Summer Opportunities: Pre-College
CollegeAdvisor.com presents its summer opportunity series webinars on Pre-College Programs in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on specific summer opportunities, how these opportunities impacted their college application, and how these experiences shaped their interests. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-04-25 Summer Opportunities Pre-College
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to the CollegeAdvisor’s webinar Summer Opportunities Pre-College. To orient everyone with the webinar timing, we’ll start off with a presentation. Then answer your questions in a live Q&A on the sidebar. You can download our slides and you can start submitting your questions in the Q&A tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists.
Hey everyone. My name is Brian Seo. I’m a current sophomore at Harvard college. I studied economics with a secondary in history of science and a language citation in Korean. I’m currently taking a year off from school. So I’m going to gap year. I currently work at a nonprofit helping underserved students.
Part-time also do consulting for nonprofits and NGOs. So that’s what I do, but so great to meet everyone you’re here today and thank you for all for joining.[00:01:00]
and perfect. Perfect. Yeah, so I think, we can start off by explaining a bit more about the pre called summer programs that I participated in back in high school. So sophomore, summer I was involved with various programs, but the one that I really remember was the Syracuse summer pre college program.
Yeah, it was a typical two week of residential college credit programs. So what that means is you’re there as a boarding school students you live in a dorm, you really get to enjoy and experience the college life. So I was there for two years. And took a class in business innovation and design, which really taught me how to build an app from scratch.
So throughout the two week time period, when I was there, I worked on an app that, helps you, choose a clothes that you want to wear for that day. And the automatically matches the best outfit that you can potentially wear that day. So that’s been a really good thing.
I really taught you. I taught me actually about like why entrepreneurship is and how I can [00:02:00] potentially start a business, that of interest to me. So that’s been really fun. And the really cool thing about that program was that I received a college credit. Typically call a pre college program, hosted by a university will offer some sort of college credits that can range depending on the length of your program.
For me, for this program, I got two credits for long, for a longer program that would usually give out four to six credits depending on again, the length of the program. So that’s what I did at Syracuse. My sophomore summer, it’s been great. And that following summer, I actually actually, applied and cut into two additional programs.
The first one is a typical summer school hosted by opportunities for learning. This is very similar to your typical high school, local community college summer school. And it was an eight lane, eight week long program, and it was a commuter program. So what that means I of course commuted from my house to opportunities for learning.
So I, commuted back and forth. [00:03:00] And instead of, receiving college credits, I instead received a high school credits and took a class called art history. So I only mainly did that to fulfill my high school requirements. I didn’t take any art related class back in high school.
So I used that opportunity to fulfill that high school. So that’s what, the reason why I did it. It was a good opportunity. It was a good time. I learned a lot. So that was very helpful. And I also went to see another program called exit or summer hosted at Phillips Exeter academy in New Hampshire.
It was really, it was a good time. Unlike Sarah. This was a bit more like a traditional high school experience. So of course it was a five week long program. It was a residential similar to Syracuse. I was there as a boarding school students, I was living in dorms and went to classes for my dorm.
So that was really fun. And I took three classes to business and economics to which, taught me the principles and, theories of different economic theories. So that kinda, it was like an intro to you. And[00:04:00] the business aspect of the class, we talked about different stock pitches, also the stock on market competition.
So that was really fun. And my second class speechmaking, which was like an intro to public speaking had really fun and it was more like a theater class, but at the end of the day I learned a lot, so I loved it. And last but not least intermediate Spanish, I took all four years. Of Spanish back in high school.
So that class, really furthered my interest and passion and learning more about the Spanish language and the culture. That was very helpful. So reiterating my three summer program opportunities, one Syracuse, which was a bit more like traditional pre-college program. Opportunities for learning, which was a typical high school, summer school opportunities to fulfill my high school rec and an exit or summer was a bit more like a boarding school experience where, you know, instead of getting a college credit, you do get a typical high school credit for those grade three classes I took.
And it was just fun, but those are the three programs that I participated in[00:05:00]
Perfect. And then the next question would be, how did you find out about these opportunities? So back in high school, my high school, especially we really didn’t have a strong econ department. So the only economics related class was available, my senior year. And I was a freshmen, sophomore wanting to learn more about the business world, I was it a lot so very disappointed with my school?
There was a lack of programs and, the classes offered. Naturally I, went to Google, search for different pre-college programs related to business econ. Internal find some opportunities that I can, and fortunately I was able to find a lot of pre-college programs with special focus on business and econ and all I did was create another set of Google doc copied and pasted those opportunities for the future.
And I also reached out to my upperclassmen friends for their opinion on certain programs. I remember one of my [00:06:00] teammates was a senior when I was a freshman, he went to Harvard summer school. And, he taught me a lot about that. What his experience was alike. How the application process was it was like, so I learned a lot from him.
And so I think what I did was reached out to upperclassmen, for their opinions on some programs and their background earnings. And last but not least. I also watched the YouTube videos. I think, when you go to you’re on YouTube, I’m now on Tik TOK now, do they still, you can go and search, Harvard summer school.
Boston university, summer programs or anything like that, of course there’ll be videos, explaining what the program is. And is there a lot of blogs these days explaining right. And sharing experience at those respective programs. I utilize, Google, YouTube, and upperclassmen friends to learn more about and find a talk about these opportunities.
Perfect. Moving on. I’ll describe a normal day in these programs. So for exit or summer as I mentioned, he was like a traditional [00:07:00] high school experience. So I would usually wake up around eight in the morning. I’ll wake up, get ready for class. And then, eight, 20 to nine, I would get breakfast with my roommates and my friends at our dining hall.
And then our class will begin at nine. So my class one would be, business needs. That would be for an hour and 15 minutes. So from nine to 10, 15, I’ll be in class studying. And I would have 15 break in between my next class. I utilize that, that time to go to my next class or get, a coffee or two, on the way.
So from 10 30 to 1145, that would be class two. I’ll be taking a class again in a different building of course. And yeah, and from noon to one there’ll be a lunch break. There’ll be a lunch break. So I’ll go to dining hall again, grab lunch with my roommates spend the rest of my lunch break just socializing, spending time, hanging out with my friends.
And then, from one to two 15, w my last class spend an additional an hour, 15 minutes,[00:08:00] I’m at class. And then two 30 to 3 45, again, I’ll be playing sports. Unique case at Exiter day to require a sports car. For you to attend. So I chose soccer, so I spend an hour and 15 minutes usually playing soccer.
And then the rest, it was very easy day, take a shower, hanging out with my friends for like social time and get dinner later around six o’clock and then of course go do some homework. So seven to nine. I usually spend some time, two hours doing homework at nine through 10, we’ll do like dorm activity which was really fun that would usually involve like spa day, just or No art day, which we should just, learn how to draw or paint we’ll do that.
So it was like a dorm, captain led event. Great time. And 10 to 11, I usually have a free time just go to bed and watch YouTube or like tiny we’ll have 11:00 PM curfew just because, Phillips Exeter academy, as a high school, the end of the day. We do usually have a curfew LRN 11.
So that was a bit more like Exiter and for Syracuse it was a lot more, [00:09:00] a lot more freedom just because, against her cause in university. So I had a little bit more flexibility. So similarly, with online, get breakfast and then go to class. My class here would be two hours long.
So it’s spend from 10 to 12 noon attending class and you get lunch break and spend, two hours after that, working on my homework and then, play three before, go from three to four. I played soccer with my roommates, my dorm mates for a great time and, same thing, social time, dinner, and then dorm activity, homework.
And then social time would be just, spending time with my roommates hanging around. And again, we also had an 11:00 PM curfew. This is pretty unusual, just because a lot of, summer programs, pre college programs, no one really have with any kind of curfew, but I think Syracuse is an exception.
We did have Noah Kim curfew over the weekend. It would be, I believe one 30 in the morning. Yeah, but that was just my typical day. At those two respective programs.[00:10:00]
And yeah. So the next question would be like, how did participating in these programs affect mine application? So this is thing that I do want to share with you all and is, subjective and, just coming from my personal opinion, but many, students and parents in the United States often think that attending a summer program hosted by a well-known college, for example, like Harvard, Stanford U Penn rail, it would give the students an extra edge on their college application.
I think, that is true in some sort of paper, but I think most of the time it is false. Just because. Not everyone has, for, summer programs. I’m sure, a lot of pre college programs are very expensive and some do offer a scholarship opportunities, but most do not.
In terms of that college admissions officers, like to treat everyone fairly and equally, so just because, couldn’t afford a program or, you did an attend one. They’re not going to put you at a disadvantage. Of course you would. If you attend the program and you gain a valuable [00:11:00] experience from that, good for you, attending a, like a Harvard summer school, wouldn’t really give you like an additional two or three points from your application.
It will help you of course, but it’s not really going to, improve your application drastically. And if you don’t attend one or if you can’t afford to tend one, that is absolutely. I think, what they really want to see that is you’re spending your summer, doing something productive, doing something related to your passion or your potential major.
So doing that will really help. Yeah, so I think, going back to that and connecting with my personal experience, I think, absolutely helped me further my interest and passion for economics. But I don’t think that it drastically improved my application standing. I don’t think it gave me the extra bonus for two.
I don’t think that was the case, but instead it allowed me to further my passion for business and actually wrote one of my Harvard supplemental essays on one of the economic theories. And and I learned most of that through the Phillips Exeter academy program. So again, it did help me indirectly, but I don’t think it helps you or application process directly.
[00:12:00] It’s a little bit yeah. About that.
And yeah. Yeah. So again, this is, going on, like how did it impact my interest in education? I did, a little bit about that. So again, I was able to further to go home my interest in business. Again, I love econ. That’s what I’m studying right now. And I was really grateful for the opportunities back in my sophomore and junior summer, just because, I was able to further hone my interest in that.
And before attending these two, programs, I had no idea that, each, some universities offered like an undergraduate business. So at a Harvard, we don’t really provide any kind of pre-professional majors. Do I think the only major that’s like very similar to business will be economics, but at U Penn Wharton school of business they offer like an undergraduate program, same goes for NYU stern, Michigan Ross, and Berkeley.
These schools, they provide like an undergraduate business programs and no idea about, about, those opportunities, but attending those programs, I was able to meet [00:13:00] like-minded friends and they told me about that. So I think that’s something that I really got out of that.
And last but not least, a lot of liberal arts colleges, like Williams college Amherst. I think Pomona college, they really have very strong economics departments. I wouldn’t I would also consider those schools first in business or in finance or econ, you can always go into finance or consulting or even the business world with an econ.
No, can’t, econs very first tell major, so you can do whatever you want with it, but also, same goes for any business programs. So I think, going back those two econ, summer programs really help me find different programs as well as home schools and last but not least, it really ease my college search process.
When I was at Exiter, I was able to visit Boston. In schools in Boston. So we did some college tours in Boston, college, Harvard, MIT, and BU, and walking around their campuses and just like exploring. I think that really helped me to think about, okay, XYZ or some things that I [00:14:00] really want in terms of my college life and, ABC or some things that I do not want.
So I was able to navigate the college search process a lot easier. So I’m really grateful.
And yeah again, all the experience that had, that was varying pre COVID times and now unfortunate with COVID pandemic. So a lot of the programs that I know of are currently online and remotely and part are teaching via remote learning. W what that means is, you would go to a class from noon to 2:00 PM, and that would be VR.
And unfortunately, since, those programs are not in person, it would be like limited in terms of social interaction activities. You’re not going to be having an in-person dorm activities, but what they’ll do is they’ll, substitute that with like remote social, social slash activities.
You can be potentially to having like a zoom socials, with your classmates or Your program mates. So you can be doing that, but [00:15:00] just, because of COVID I think that nowadays, almost the programs solely focused on the academic aspect of the program. So that’s a little bit unfortunate, but that’s what I’ve been seeing so far.
And a lot of mine. And clients right now they’re currently applying to various summer programs and they are going to attend some in the summer. And unfortunately they’re all virtual and they’re only we’ll be spending time, each week, each day. Go to class and that’s pretty much it.
So unfortunately, most are online, remote learning units. It’s a little bit tough, but I think in terms of, the classes and everything’s the same, right. Same materials, same learning experience, but it’s just going to be in person. Oh, sorry. Remote.
Yeah. What is your advice to someone who wants to apply to these types of programs? My number one recommendation would be do your research, right? You really need to know what you want to study the, where you want to apply to you. So do your research, and start the [00:16:00] application process as soon as possible.
Unlike the typical college application process, many of the pre college applications. Applications w or on a rolling basis. So what that means is let’s say the application for program X opens on January 1st of next year, and deadline is let’s say April 1st, right?
Just because that the deadline is April 1st, you don’t want to. Wait on to us made it because if there are only a hundred spots available and in the first two weeks, so by mid January, 50% of the spots are filled up. And by end of January, let’s say there are a hundred applicants and they all want attend.
That means that the university has already filled out, their summer, that year. If you apply sometime in March, you will no longer be considered for that program just because the school, the program has already filled out their summers [00:17:00] cohort and don’t, they’re no longer accepting their application, no new applications.
So again, this goes back to, Trying to start your application process as soon as possible. And just because again a lot of the applications now they require an essay portion, as well as at least one thing, some required, two letters of recommendation. You do want to ask the teachers beforehand, give them at least, three to four weeks to, write you a really good letter.
So that’s something that I would you know, And yeah, and a lot of the programs actually do, offer some sort of financial weight scholarship opportunities. So again, it will be hard to find the full right program. But what they’ll do is they’ll still, pay for, a percentage of your tuition.
So if you can apply please do, that’s very beneficial. So I would absolutely, apply to those programs of application. And last but not least, let’s say you’re there, you’re learning, you’re taking that program, be mature connect with others.
You’re maybe meeting someone from Alaska or the UK or from [00:18:00] Texas, right? Those are people have their own unique backgrounds and stories. So be open-minded try to learn from them and try to connect with them. And I think that’s just another really incredible opportunities. These programs with them can provide.
Okay, so I can talk a little about CollegeAdvisor s, summer opportunity database. So this database is an in-house database that was created by a handful of our advisors that has opportunities in various fields that are remote in person paid and unpaid in order to boost students’ resumes and involvement in the careers that they’re interested in.
This database is just a jumping off point for all high school students, to be able to familiarize themselves with the kinds of opportunities that are out there and what’s required to apply. Unfortunately, at this moment in time, the database is only available to CollegeAdvisor .com clients through their advisor.
So if you would like to [00:19:00] see it either talk to an advisor you already work with, or this is a great chance to work with us. Okay. Now that is the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful and remember that you can download the slides from the handouts tab, moving on to the live Q and a I’ll read through questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them in the public chat so you can see and then read them out loud before our panelist gives you an name.
As a heads up, if your QA tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double-check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email and not from the webinar landing page. Okay. Our first question is, would it be better to attend a pre college application for the school you’re looking at seriously or does it matter what type of pre college program.
That is part of something you want to work on. So I think school versus subject matter. Yeah, it’s a really [00:20:00] good question. My initial, opinion would be. If you are attending, if, for a fact that you do want to apply RD, sorry, EA or ed. So early action, early decision, I would say to show additional interest in it will be beneficial for you to indeed apply to a program that, that’s the school of your school of interest.
You’re eternally interesting. So again, let’s say you’re wanting to do an EA or sorry, ed to Cornell, right? And then you I think it makes sense to. Summer program your junior year at Cornell, that would, that will engage show additional interest to that school. So the admissions officers will think that, okay, this student, indeed, wants to attend Cornell, however Again, it’s not a guaranteed admission to that school.
A lot of students think that just because you’d go to a school, let’s say at Harvard summer school at Harvard you’re guaranteed and the offer you’re at Harvard college and that is not the case. It may give you an extra boost. I would say a very small boost. But again, it’s not going to be [00:21:00] much of a helmet.
Impact and positively impacting your college application to that respective school. My recommendation would be, if you are seriously interested in program one where it’s not the school that you want to apply to, but has a really strong pre college program, I would still go to that route just because the the benefit that you get from applying to a pre college program.
You have your choice, it isn’t, it’s not, very beneficial I’d say. So I would still go with, the, does the program of interest to you, but in the case that program is indeed hosted by the school that you want to go to as a college students. That’s perfect. But if not, I think that’s a thing.
I think that is.
Okay, our next question is, are there any good websites to use, to find free summer internships or programs? That’s a really good question. Yes. So I think, I don’t know the exact website. I don’t. It exists, but I think what you [00:22:00] can do is simply, look up, some, our pre-college programs, put like free or anything like that, and I’m sure list will pop up, but I will recommend a few.
I would say mites from MIT is a really good program. It’s a Fulbright program. As long as you get in, MIT will pay for all of your tuition board room and board and all that. I also believe the program. By university of Maryland. I think it’s got to what TPS to also pay for all of your rooms.
Tuition as well as from import. So there are programs that do indeed, it’s just free of charge, it’s just the, but again, just because it’s free of charge, the acceptance rate is a lot lower compared to typical programs. I think in terms of searching photos opportunities, I would highly recommend I’m just going to Google.
And again, our database has actually has a list of all those free programs. So again, if you’re one of our clients, please do utilize that tool. I’m sure I’m not, I would say. Getting started with us in having access to the database will be tremendously helpful just [00:23:00] because our database has all of that information.
But I think in terms of like public access, I am not too sure. Unfortunately,
our next question is, are there any programs where students may sit in on already running classes?
That’s a good question. I think as a high school student, that would be a bit difficult. I think a lot of those opportunities are usually given to already admitted high school students. A lot of the colleges will often have admitted student weekends. For those who’ve already gone to those schools and over that weekend they’re able to attend.
A class and kind of see, how the class environment is like at those schools. So I think, as a high school student is a bit more tricky to do I don’t think you can really do that, but I believe if you were to visit us. Let’s say, you contact admissions office at university X.
And do you request a tour? I [00:24:00] believe you can attend and sit on one of those classes, but again, it’s, COVID, we’re currently in a pandemic, so that may be a bit difficult, but I think the best way is to reach out to those schools and see if they offer like an in-person tour, as well as opportunity for you to sit on one.
are, next question is. Is there any advice you would give about sat slash act prep? And are there any programs you might recommend? Yes. So how I viewed the AC candy sat, right? It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so I think, it is good to spend at least two months to really focus and prep for the sat.
And that doesn’t mean that you’re spending, it’s time to spending once a week for two, three hours. What would I, think is bit more helpful and a lot, actually, a lot beneficial to you would be to spend at least an hour every day, if you can’t, if you can’t really afford an hour a day, 30 minutes a day, right?
Monday, [00:25:00] Monday through Saturday, 30 minutes a day. Consistency is key in terms of prepping for the sat and act. So making sure that you’re not skipping a day and making sure that you’re spending at least 30 minutes to an hour a day prepping for the sat and act and of course writing there are some skills that you can really utilize to solve some sat, math questions, or, to, go through the the written the writing prompts for the get on the sat or the the passages.
So I think in terms of the technicality of that, I think you can always utilize I think there are free resources on Google. I think you can search it up. I believe Khan academy has a few. But yeah, I think in terms of that, I think, you can utilize every day to study all of that, but in terms of a typical like tutoring programs or anything like that I can’t, I don’t really know too much, but I think, again, if you’re on your own, I think, consistency is key and making sure you’re spending at least 30 minutes a day.
I also believe our program. We also have a partnership with another tutoring company. [00:26:00] SATC tutoring companies. So if you’re a client of ours and you can absolutely utilize that resource
Our next question is I do not have any extracurricular activities to add to my college applications. What can I do to make my application look better?
Yeah. So I think, again right now a lot of the colleges are going test off. If you do decide on not submitting your test scores, what that means is, the rest of your applications will be much, much, much more heavier. So if you don’t have any activities or involvements, On your activity list.
My initial recommendation would be to to join a few. I think, again, if you do want to stand out maybe you have a perfect GPA, perfect sat and you are a good essay, but if you’re lacking in terms of involvement with, in another school, that may be a red flag, the universities.
So my recommendation again, would be for you. Or join a few, if you can’t not [00:27:00] attend like a meeting after school, because you have other things to do then maybe do like a self led project or research. You can maybe start your own group, a club based on your interest and passion.
Do a research. If that’s something you want to pursue over the summer or during the school year, but, again, I think my recommendation would be, you do need to start something or do something to stand out. It’s really difficult for you to stand out without having had any involvement with, in your community and your school.
So again, I think if you are really serious about wanting to improve your application and really want to stand out from the crowd, I think you do need to show some sort of info. So that would be my recommendation.
Okay. Our next question is, are there, what are online opportunities for people who can’t do in-person programs due to the pandemic? Yes. Online [00:28:00] opportunities When you can do is good. This is an advice that I do share with to most of my clients. If you can, to an in-person program, a lot of the programs now are transitioning into like remote zoom learning experiences.
So what you can do is I believe a lot of the internships now, forehead geared towards high school. Students are all, all virtual. You can absolutely utilize those. And as I mentioned, a lot of the summer programs now are actually remote. I would say. 90% of them are remote. So you can absolutely take advantage of those.
So I think you can do that, but in terms of specific online opportunities, what I would, what I can recommend you to do is go to go on Google and look up. Maybe you feel are interesting to us getting in business internships for high school students, 2021. And that would curate your search list results to like remote learning, internships in business for high school students.
And that should give you a list or two, but if you are worried that a lot of summer programs may be in person, I don’t think that is the case. A lot of the programs now are [00:29:00] remote. So you can absolutely utilize that. If you don’t want to do summer programs, you don’t want to do any pre college program.
Justin wanted to take a class online. You can also go to your local community college. They do offer an online community like online classes over the summer. So you can utilize that as well. So that would be the recommendation.
Our next question is if volunteering isn’t very good in general, if I’m trying to go into dentistry, then would volunteering at a real dental clinic helped me in the long run. Or would they just see it like normal volunteering? Yep. So that’s a good question. So I think one thing you do need to keep in mind is there isn’t like a dentistry related major at the collegiate level.
Just as a, like a pre-med students, you’re not. Learning actually about the medicine as a college student. So you’ll do that in med school. So similarly, right now you do have to go to [00:30:00] right like dental school to actually learn about the actual dentistry and all that.
So my recommendation would be, you don’t really need to, in fact, have a formal experience at a real dental clinic, I think, if you do get an opportunity to work at a dental clinic, But I don’t think it’s a necessity just because college admissions officers they do and all that.
And that’s still a long journey right there in a college admissions officers, not grad school admissions officers. They’re not expecting you to have, or have had any actual experiences as a, at a real dental clinic. So I don’t think that’s something in your work. But I will say that doing that will, was show additional like passionate additional interest to that, into your potential collegiate majors.
So I think that will help. So I think Yeah, but to answer your question, there would most likely see as a neuro volunteering opportunity again, it will show that you’re actually passionate about that career pathway, but again, you’re, it’s a little too young for you to actually know that in college admissions officers, again they know that, they’re college admissions officers and not [00:31:00] dental school admissions officers.
So it would just be like a normal volunteer activity.
Our next question is I want to know what the next steps are. I can do as a sophomore student in high school, after making a list of colleges that I want to go to. Yes. So I think if you’re a sophomore, you’re still a little too, early in the game. The, some, what are some things that, that are actionable to you, and you really can’t start the coming up application process just yet. You usually begin that your senior fall, so you still have two years before you can actually get started, on the application process. So I think the first thing that you should do is, get a paper and a pencil and write some actionable.
Yeah. One thing that you can control currently is your GPA, right? The way how the degree of the grades that you get from your classes. So making sure that you’re giving 120% of the effort, it’s your classes getting the great best credit you can get as well as, continuing to, be involved with your school.
So that would be, joining different clubs, [00:32:00] potentially running for, leadership positions. If you’re interested in starting your own. Create your own club. If you want to volunteer at a local, when you call it and look at a local hospital, do that right. Work on the things that you can actually control.
And, I think, in terms of the college list, things may change, right? Maybe your junior year, you realize that, Yale is not the best fit for you. Instead. You want to go to UCLA. So I think it is a good that you ha you do have an initial college list, but I want to really, set yourself and just fixate on that list that you have, things are, just have a lot of time be open-minded be flexible, but, first things first try to, improve your GPA, try to be involved, continue to stay involved, have leadership positions and junior year prep for the sat and act and see how you. And then, you can worry about your college list towards your junior year. But again, good job for creating that list. Good shop for being involved, being on top of things, but again, you’re only a sophomore, so it takes some time take a step back and, [00:33:00] and just enjoy high school and also just be okay.
The next question is if we fail the AP exams, would that impact our college applications much? And if we failed, but hadn’t in the class, would that have?
That’s a good question. So I think so how I see AP exams, right? There are not one of the core materials that admissions officers are looking very deep into. So it’s not the sat, it’s not the GPA, it’s not right. The rigor of your classes. It’s not any sort of that. Again, it will negatively impact your application and what they will see, as an admissions officer is that.
One, the regular class, is not as strong as the national average. So if you were getting an, a, in a class for, let’s say you’re taking AP calculus AB and you, can you get an a in that class? But when you take the AP exam, let’s say you get, you got a one or two, that shows that one, your AP calculus, [00:34:00] AP class, your height, that’s the curriculum that your school offers is not as strong as a curriculum that is taught somewhere else.
So I think it will negatively impact your application. But I think what they will they’ll notice is that you’re the rigor of your class is not as strong as the others. That’s that, that will impact your school as well. But I’ll say, will it impact your school? As much as getting a bad sat score?
I don’t think so. It is not a good thing too. But yeah, and also depends. If you on your AP exam date, and if, if you’re sick or you are going through a personal matter that, just really couldn’t keep your mind off from me, you can always share that, in the additional information box, in the common app, that is a unique case.
But in your, if you were showing a trend where you’re getting A’s on most of the, of your AP exam, the AP classes, and you’re failing all of our AP exams. That is a red flag, one exam or two, I don’t think that’s going to make a big of a difference, especially in a few, maybe had a bad [00:35:00] day and you can always explain that.
Again, showing consistency, again, if you’re failing all the AP exams, that’s a red flag, but if you’re, getting, if you fail the one or two exam, I don’t think it will impact your application.
Okay, we’re going to take a quick break in the middle of the Q and a. And I want to let you know about an awesome opportunity. So if you want to work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 advisors and admissions officers, then you can sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor .com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen.
From there just right in consultation and alive team member will get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us. Now, back to the Q and a our next question is what were your extracurriculars and how many APS did you take and what is your occupation currently?
Yeah My, [00:36:00] so I’ll go with my occupation first. Again, I’m still a sophomore, I’m a college sophomore. And I, since I did mention that I’m taking the year off from school working on non-profit currently, part-time helping underserved students and go to college.
That’s what I do. It’s a part time, my second part-time job, I do consulting. For nonprofits and NGOs. So that’s what I do. So I, help restructure a nonprofit and help them, find out what their, what their issues are and how they can, improve and, continue to thrive.
So that’s what I do. And yeah, and what I did on back in high school. So I. Was in government student government. So I was the class president freshman, sophomore year, and then student body VP junior year and president senior year. And then I was also big soccer guy. So I played soccer, varsity soccer all four years was actually.
The element. I was chosen as an All-American by the Marine Corps junior summer. And I was actually planning on recruiting [00:37:00] for soccer. Didn’t work out because I was injured senior year, unfortunately, but that was something that I did a lot back in high school. And in terms of APS, I took AP calc, AB AP calc, BC, AP us history, AP European history, AP us.
And then AP Spanish language. I took AP environmental science, AP biology, AP physics C, and then I took AP stats. I did take around nine, 10 APS, I believe. And yes. And again, I think, that doesn’t mean much just because again, you do need to think about it in the context of your high school.
- Was class rank four out of 1 21. So again, I wasn’t depository notice auditory. And so in terms of that, that stat, but yeah. Okay.[00:38:00]
Our next question is my school doesn’t provide any clubs. What do you suggest I do? That’s a good question. Really? Really good question. So if your school, rising offering any clubs, right? My number recommendation, right? You to start your own writing or, do something of interest to you just because your school isn’t offering any programs or clubs.
That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t, partake in things that you want to partake in. So if you’re, for example, if you want to, if you want to do something in robotics, what, why don’t you reach out to your friends, your classmates, your teammates, and ask them, Hey, I want to start a robotics club.
Can are you guys interested? You guys want to join, so reaching out to your like-minded peers, about a potential opportunity thing that is like a good way to get started. And let’s say that your school, indeed does. Doesn’t offer any clubs where you can’t even start your own club.
That is absolutely fine. Or you can always do that outside of your school or right. You can always start your own business. You can always do like an independent research. So what I did back in [00:39:00] high school was I was interested in econ. Again. I mentioned to my high school only offer a single econ class my senior year, and I was a sophomore I’m looking for econ opportunities.
So what I did was actually. Wrote a book and did my own research about the things that I learned through that book. And that was one thing I did my freshman summer. I learned a ton. I had fun doing that. So my recommendation again, do something, take initiative, I take the lead and try something out.
If it doesn’t work. Fine, but I think, be passionate and continue, and, pursue whatever you want to pursue. I think college admissions officers will really value that, because at the end of the day, once they get your application, they will go through your school profile.
And when they go through your school profile, They will see that your school, it doesn’t offer any kind of clubs or afterschool activities. And they’ll know, they’ll use that as a context and review your personal profile and w and they [00:40:00] go through it and they see that you’ve done various, independent, your, personal, like independent research projects and, used to, create like an outside club activities.
They will love that. So I think that’s something. Do something, try new things and take the lead.
Our next question is which schools were you accepted to and where did you enroll? Yes. Yes. I applied to 24 schools. So I, I, I think unlike many of my peers, I had no idea where I wanted to go. I think again, I wanted to go to military wrath college. That’s something that I always thought about.
West point, the military academy was my dream school. But ended up not applying because I wanted like a real college. And again, the military will always be there. That’s something that I just thought about. To answer your question, I, my process, so I did early decision to Columbia actually did not get in.
So I was rejected from Columbia as an edict applicants and I [00:41:00] also, and then, so I had applied to different UCS and all that stuff. So I actually got into UC Berkeley as a region scholar. Got into UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego. And interestingly actually got a likely letter from Harvard college.
So what our likely letter is usually given out to two groups of people. One are recruited athletes. So if you recruit an athlete, you will automatically get a athletic likely letter. If you’re not a recruited athletes. What a lot of the Ivy leagues and private schools will do is they will send out like an early admission.
Regular decision applicants. So I know that the Ivy day is usually somewhere around like mid end of April. Instead of giving a decision, then they’ll send you like an update sometime in mid February ish on the mid March ish. So they’ll send you a letter saying, Hey, it’d be really like you. We’re sending you an early admission.
You gave you a formal admission Ivy day, but just want to let you know that you’re in. So that’s what the letter [00:42:00] I got from Harvard college. I think I already knew that I was going to Harvard around March, but the other schools, I was also gone into Swarthmore as a national McCabe scholar, guarding some Middlebury Dartmouth cutting to soca university of America to Washington and Lee Williams Amherst, and then got into NYU stern.
And then. So garden. Oh, and then Yale and then and then Pomona college. So there’s a school that I got into. But yes. And then again I go to Harvard right now, so that’s where I ended up enrolling.
All right. Our next question is what do colleges look for in your personal essay? That’s a really good question. I think to me, number one thing, is your personal narrative, right? Again, maybe you’re a good writer and you can write it in a very elegant way. Perfect. [00:43:00] But at the end of the day, it is that the things that, the main topic that you actually share, right?
So one, maybe you went through a hardship and, you can share about that. Great. Th the important thing is how you deliver that as well. So let’s say. Got into a car accident and, you were a soccer player, he got into car accidents and you, unfortunately, couldn’t play or, your championship game.
That’s unfortunate, but I think that’s very cliche. So you do want to avoid some cliche essay topics, but let’s just say that Nestle topic of yours that you really want to share is indeed a cliche topic. If that is the case, then what’s really important to highlight is. What really happened, right?
What is the background? Tell me a bit more information, a bit more, story, what exactly happened and the core of your essay would be, what is a lesson, like what, how did you solve that challenge? So you had a problem now, how did you solve it? And it would be, what is a lesson that you learned, like a life lesson that you gained out of that trouble, [00:44:00] the best.
At the end, this is real important, connecting a little that and explaining what you plan on doing differently, moving forward. So that’s past what happened present. What did you learn? How did you overcome that challenge and future? What will you do moving forward? So these are some important parts that you really need to consider as you go through the application process.
So one making sure that you’re, you’re sharing a personal narrative that you really feel. That, will describe you perfectly, that’s going to be number one important thing. And two you’re using that three-part method, delivery in a way that’s powerful and very personal.
And one mistake, a lot of people make is they’re out on the essay, but it’s not really their essay. The story that you know, that they went through the experience, it is. But it doesn’t really feel like it’s theirs. It’s just the personal aspect, the passion. I don’t really see like the heart, in terms of that essay.
So I think that’s something, if you feel that way, I would absolutely revise your essay. Write a, you want to write a [00:45:00] topic where you really feel passionate about you really resonate with that. That is something that will, move your admissions officers at the end of the day. If you can’t move yourself with your own essay, then you really can’t move the mission.
So right on something that you really feel passionate about and making sure that you’re sharing what really happened, the lesson you gained out of that and how you’re going to do differently, moving forward. So doing, using that and template will really help you with the college application, the essay process.
Okay, our next question is other than not offering clubs, my school doesn’t offer AP or honors programs or classes. And I want to go to a high prestige technology university in the U S and I know students who take those classes are most likely to be accepted. What can I do? That’s a good question again.
So I think. Again, the college admissions officers will review your application profile in the context of your high school. So if your high school isn’t offering any [00:46:00] APS or honors, they’re not going to, count against right. You for the fact that you haven’t taken any AP or honors on like your, you’re competitor, peers have taken those classes.
So they’re not putting, put you at a disadvantage. But I think, you do have the right mindset and attitude. You do want to go outside of the box and, take classes that are a bit more challenging and go to prestigious university. Great. What you can do is, ask your Casco counselor and ask them if they have any partnership with, our collaborative effort with a local college.
Where you can take classes at, that can be over winter break, over summer break. Most of them are usually free. You would take, let’s say if you’re taking algebra and let’s say you’re taking calculus AB right now, take a calculus, BC equivalent class at your local community college over the summer.
Or maybe if you want to, take a class in AP biology, but your school doesn’t offer it. Fine. Again, reach out and see if your local community college offers an AP biology equivalent class. And that would most likely be intro to biology I’m at the collegiate level. You will take classes like that.
So [00:47:00] I think if your school doesn’t offer. Yeah, APS or honors, the next best thing would be like do a dual enrollment at our local community. And just because right. AP exams or, college in intro classes. Yeah. Should be a little more than, yeah. Substitute photos, APS and honors. So first things first reach out to your high school counselors.
See if you have any partnerships or any kind of. Class that you can take, if not go to Google, right? Look up local community colleges. Of course you will put your zip code and address and see which ones are available to you. Reach out to those colleges and see if you can take classes over the winter break or summer.
They’d be more than happy to have you. I know the college local community college route is a lot cheaper compared to the pre-college options. And they’re usually just more geared towards to, getting you the college credits that you need. Again, that would be really beneficial to you.
So that’s what I. But I wouldn’t worry that just because you haven’t taken any AP or honors classes, you’re at a disadvantage. You’re really not just [00:48:00] because of the counselors or college admissions officers are looking in the end of the context of if your school. But again, I would reach out to the local community colleges and see if they have any opportunities for you.
And that should be your first.
Our next question is how can I make a pre college experience stand out on my college application? That’s a really good question as well. One, right? A lot of the P a lot of high school students know from my personal experience with UW college. Now pre-call summer programs. That’s like a glorified summer vacation, right?
They’ll go. No, of course go to classes, but their main focus is like to have fun and connect with people. Great. But at the end of the day, you’re taking a class, that’s of interest to you. So once you’re done I’m sure you’re, you took notes, you learn new theorems and you theories, whatever that is, you learn something new.
So why don’t you use that to apply to a real life situation? So right now, for example, if you’re learning. [00:49:00] Supply supplying demand, right? Let’s say you’re planning a willing about supply and demand pre college program this summer when you’re done, connect that with what’s going on with the world right now, I think I watched the news.
I read an article two days ago, apparently on, by mid may. There’s going to be a surplus of COVID-19 vaccines. So why don’t use what you learn in terms of supply and demand and, utilize that and it connected with that COVID-19 news that I just shared with you, something like that. Yeah. Go to your class, learn a lot. And then when you’re home, once you’re done with the program, utilize what you learned and do an independent like a research project of yours. So apply what you learned to what’s going on with the world and, do something tangible with that college admissions officers will absolutely love that.
You not only want to have a productive summer, but you use what you learned and apply it to, into like real life. So that’d be really beneficial to you. So that’s what I would personally recommend you to do. Yeah.
Okay. I think this is going to be [00:50:00] our last question. What if I’m interested in two different fields, but I only volunteer for one. Does that affect what employers in college admissions will think of me and if they will take it. Yep. So if let’s say, again, you’re interested in majoring a B, but you only have, like a volunteer experience with a, I think that is not going to hurt you at all.
That is not going to hurt you at all. But I do think it depends on where you’re applying to. If you’re applying to the typical liberal arts colleges, they’re not going to really care about that, just because they’re really flexible in terms of your major options, know, you can even change your major once you’re at that school.
So I think that is fine. I don’t think it will hurt you like actively, but if you’re applying to a state school, let’s say UCLA, for example, it’s really hard for you to change your major once you’re there, right? Let’s say you apply as a biology major, you get in as a biology major is your sets and you can not change your major.
I’m willing to go. So I think in terms of that again, you see the state [00:51:00] schools will care more about that. But again, since you’re, you already have, some sort of experience or involuntary experience and that should only help you. Just because that only, that’s only a field that it with from major B, not major a, that’s not going to count against you.
So I think, I don’t, I think you’re a little overthinking here. I don’t think negative in that shuttle. But yeah, I think again, just because you’re interested in two majors, you don’t really need it. Back like an infant activities, with those two things, you can just go with one and just go with that.
That’s absolutely fine. As long as you’re doing something productive, doing that center on community, doing something that’s, for your personal interest, I think that should be more than enough. You don’t need to think about oh, this is, fit with that potential major.
Not that I think you’re overthinking that little bit. So I think you should be fine.
Alrighty everyone. Thank you so much for coming out tonight and thank you so much, Brian, for presenting. No, of course. Thank you so much, Hannah. This is the end of the [00:52:00] webinar. We’ve had a really great time telling you about pre college summer opportunities and here’s our whole April webinar series. So I’m going to close this out, but thank you so much for coming.