We had the opportunity of interviewing SN, a student at the University of Pennsylvania about: College Applications
Here are some of his qualifications:
A sophomore at UPenn, Wharton School of Business
Maintained a 4.4 GPA in high school
Previously involved in Model United Nations, Varsity Soccer, Varsity Tennis, Wind Orchestra, Marching Band, Mu Alpha Theta, National Honor Society
Here are some important words SN shares:
"I started doing most things second semester of junior year, but I would definitely recommend getting an earlier start than I did."
"I see a lot of people applying to 20+ schools but at the end of the day, you can only go to one"
Q: What were some important steps you took to prepare for college and when would you suggest taking them? (researching, taking the SAT/ACT, writing essays, etc.)
A: I started doing most things second semester of junior year, but I would definitely recommend getting an earlier start than I did. I would start doing some preliminary research and prep around sophomore year, and then really get serious (start taking SAT/ACT, brainstorm essay topics, narrow down a list of colleges) by the beginning of junior year.
Q: What did you consider when choosing colleges to apply to and attend?
A: I considered a lot of factors but to list a few I thought about ranking for my desired major, overall ranking, location (I wanted to stay on the eastern side of the US), campus, academic culture, and how I felt regarding whether it was the right fit for me. For example, when I visited Penn, I immediately felt that it was a good fit for me. I did not get this same feeling at MIT or Yale.
Q: How did you determine which teachers to ask for teacher recommendations? Did you already have a plan and build up a good relationship with them?
A: I was very close with my world history teacher and I had him for multiple classes every year of high school. He was also the advisor for MUN, so I knew him from that as well. I had always known that he would be my first letter of recommendation. For the second, I chose my English teacher because I had him twice, we were fairly close, and I trusted his ability to write a good letter.
Q: What is one thing you wish you knew when applying for colleges?
A: I wish I had known how to plan an effective timeline. If I had started earlier this would’ve been much more feasible, but I felt like I was rushing on everything throughout the entire process and there were a lot of scary deadlines that could’ve been avoided. A friend of mine actually started a site called Virtual Vine where you can get advice on this kind of thing, so I would really recommend checking it out.
Q: What is something you avoided when applying for colleges?
A: I avoided applying to way too many schools. I see a lot of people applying to 20+ schools but at the end of the day, you can only go to one. I narrowed it down to 2 safe schools, and 4 reach schools. This is on the conservative end for sure but I would keep it to 5-10.
Think you know someone or are someone that can give some advice? Fill out this form here!
Have more questions based on what you’ve read? Submit them here!