Overview: CollegeAdvisor.com Client Success Stories
Our Client Success Stories feature CollegeAdvisor.com students who gained acceptance to their top choice colleges. In each of this year’s Client Success Stories, we will interview one student about their college admissions process and their experience receiving college admission advice from CollegeAdvisor.com. We’ll talk about college essay tips they received, how they created a college list, the impact of a campus visit, and how they felt about each step of the college admissions process.
The college admissions process can be daunting. As you begin the college application process, you may wonder how to write the Common App essay, how to create a well-rounded college list, and how to choose a school that’s right for you. At CollegeAdvisor.com, we’re excited to help our students achieve their college dreams with targeted support tailored to their needs.
Our mission is to offer college admission advice to students from every background to help them maximize their admissions odds. We think our Client Success Stories and CollegeAdvisor.com reviews speak for themselves. These CollegeAdvisor.com reviews demonstrate the impact of our work on our students and families.
Now, let’s read about how one student, Elisabet, got one-on-one college admission advice, college essay tips, and help creating a strong college list, all of which led to her attending the school of her dreams.
Getting to know Elisabet
Elisabet Mulaj grew up in Albania. However, when the time came for high school, she made the choice to relocate to New York City. By moving to New York, Elisabet felt that she would get a better education.
“I wanted to continue my high school here because they’re much better than in my country,” Elisabet told us. “The educational system in Albania is poor. So I thought that coming to the US for high school would help me get into a prestigious university.”
After moving to the US, Elisabet sought out additional college application advice to help her compete at top schools. That’s when she found CollegeAdvisor.com.
Navigating the college admissions process: Why did Elisabet choose CollegeAdvisor?
So, why did Elisabet choose CollegeAdvisor to help her through the college admissions process?
While Elisabet benefited from expert guidance throughout her college journey, she initially registered with CollegeAdvisor.com to help her through the college essay process.
“Since the pandemic happened, I felt like the essays played a crucial role in my application,” Elisabet explained. “They’ve always been important, but now that SAT scores were test optional and many people were not submitting their SAT scores, I thought that if my essays were strong enough, it would help me get into university.”
Elisabet was right. She knew her essays would be crucial to her success in the college application process, especially since standardized tests are now optional at most schools. So, she turned to CollegeAdvisor for college essay tips and other guidance. She was paired with CollegeAdvisor Admissions Expert Brian Seo, who supported her as she began to brainstorm and draft.
“Having someone to go over my essays would just make me feel secure about what I was submitting,” Elisabet elaborated. “Writing about something that’s personal to you can be really difficult because most people shy away from the topic. And I used to do that. Brian helped me.”
As Elisabet understood, the personal essay is one of the most challenging and important parts of the college application process. It’s the place where applicants have the most freedom to really show admissions officers who they are. If Elisabet wanted to get into top schools, her essays would need to shine.
Brian’s college admissions advice made a huge impact on Elisabet’s essays. “He helped me focus on the main idea of my writing, like the main issue,” she told us. “I used to stray away from the topic and talk about multiple things, but he was like, don’t talk about that. Just talk about one thing and [go] into detail about that. That was really helpful.”
Check out some of our webinars for more college admissions advice.
Extracurriculars and the college admissions process
Throughout high school, Elisabet made the most of her four years in terms of extracurriculars. “I ran cross country and track throughout all four years of high school. And I’ve also been the president of the women in business club at my high school,” Elisabet said.
By choosing a wide variety of engaging extracurriculars, Elisabet laid the foundation for a successful college application process. “I opened a chess club during my senior year,” she continued. “And I’ve been involved with a lot of volunteer experiences, like in church communities. I’ve volunteered at churches and inside the school. I also volunteered at a hospital during the summer.”
However, she didn’t stop there. Elisabet also engaged in research during high school with the help of her CollegeAdvisor.com team. “I’ve written a research paper for the career that I’m interested in pursuing,” Elisabet said. “Brian actually helped me with that.”
Elisabet also chose engaging internships to increase her admissions odds. “I’ve done an internship during my junior summer. I worked at Remax. It’s a real estate agency and I worked as an agent there,” Elisabet continued. “And then I participated in the debate club at my school.” With quite an impressive list of extracurriculars under her belt, Elisabet was ready to dive into the college application process.
The value of CollegeAdvisor’s one-on-one guidance
How else did Brian help Elisabet through her college application process?
Elisabet started meeting with Brian at the end of her junior year. “Brian was very supportive,” said Elisabet. “He was always there when I needed him. As soon as I texted him, he would respond almost immediately. Working with Brian made me feel I wasn’t stressed throughout the college process.”
Brian and Elisabet met frequently throughout the college application process to ensure Elisabet had the support she needed. “In the beginning we were meeting almost every week, like once in two weeks,” Elisabet described. “He helped me make my college list and [fill out] my activities section. And so we were meeting a lot the first couple of weeks.”
“In the summer, I think it was less frequent until August,” Elisabet said. “That’s when I started writing my personal essay. When school started, I [mostly] met with him [in] October, November, and December. We were talking about my essay a lot.” In each of these meetings, Brian offered college admission advice to help Elisabet refine her personal essay.
Helpful tips and on-going support
Brian’s college essay tips and advice helped Elisabet feel secure as she completed the college admissions process. “I was never stressed because I knew that I had someone to go over my writing,” said Elisabet. “I felt confident once I was submitting my supplements, because I knew that Brian was going to go over it and he was going to make sure there [were] no grammatical errors.” Armed with Brian’s college admission advice, Elisabet felt confident in her applications.
By working with CollegeAdvisor, Elisabet also felt that she had a less stressful college application experience than others. “My friends, for example, maybe felt their writing wasn’t good enough, but I knew that someone was going over my writing,” explained Elisabet. “I just felt [at] ease. I wasn’t stressed out throughout the college process. That’s what Brian really helped me with.”
“If my ideas weren’t good enough, he would just help me organize my thoughts,” Elisabet elaborated. “So my writing would come out better. I felt like I was doing most of the work, it’s just that, the help with organizing the ideas is more important.”
Elisabet knew she was a strong writer, but she knew this alone wouldn’t be enough. “If my ideas don’t make sense, then there’s no point in writing anything,” she told us. So, Brian’s college essay tips and organization skills were immensely helpful to Elisabet during her college admissions process.
What’s the most challenging part of the college application process?
The college application process can definitely seem overwhelming, from creating a college list to planning a campus visit. For Elisabet, though, she found creating her college list to be a particular challenge.
“The most challenging part I would say is that the one mistake I made throughout the college process is maybe not looking at my list very realistically,” Elisabet said. “So, I applied to a lot of hard schools, whereas I would say I would have needed more match schools [where] I knew I would have a high chance of getting in.”
This is why a balanced college list is important in the college application process. Our top college admission advice for creating a well-rounded college list is to have a balance between “reach,” “match,” and “safety” schools.
Don’t over apply
“I applied to a lot of competitive schools and then ended up getting a lot of rejections,” Elisabet told us. She feels narrowing her college list down would have been a good idea. “I applied to 22 colleges. So, that was very tough, having to write a lot of essays,” said Elisabet. “It was really difficult because I knew the deadline was approaching and I had to submit as soon as possible.
So maybe if I had [fewer] colleges, it would have been easier because I would have just focused on the main schools that I wanted to go to, instead of just applying to a whole bunch of schools and going all over the place.”
Originally, Elisabet and Brian had worked together on Elisabet’s college list. However, Elisabet shifted this list as deadlines neared. “We worked with the college list at the beginning,” Elisabet said. “He organized my list from hardest to least hardest, but then as the months went by, I kind of almost completely changed my list.”
In the stressful college application process, it’s easy to get caught up in applying to as many schools as possible. However, having a strong and well-balanced college list can help prevent this. That’s why college admission advice can be helpful during the college application process.
Elisabet’s advice on campus visits
Elisabey also shared another part of the college application process she wishes she’d done differently. “I didn’t really tour the campuses before applying to a school,” said Elisabet. “If you know what the campus looks like and the environment of the school, I think it gives you a better sense of where you want to be.”
So, Elisabet would definitely recommend going on a campus visit before applying to a school. “I just looked at the pictures online, and that’s it,” said Elisabet. “But after I applied to college, I went to two of the campuses after the application season was over. So, maybe that was wrong.”
It can be very helpful to do a campus visit during the college admissions process. Once you’re on campus, you can tell what attending the school might really be like. Plus, you can learn valuable information that may help you write your supplemental essays for that school.
One of Elisabet’s biggest pieces of college admission advice is to have a campus visit at the schools you’re applying to. This can help ease stress in the college application process.
Elisabet’s admission results
So, how did Elisabet fare in the college admissions process?
“I got into American University, and that’s where I’m going,” said Elisabet. “I got into Case Western University. And then I got into Colorado College. I got into Fordham. I got a $12,000 scholarship for one year. And then I got into University of Richmond. And then I got into [the] University of Rochester. I got $13,000 for a year at Rochester. I got into USC.”
Elisabet even applied internationally. “I got into the University of St. Andrews in Scotland,” said Elisabet.
What made Elisabet look at an international school?
“I’ve heard about [the] University of St. Andrews from multiple people. If you’ve heard of Oxford and Cambridge, University of St. Andrews is right there with them,” explained Elisabet. “I know multiple people, family members who sent their kids there, and they loved it. I also have friends from other schools in New York that went to the University of St. Andrews. Prince William went there. So, that’s why it’s very popular.”
Although Elisabet decided not to travel abroad for college, her decision to apply internationally in the first place is impressive. The international college application process differs a bit from the American college admissions process. However, Elisabet was able to successfully navigate all of her applications with college admission advice from Brian.
What will Elisabet be majoring in at American University?
Elisabet is planning to major in Business at American. “Business and probably something in economics, and I applied for a minor in pre-law,” said Elisabet. “I mostly chose American because it’s in DC and I want to pursue law school or something in the business world.” As Elisabet knows, American is a great place to do that.
Another thing that pulled Elisabet to America? Career opportunities. “There [are] a lot of internship opportunities and then job opportunities in DC,” Elisabet explained. “That’s why I wanted to go to American.”
Location also played a role in Elisabet’s college decision. “Location was definitely a very important part of it. Colorado College is good, but I didn’t want to go to Colorado. USC is also great. It’s just the fact that I went to visit USC with my dad, and we just didn’t like it. That was my mistake—not visiting the campuses before.” So, the campus visit experience can really make or break a college decision.
Elisabet’s advice for those future college applicants
What would Elisabet tell students who are just starting the college application process?
Her first piece of college admission advice is to get started early. “I would tell them to start early so that they [can] figure out what they really want to do,” Elisabet said, “The sooner they start writing their college essay, I would say they should start, as soon as they end their junior year.”
“And my biggest advice would be that every college they apply to is a college they would want to attend,” Elisabet suggested. “And their lists should not [be] like me. I applied to 20 schools. I would suggest they apply to 10 to 12 schools so they can focus on those schools. It [makes] it much easier, much easier because they have [fewer] supplements to write.” Doing research on the school and planning a campus visit can help you narrow down your college list.
Finally, Elisabet says, don’t stress over the college admissions process. “Just take it easy. The earlier you start, the more time you have to figure things out. So if you leave it [to the] last minute, then it’s going to end up being a mess.” Great advice, Elisabet.
Final Thoughts- Why College Advisor?
The college admissions process can seem daunting, and you may not know where to start. We’re here to help with all your college advising needs.
Wondering if CollegeAdvisor.com is right for you? Just check out our CollegeAdvisor.com reviews. There, you’ll find helpful feedback and CollegeAdvisor.com reviews from students like Elisabet who worked with our experts to ace the college admissions process.
Here are some top pieces of college admission advice from our Admissions Experts to get you started on your journey.
- Start early. You may feel like you have all the time in the world to complete the college application process. However, to set yourself up for success, your best strategy will be to prepare early. Start thinking about your college list, strive for a high GPA, and get involved with extracurriculars that excite you. That way, when the college admissions process begins, you’ll be ready!
- Do your research. You never know which school might be your perfect fit until you find it. Begin crafting a college list long before the college admissions process is upon you. Check out each school’s website, and plan a campus visit. Make sure you can really envision yourself living there for four years.
- Ask for help. It can be a great idea to have someone look over your application before you send it off. Get college essay tips from a trusted parent, teacher, or friend. A second set of eyes never hurts.
Want to hear from more students like Elisabet? Check out our other Client Success Stories for more CollegeAdvisor.com reviews.
This Client Success Story was written by Laura Frustaci, and based on an interview with Elisabet Mulaj. Elisabet reached out to us for college essay tips for her Common App essay and to get one-on-one help building her college list. If you are also looking for college admission advice and are interested in working with a CollegeAdvisor.com Admissions Expert, register with CollegeAdvisor.com today.