Overview: CollegeAdvisor.com Client Success Stories
Welcome to another segment of our CollegeAdvisor.com Client Success Stories. In this series, we speak to CollegeAdvisor students who used our expert admissions advice. These students successfully navigate the college application process and achieve their college dreams.
For these CollegeAdvisor.com Client Success Stories, we interview past clients to learn more about how they used the CollegeAdvisor network throughout their college admissions journey. We talk about their experiences with the CollegeAdvisor.com advising network, from building college lists to preparing college essays. We will also share the college admissions advice they received that helped them the most as they completed their college applications.
Our Success Stories and the positive feedback we receive from our CollegeAdvisor.com reviews remind us of the importance of our work. Our mission is to empower students of all backgrounds to achieve their college dreams. We hope that our Client Success Stories motivate you as you craft your college lists and write your personal statement. We also hope you get ideas about summer programs and internships, and embark on your own college application journey.
Introducing Anaïs Fotsing
For this article, we spoke to one of our recent CollegeAdvisor.com students: Anaïs Fotsing. Anaïs applied and earned acceptance into our CollegeAdvisor.com Scholars Program. This program provides free, comprehensive college admissions support to high school students with demonstrated financial need.
This article discusses Anaïs’s background and academic interests, along with how her extracurricular activities impacted her future college and career goals. It also describes how Anaïs found CollegeAdvisor and how she worked with her advisor as a participant in our Scholars Program.
This article also showcases Anaïs’s admissions results, how she chose her future college major, and her personal advice for other high school students entering the college application process.
But, before we jump into Anaïs’s experiences with CollegeAdvisor, let’s get to know more about them!
Getting to know Anaïs: Background and Interests
Anaïs was born in Belgium and moved to the United States when she was twelve years old. In high school, Anaïs participated in numerous extracurricular activities that fostered inclusion, diversity, and equity.
“I did a lot of work towards equity and increasing the diversity within my high school,” Anaïs told us, “Because I live in a pretty conservative area. We wanted for people of color in my school to feel more welcome into our school district, so I worked in different organizations within my school to make that happen,” Anaïs said.
Through an organization she and her friends started, called Fairfield For Change, Anaïs addressed issues of bias and inequity within her school. The organization’s first step was to address the school mascot.
“My school actually has a native mascot as our mascot,” Anaïs shared. “And so, we wanted to get away from our old native mascot and get into a new one. So, we were working with them in order to make that change. However, we did meet resistance from the school and also the alumni…so we were not able within my high school life…to make that change,” Anaïs told us.
Overcoming the challenges
Anaïs and her organization didn’t let this challenge deter them from their work. Instead, they set their sights on incorporating native culture into the school. “We tried to work on a statement of commitment to the native tribes around the area, which we’ve been successful with,” Anaïs told us, “And so we’ve been able to put those statements in the high school and we are planning to put them all over the schools in the district.”
Anaïs is also passionate about the arts. They joined an organization called ACT-SO, in which students compete for scholarships in the artistic, scientific, and academic disciplines.
“The other biggest organization I’ve been a part of is ACT-SO,” Anaïs recalled. “ACT-SO is mainly for BIPOC students, [where] you basically have to practice and make a project, something that you can present in a category that you like. It could range from STEM to visual arts, and at the end of the year, you have a regional competition. And if you win gold, you get to go to the national level. And then at the national level, if you win in your category, you get a big prize,” Anaïs shared.
Anaïs participated in ACT-SO for her entire high school career. As a freshman, she competed in drawing and won silver at the regional level. COVID hit during her sophomore year, so she was unable to compete. In her junior year, Anaïs competed in sculpture and won a gold medal at the regional level, which qualified her for nationals. At the national level, she received a bronze medal for the last two years in a row.
How did Anaïs find CollegeAdvisor?
Anaïs started researching college advising services when they were a junior. They quickly came across CollegeAdvisor.com. “When I was a junior, I looked at how I [could] get into the college that I want to get [into],” Anaïs recalled. “I started looking up things. However, it wasn’t accessible to me at the time because you had to pay, and I wasn’t in the means to do that.”
However, Anaïs had subscribed to the CollegeAdvisor email list and saw a message about our Scholars Program. She decided to apply. “I was still subscribed to the email list and saw that there was something,” Anaïs shared, “And so I decided to apply. I told one of my other friends to do it too. I applied and I got in and I was super surprised and really happy,” Anaïs told us.
Applying to the Scholars Program
We asked Anaïs to describe the process of applying to CollegeAdvisor’s Scholars Program. “I would say it was pretty easy,” Anaïs stated.
“I had applied to other similar programs like this one. This one was actually the last one I applied to. So, I guess it kind of was, in a sense, like [a] copying/pasting thing because I already had a lot of the answers,” Anaïs recalled.
“I was basically used to that kind of process…so, I was already really aware that they were going to ask me those certain questions in the application,” Anaïs said. “It went really easy. I was definitely surprised when I got in, but the application wasn’t the hard part.”
Meeting with an advisor
After Anaïs was accepted into the Scholars Program, they were matched with an expert advisor to help them navigate the college admissions process. “It was overall [a] pretty good experience,” Anaïs reflected.
Like many students, Anaïs struggled with procrastination at the beginning of the college admissions season. However, her advisor was available to support her every step of the way.
“I was really a procrastinator,” Anaïs told us. “I wouldn’t say late all the time, but I was hitting the deadlines the day of, almost, which is obviously not great.”
Despite this, Anaïs’s advisor was able to keep her on track. “She would always find the time to meet with me, even if I wasn’t telling her way in advance,” Anaïs said. “She was just really good about being there when I needed her, even though I was procrastinating.”
How did Anaïs’s advisor help her through the college application process?
One of the first things that Anaïs and her advisor worked on together was the personal statement.
Anaïs’s advisor helped her craft and revise her college essays for each of her applications.
“When I was writing the essays,” Anaïs told us, “She helped me explore those kinds of topics. She really just helped me narrow down to what is essential within my essays,” Anaïs said.
“I learned a lot and she really helped me with revising my essays and just making sure that they hit the word count, [and] that I’m saying enough things about myself,” Anaïs recalled.
Anaïs’s advisor also helped her recall the relevant activities she had participated in throughout high school. Working together, they constructed and refined her list of extracurricular activities.
“In terms of the list of extracurriculars I was going to use,” Anaïs told us, “She helped me think about and kind of restore my memory in a sense. Like, ‘What did you participate in? Did you do any type of volunteering?’ Because that also can be useful. You want to make sure that you have everything,” Anaïs said. “So, she definitely helped with that.”
Utilizing the CollegeAdvisor online resources
Besides working one-on-one with her advisor, Anaïs also utilized the online resources available on our CollegeAdvisor.com website. “I attended one webinar,” Anaïs said, “And I used the information on the website to [learn] more about the colleges I wanted to apply to, to make sure that [they] were a right fit for me.”
Anaïs is referring to our extensive article catalog on CollegeAdvisor.com. We cover all topics related to college admissions and applications. You can check out our feature on the best colleges or how to plan for life after college as you begin your own college application journey.
Anaïs’s admission results and the road ahead
Anaïs submitted her college applications through QuestBridge, a nonprofit that connects exceptional low-income students to selective colleges and universities in the United States. With QuestBridge, students rank the colleges that interest them for the chance to earn early acceptance through a Match Scholarship.
“I applied through QuestBridge,” Anaïs told us, “And it didn’t end up working out. However, when you apply to QuestBridge, you can send the same application for early decision to the colleges that you want to,” Anaïs said.
“I had ranked five colleges, and within the five colleges I ranked, I had the possibility to ED either Pomona College, UPenn, or Barnard College. And I decided to ED to Barnard College, because I felt like I just fit the college more. So, I ED’d there and I got in,” Anaïs shared.
Congratulations on your acceptance, Anaïs!
Choosing a college major
Choosing a college major is one of the most important aspects of the college application process. We asked Anaïs to share how she chose a college major.
“I’m not really the kind of person that, since they were five years old, already knew like ‘I want to be a firefighter [or] I want to be a doctor.’ So, I didn’t really have that,” Anaïs told us.
“However, what I like about computer science is that it’s kind of flexible in the sense that you can do and be in a lot of different industries while still being in computer science because everything needs tech,” Anaïs said.
Applying to QuestBridge and advice for other applicants
Now that Anaïs is on the other side of their college applications, we asked them to share their advice for other applicants applying to QuestBridge.
Do your research
Anaïs’s first piece of advice is to do your research as you begin the college application process.
“With QuestBridge, be sure that you like all the colleges that you’re applying to,” Anaïs advised.
“Do you really want to go there? Because if you don’t, you kind of have to – it’s a binding process.”
“So, you should obviously be aware of everything, like how many people there [are] in the school, the class size and average, even information about what the [alumni] do after college. Do your research,” Anaïs said.
Focus on fit
Anaïs’s next piece of advice is to focus on fit.
“You really want to make sure that they fit you, because if they don’t, then you may be miserable and you may regret doing QuestBridge,” Anaïs advised. “So, if it means that you have to rank less colleges, I think that’s better than to apply to all 15.”
“Choose a fewer [number] of colleges so you can really give attention to each of your applications, so they’re really meaningful and they’re good. Make sure to look at the different colleges on the website that most people don’t really know about. Obviously, there’s the big names, like Yale, Stanford, and they’re obviously really great colleges, but there’s also less popular colleges that really may fit you [better],” Anaïs shared.
Tips on applying to a STEM major
Anaïs also had some advice for other high school students interested in applying to a STEM major. She explained, “Some colleges have essays that are regarding your major. Barnard didn’t really have one, so I didn’t have to write something STEM-related for Barnard. However, for the applications I did for UPenn through QuestBridge, they definitely had the ‘talk about your major’ [question].”
“You want to make sure that you’re not just listing what’s on the website, ‘cause they know their website. What you should do instead is talk about what you would do or what you would wish to do. Maybe even in the future,” Anaïs suggested. “You always want to make it more personal. You want to get back to you.”
Anaïs’s advice for future college applicants
Anaïs had additional advice for future college applicants. “I would say the college application process is really overwhelming, cause there’s so many parts to it,” Anaïs said.
“Depending if you apply to QuestBridge or even just the CommonApp, you have essays to write. You have maybe to send your scores, you have to list all your extracurriculars, get recommendation letters from your teachers. So, I would say start early,” Anaïs recommended.
Anaïs continued. “You don’t have to write your essays right away, but think about ideas of what you want to write about because that takes a little bit of time too, to figure out exactly what you want to say,” Anaïs told us.
“And don’t be afraid to write! If you have many ideas about what you want to write, just write any of them. See which one has more flow; which one is more you, or which one you had the easiest time writing about to kind of figure out which ones [feel] the best,” Anaïs recommended.
Don’t forget to enjoy your senior year
Anaïs recommends making time to enjoy yourself and your senior year. “Obviously make sure that while doing all of this, that you’re still having fun with your friends, ‘cause that’s essential. It’s your last year in high school, so don’t be too hard on yourself. But if you start earlier, then you have more time to go on your own flow,” Anaïs advised.
Above all, Anaïs recommends putting your best self forward in the college application process. “You want to give the best version of yourself,” Anaïs told us. Great advice!
“My advisor was really good,” Anaïs said. “Obviously you get an advisor and they’re awesome, but it’s really what you put into it.”
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This Client Success Story was based on an interview with Anaïs Fotsing, and written by Claire Babbs. Anaïs connected to us for help with her college applications. If you are also looking for assistance with your college applications and working with a CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert interests you, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.