success stories bailee wright

Overview: Client Success Stories

In our Client Success Stories, we interview students about their college advising experience and what it took to achieve their college dreams. We cover everything from how they built their college lists and aced their college essays to which CollegeAdvisor resources they found most valuable. We also discuss the challenges they had to overcome and the most important lessons they learned throughout the college application process. 

Our CollegeAdvisor Client Success stories and the positive feedback we get from our reviews remind us why we do what we do. At CollegeAdvisor, we’re proud to help students from all backgrounds maximize their college potential. We hope these CollegeAdvisor Client Success Stories inspire you as you begin your own college application process, start your college visits, apply for merit scholarships, and prepare for your bright future ahead. 

For this Client Success Story, we talked with Bailee Wright, a Class of 2024 high school graduate from North Carolina who is headed to Duke University this fall.

Getting to Know Bailee

success stories bailee wright

A student’s interests and passions play a crucial role in the college application process. They often serve as the spark from which a college major or career is born. In high school, Bailee got to explore a really unique interest: drones.

In her school’s drone pathway program, Bailee got to learn in a collaborative, hands-on environment. With the opportunity to fly drones, and inspiring other students to join the program, Bailee was able to get her drone license. 

Even with opportunities like this, following your passions isn’t always easy. Motivation and academic rigor also play an integral role in the admissions process. Throughout her high school career, Bailee has always had a clear academic path and has never backed down from a challenge—two important points the CollegeAdvisor team worked to highlight in her application. 

Bailee explains a bit about her academic interests and coursework:

“I always … [knew that] I wanted to go to like a really good college…so I joined the magnet program at my school. And there’s two programs: AP Capstone and TDL Academy…For AP Capstone, I took AP Seminar and then AP Research, which is what I’m taking now.”

If you’re aiming to attend a competitive school, there’s no better way to prepare than to take a rigorous workload, especially in the courses you’re planning to pursue in college. Bailee did just that. Taking AP courses not only helped her stand out to admissions as a hardworking student; they’re also preparing her to feel confident taking on her college courses. 

How did Bailee feel beginning the college admissions process?

Many students and families seek out extra guidance when it comes to the college application process. Bailee felt nervous about taking on the journey by herself. She was unsure of how to highlight her many extracurricular and academic achievements in a way that would catch the attention of admissions officers. 

On starting the college application process, Bailee said:

“I think I was just really uncertain. I knew that I had a lot of extracurriculars…I had worked really hard on my grades and things like that. But I just felt like I needed guidance on the actual process…(on) how to connect all my extracurriculars to create a good profile for colleges.”

Bailee touches on a vital part of the application process: creating a compelling candidate profile that stands out to admissions officers. It’s one thing to be a hardworking, ambitious student, but it’s another to be able to portray that in an application. Just like in business, creating a compelling application comes down to defining your brand. This has to do with really understanding who you are and what you want from your college experience. 

However, that process of self-reflection and fine-tuning your application is easier said than done. Ultimately, Bailee decided she wanted expert guidance on this crucial part of applying to college. When it comes to defining their personal brand, many students find that having an outside perspective can really help them to create a standout, holistic, and genuine application. 

Getting started with CollegeAdvisor

Bailee was in the spring of her junior year of high school when she realized that she wanted professional guidance on her college applications. She says,

“I was kind of frantically looking at different videos about webinars, about what the college application process was like, and none of them felt personal to me. I knew that I was going to have to actually get a paid service to get something that was more specific to my journey.”

As college admissions experts, we try to help students and families navigate the college admissions process in any way we can. That’s why CollegeAdvisor provides a myriad of online resources, outside of personalized advising. As she began her research, Bailee came across some of CollegeAdvisor’s online webinars and decided to explore further.

“Before I joined CollegeAdvisor, I watched a few of the webinars. And I think that may have also been a deciding factor (of) wanting to use CollegeAdvisor. I like that there was free information readily available, like everything wasn’t paid. And I think also my mom watched some of them, the ones for parents. So yeah, they’re really helpful.”

Following her online research, Bailee decided to have a consultation to see if CollegeAdvisor was a good fit for her. After two consultations with CollegeAdvisor, Bailee decided that it was a perfect fit. 

Finding the right advisor

success stories bailee wright

Effective college advising comes down to getting the right kind of help, which starts with getting matched with the right advisor. In Bailee’s case, she had a unique situation when it came to finding the perfect advisor.

After her initial advisor had to resign due to a family emergency, Bailee was given the opportunity to choose her new advisor. She ended up choosing Renee Ross

“It was between three college advisors. And I think for her, it just stood out that she had more of an international view…she had (also) gone to college in London, I believe. And so that, that kind of was really important to me because I wanted someone that had a very broad understanding.”

Bailee was impressed with Renee’s ample experience as a college advisor. Even still, Bailee carefully considered her decision to work with Renee.

“She technically doesn’t have a STEM background, so that was one of my concerns initially. But quickly that wasn’t a concern anymore, because…her knowledge of the college application process was way more important than having a college advisor that knew a lot about…engineering, which was what I wanted to go into.”

Even though Renee had a different educational background than what Bailee was planning to pursue, it wasn’t a factor in her ability to assist Bailee in her applications. As you’ll soon see, Renee was able to help Bailee craft a cohesive and impressive application narrative. 

How Bailee’s advisor helped her find success

Regular meetings helped Bailee stay on track to meet her deadlines. She met with Renee once every two weeks in the summer before senior year. When it came closer to crunch time with applications, they were meeting once a week.

As we mentioned, one of Bailee’s priorities was organizing her extracurriculars in a way that would enhance her application. As they began the advising process, Renee helped Bailee build her college list and organize her extracurriculars in a way that made sense. In fact, Bailee felt like an unexpected hobby truly allowed her to stand out as a motivated leader:

“I will say, one of the things I feel like really stood out to admissions was doing Taekwondo. I recently master-tested, and so now I’m a master in Taekwondo. But I feel like that being my top activity definitely helped my application.”

Creating a strong resume of extracurriculars is important when it comes to applying to colleges. You should choose activities that you are passionate about and be consistent with your commitments. Admissions officers value qualities such as leadership and community, which are skills found in many extracurricular activities and hobbies. 

Getting personalized feedback from CollegeAdvisor

success stories bailee wright

Bailee took advantage of the opportunity to get personalized help and feedback from the entire team at CollegeAdvisor. In addition to meetings with Renee, Bailee also had another advisor, Chris, check out her Duke application. As a Duke alumni, Chris was able to give Bailee additional support and feedback to make her application stand out. 

Another great opportunity to get specialized feedback is our Application Dress Rehearsal. The dress rehearsal is a unique offering from CollegeAdvisor where students are able to get feedback from various advisors on their applications. Bailee says,

“… [There was] another [former] admissions officer that got to see my application and she left comments on everything that I did. So it was just really nice to get that feedback.” 

Bailee also found the essay reviews and feedback extremely helpful. Many students stress over writing college essays, and understandably so. Applicants may be required to write multiple essays and short answer responses for every school they apply to. If you have a full college list, that can really add up! However, with the help of her advisors, Bailee was able to write honest, meaningful essays that highlighted her best qualities.

What was Bailee’s favorite part about working with CollegeAdvisor?

While Bailee found many parts of her college advising experience valuable, the guidance and support she received from the CollegeAdvisor team really stood out to her. 

“My favorite part was that support system, and always feeling like I could always get into contact with my advisor. I was never alone in the process.”

Many parts of the college application process are foreign to students—after all, you’re likely doing it for the first time! A knowledgeable advisor can help you maximize your extracurricular and academic achievements to make your application stand out. And, of course, they also help to de-stress the situation with years of experience. As Bailee says, just having an expert in your corner can help give you the extra confidence needed to apply and get into your dream schools. 

What was the most challenging part of the process?

Many students find writing essays or meeting deadlines to be the most difficult parts of the application process. However, Bailee’s most challenging part came after her application was submitted. 

“The most challenging part, I would say [is] waiting after you submit the college application…That was so stressful because every day you switch back and forth between oh, I got in or no, I definitely didn’t get in.”

Of course, Bailee doesn’t negate the challenges of completing the essays—a task that the majority of students categorize as the most difficult or daunting parts of applying to college. 

“It was, it was just such a hard process…At first, creating a bunch of essays, it was hard. [J]ust creating the first round of essays was so tedious, because I never had to write in that way before.”

After a lot of perseverance, Bailee finally reached the finish line. And, in the end, every challenge and success of her college admissions journey was worth it.

Bailee’s admissions results and the road ahead

success stories bailee wright

As Bailee mentioned, she was interested in applying to competitive schools, and her top choice was Duke University. Once admissions decisions came out, she was quite happy with the results of all of her hard work throughout the application process.

“So the one I’m going to, Duke, I got a full ride (with) the Robertson Scholarship. And then I got into NC State, Fordham, Howard University, North Carolina Central University.”

Not only was Bailee able to get into her top-choice university–she also received a prestigious scholarship. The Robertson Scholarship will cover her tuition, room and board, as well as many other expenses for eight semesters at Duke University

Financial aid plays an important role in deciding which colleges to apply to and even attend. With a lot of hard work and dedication, Bailee was able to snag a full-ride scholarship to her dream school. If you’re concerned about the cost of college, it’s never too early to start looking into financial aid and scholarship opportunities for different schools. 

What will Bailee major in?

success stories bailee wright

While some students enter college without a specific major in mind, Bailee has known what she wants to major in for some time now. She plans on majoring in biomedical engineering

”I’ve always wanted to [be a biomedical engineer] ever since like I was maybe like 10 or 11. My granddad has had heart issues for a long time. And, when I was learning about a lot of the heart surgeries that you had to have, that was definitely a career that came up on Google when I was searching how all of these surgeries work. And, it just, it made me feel better to know how the surgeries worked and all that. And I think that’s what encouraged me to want to be a biomedical engineer.”

Through her application, Bailee was able to highlight her STEM experience and showcase her commitment to her passions and her education. With the help of her advisor, she submitted an application that painted a holistic picture of who she is, and she couldn’t be more excited about the road ahead.

Bailee’s advice to future applicants

success stories bailee wright

Now that she’s been through the process, Bailee has some advice for those yet to embark upon the college application process. Rather than obsessing over grades and extracurriculars, Bailee urges students to stay calm and hopeful throughout the application process.

“I would say be patient. And understand that wherever you end up, it’s what’s meant for you. Don’t stress too much about it. I feel like there’s so much pressure put on high schoolers to go to the best colleges and, you know, what other people want for them. And I would just say stay true to what you want and just mitigate your stress as best as possible.”

The application process can be extremely stressful. However, starting early, staying organized, and seeking professional guidance can help you stay on track throughout the process. 

Why CollegeAdvisor?

Bailee was able to get the guidance she needed to make sure that her application stood out to admissions officers at top universities. While Bailee decided that she would most benefit from personalized attention from an expert advisor, we want to remind you that CollegeAdvisor also offers students a library full of resources. From webinars to essays guides to articles on creating a college list and applying for financial aid, you can find plenty of free tools to help you in your college application process. 

Bailee enjoyed having a support system by her side throughout the process. She was able to contact her advisor with any doubts, questions, or concerns she had along the way. In the end, she was relieved to not have to go through the process on her own. 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the college application process, consider reaching out for a consultation. Our expert advisors have helped thousands of students and families through the college admissions process. Just look at the success that Bailee had: she was accepted to her top choice school Duke University with a full scholarship!

success stories bailee wright

This Client Success Story was based on an interview with Bailee Wright, and written by Sarah Kaminski. Bailee connected with us for help with her college applications. If you are also looking for assistance with your college applications and are interested in working with a Admissions Expert, register with today.