so much to my personality I wanted to convey and it honestly felt like a puzzle to do so. Also, I wasn’t really applying with the best test scores or had cured cancer or anything, so I was pretty unsure about my application. Honestly, it wasn’t until I got to Harvard that I finally understood I shouldn’t have been so anxious. Colleges invest into you as a person, not just into your ideas. I looked at my admissions file and my international relations focus/academic history/extracurriculars were interesting to officers, but it was really my personality they cared about. I think that’s the missing element of college consulting. I learned it’s not about doing the “right things,“ it’s about having the right essay and interview to reflect what you do and who you are.
Fun Fact: My hair is currently hip-level long (Side effect
Area(s) of Expertise: College, Graduate, Medical School, Scholarships/Fellowship
Overcoming an Admissions Hurdle: As a first-generation college student, it always seemed that other students had a better understanding of the application process. For instance, the first time I heard the words “curriculum vitae” I silently panicked. I had never heard the term, but noticed most around me had. Furthermore, during my applications to undergraduate programs, an adviser had told me that the ACT and SAT were interchangeable. As a consequence, I missed out on some application opportunities, having not had the right standardized tests appropriate to each school. Thankfully, I was able to persist and figure out not only what I needed to be competitive for my programs, but also how to secure extended opportunities for fellowships and scholarships. Eventually, I graduated top of my class and matriculated to graduate school at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship!
Fun Fact: I am a gym junkie where I love to run or lift weights!
One of the main issues facing clients that can derail the whole application process is time management and sticking to key deadlines. We not only help you strategize an effective timeline from the start but also coach you through the whole process, even when life gets in the way! We do not rest until you submit an outstanding application in a timely fashion!
“Write Track really helped me out of a jam by keeping me focused and aware of deadlines.” ~ Farina B. (Admitted Stanford MBA)