Posts Tagged test scores


seanna-85While I hope no one followed my example, my actual college application process was hectic.  I had everything in order theoretically…great grades…pretty test scores…more extracurricular and community service hours than I could list…I was in tip-top shape—ready for anything!  My I’s were dotted, and my T’s were crossed.  Only one more thing to do.  Apply.  As you’re reading this, you might be thinking that this was me around mid-November, early December at the latest.

Well…you’re wrong.  This was me on December 26th.  Regular decision deadlines for most schools in the country were January 1st.  Did I mention that my application process was hectic?  For four days, I thoroughly researched the 25-ish schools on my list and started finalizing details.  A mentor had to sit me down and say, “Pick 10 from this list, and send in the materials—you have to make your decisions…NOW!”  Obviously, I did make the decisions, and I did post-mark my apps by the deadline…however, it was still unnecessary stress that could have been avoided had I stopped procrastinating on FINALLY choosing my top schools.  By now your applications are in, so let’s discuss what I felt like afterwards.

Three words: relieved, anxious, and tired.

I was relieved that the formal process was done.  Now, all I could do was wait for the colleges to decide if I was a prospectively good fit for their school environment.  I’d passed the tests, made the grades, gave back to the community… now I could breathe a little.


Now that I’ve given that piece of advice, back to my second feeling.  I felt anxious about getting the responses in the mail.  I liked something (or many things) about each school, and non-acceptance letters would feel like a personal rejection of me.  I was worried that I could have done better on the essays, and perhaps I didn’t “sell myself” correctly.

Tired because I’d been striving for perfection for six months…in and out of class.  Senior year can seem like a whirlwind of activities…I’d be lost in the next set of things to do without realizing that I’d finished the last ones.  Hopefully, your year hasn’t been like that too much.  However, I was tired, and I still had to find energy and enthusiasm to finish out the school year.

So, after waiting for a few months, I started receiving the college decisions in the mail.  My first acceptance letter was amazing…I can’t quite describe the feeling.  I was wanted…on a 4-year college campus.  For someone from a family who doesn’t pump out college graduates, this was something new…a goal apart from everything else I’d worked for.  All of the work…the stress…the time management…the effort…the tears and the struggling…it was all worth it.

So hat’s off to you for completing the applications.  Now…sit back…relax…you’ve got amazing things coming your way!


duylam-85This is post is going to be a McFlurry of things – just a heads up.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine at Babson, Alex, and he told me he wanted to transfer to Stanford or USC [both in his home state]. But he said “Man, but I may just give up on Stanford, my GPA isn’t high enough for it.” He has a 3.67 or a 3.7 – pretty good for a first year. Anyway.

Now I’m back home in good ol’ Virginia and I was talking to my good friend, David, who actually goes to Stanford. We talked about this, that, and the third – we had a lot of college stuff to catch up on. I finally asked him though about the whole GPA, test scores, etc thing and what it meant to Admissions @ Stanford [and I believe this is the same for all top tier schools]. He said that all of the good stats are super fantastic and it does help a lot, but he said that especially for Stanford, it is all about the passion. The passion you have for whatever it is that you do and it is about showing that passion through your essays. Now don’t quote me for every school, but I think it’s safe to say that it is the same for all schools. Maybe my fellow scholars can enlighten on it.

So convey passion. Make your essays exude the sweat, blood, and tears you’ve shed over the years. Easier said than done I know, but a key, as you probably already have heard, to conveying it is through an example of your life. It’s too easy to just say “I want to be the best”, instead show them it!

Anna Ivey even agrees upon this principle of conveying passion as a key to admission to law schools. But regardless of which school, undergrad or grad, passion is the key.

Here are some law school essay examples of how NOT to write. I figure if I give an example of what SHOULDN’T be done then there will be more space for your own style instead of following what is a good essay.

Bad Law School Essays

I would now leave off with a quote from Atlas Shrugged, but stupid me I forgot to mark the page with the quote – it was from Hank Rearden – but it went something like: “What he feared most was not those that oppose him, but losing the ability of motion, of not wanting to take action.”

Merry Christmas,

Climb High, Climb Far…TAKE RISKS!

lysa-85Hey guys! Frequently here at Williams I walk past Hopkins gate. Engraved on this passageway are these encouraging words:

“Climb High, Climb Far, Your Goal the Sky; Your Aim the Star”

These simple yet meanigful words, evoke just how important it is to strive beyond the best you can be. Therefore, I urge you all to consider applying to those schools, you figure are completely out of you’re reach. What’s the worst that could happen?

During my college application process my senior year, an admissions counselor once told me, you could have all “As,” perfect SATS, and be involved in  many extracurriculars at your school, but that is not what makes you stand apart from all the rest! I further learned that every year dozens of the “virtually same type of students” apply to the nation’s top universities with these very same qualities. And you know what? In all honesty, most of them are turned away!

Believe it or not, having good grades, good test scores, and trying to be involved in everything in high school may not even get you into an IVY or top school! 

I know when I was in high school I figured grades meant everything and that no college cared about my perspectives or anything else. However, when you apply to college the truth is quite the contrary. Colleges do want to know your struggles and how you’ve over come such obstacles. It’s not about how many times you may of fallen, but rather how you’ve picked yourself back up and made something positive out of a negative situaiton.

So don’t stress about your grades so much, or being voted the leader of every club or sport. Don’t hesitate to do something out of your comfort zone; something non-academic! Be unique; be bold, because that’s what will truly set you apart when you’re application reaches the admission office!

Remember when you write your application essays, that colleges respect an individual who can face the ups and downs in their lives, and realize that you are human! Try to personalize your essays so that they not only cover the topic you must write about, but also encompass something unique about yourself, your thoughts, or who you are as individual. DON’T BE JUST A NUMBER IN THE APPLICATION PROCESS, TRULY STAND OUT!

I myself, wrote my college essay on the corruption of the foster care and adoption systems in America. I tied my essay into my own experiences in foster care as a child, and how being adopted has impacted my life. I figured I was taking a chance with this topic, because not everyone is going to agree with you, but you must write about whatever lies close to your heart, because that’s what’s going make an impact, and truly stick in the minds of admissions officers when they are making their decisions of acceptance.

So don’t hold back, when writing you’re essays.  TAKE CHANCES! THE MOST UNIQUE STORIES AND THUS ESSAYS MAKE THE BEST ONES! If you need any advice on your college essays or just want someone to look it over for you, just email me, or post a comment. I would love to help you guys!Thats what we bloggers are here for, YOU!

E.D. early decision or easily distressed?

duylam-85Dang, you got an 84 on that Calc test? Good luck getting in YaleVardStanNceton or ColumWillBrownReedMudd [hmm, smashing college names doesn't work as well first names].

Many of you probably applied E.D. to schools already. Some of you probably took a test and didn’t do well on it. Now you’re freaking out because Stanford only accepts 4.48 students.  Students by the way who have never once gotten below a 99% on any test since kindergarten [those kids didn't do well on their coloring tests]. This is so false. My friend David got into Stanford when he got like a 75 on his physics test.

Tip to be gained: Don’t stress out over everything!
Other tip: Don’t slack in school just because you applied ED. I was an abuser of procrastination when I was in your shoes.

Another tip: Don’t put all your money on your ED school, you might not get in. Now using the business lingo I’ve learned: Hedge your bets by allowing yourself a margin of safety. [It feels pretty cool knowing what those finance guys are saying]

I didn’t apply ED to any school because well most of my schools didn’t have an ED option, and I’ll tell you something for those of you who are starting to pick or starting Apps [you guys have better started!! don't procrastinate]. You may be easily distressed as well. Yeah you might feel like time is running out, and in all technicality it is running, but I won’t say running out because that’s too pessimistic.  But hold on to your wits, Little Wing. Don’t you get pessimistic. So here is my piece of wisdom I have fought so hard to learn. Take life a step at a time. Don’t try to have an all night session for your paper. Or write your CommonApp essay RIGHT BEFORE IT’S DUE.

My friends were a huge factor in helping me get my things done in an orderly manner. They got me this picture frame that said “Procrastination: Hard work pays off later. Laziness pays off now.” You really don’t want a bad later.

So you know go to your advisor and ask him or her to help get your transcript ready to send off. They can be really slow sometime. And for those of you who haven’t found a school; try leafing through some College magazines. Or if you have a person you admire [Akio Toyoda for me] why don’t you see where they went to school and check it out.

May your lows keep you humble and your highs keep you tied,
- Duylam

Cooking this week in Cali

seanna-85Have you ever heard the saying―“Out of the frying pan, and into the fire…”?

That’s pretty much my motto for the week, since I’m gearing up for mid-terms this Thursday and Friday―one in math and the other in Latin―while also maintaining my other classes…work…exercise…etc.  A few nights ago, I was sitting at my desk conjugating A-stem verbs (unsuccessfully, I might add)…and I realized that I was still in my volleyball gear from class earlier that day, kneepads and all.

Test weeks always feel like a blur to me…from one mode of studying to another.  And sometimes, I still have to remind myself to take a break and relax, whether that’s through volleyball, dancing, or even playing with my rats, Mike & Ike.

During my senior year of high school, I often forgot to let myself sit back and enjoy the year.  I was always working…or studying…or searching for scholarships.  And when I look back, I recall moments that I wish I’d simply had more fun…times that I wish I hadn’t been thinking of that upcoming History test over the Nazi Regime or the Psychology paper over chemicals correlated to addiction.

Those tests were one of many…but the movie nights and dances that I missed…were not.  Now I realize that this may sound like the old “live in the moment” and “smell the roses” lesson…but bearing those things in mind can help you create a balance that is necessary for good health and emotional well-being.

As you work on college essays, applications, high ACT and SAT test scores; keep in mind that many great schools also want to know that you’re involved in other activities…things that you enjoy.  Pomona was an especially good fit, because they weren’t interested in me as yet another high school test score, but rather, me as a person—with goals and passions and faults.

So…to sum this up…in the midst of all that senior-year perfection you’re constructing so that you bedazzle nationwide admission-ers, don’t forget to let loose every so often…shake your hair in the wind…smell the roses…dance & sing…have fun…just because…

“The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.” Elbert Hubbard