69 – Your Extracurricular Strategy

Extracurricular activities are essential to any compelling college application. In this episode, we talk about 3 different types of students: students who don’t have any extracurriculars, students who have too many extracurriculars, and students that got into college on the strengths of their extracurriculars. Then, we talk a little about how schools, administrators, and teachers can do a better job of counseling students.

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Gao Admissions – Test Prep Tutoring and College Counseling from Your Host Michael Gao

Show Notes:

ECs are the best way to get involved in subjects that isn’t covered in school (such as political science) (7:30)

Do ECs but don’t let your grades suffer, find a good balance. Your ECs are a vehicle for college admissions (14:30)

Make sure your ECS relate to your overall “story” (22:00)

The best way to evaluate your ECs is to be in it for 2+ years with growth (member to president). it’s not quantity but dedication throughout your time (31:00)

Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

Thanks to Slaking_97 for the Intro and Outro Music licensed under CC BY 3.0.

67 – Handling Deferrals from Early Decision

Early Decision decisions can bring a lot of joy, a lot of despair, or a lot of indecision. If you received a deferral, that can often mean the latter. In this episode, Michael and Sean talk about what a deferral means and some common myths. Then, we talk about the options a deferred applicant has to get into the school during Regular Decision.

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Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

 

63 – AdmissionsMom: Mindful College Admissions, Her Book, Her App, and More

Michael interviews AdmissionsMom, queen of the Reddit r/applyingtocollege community, capping off a summer of interviews with the community. In this episode, AdmissionsMom and Michael talk about mindful college admissions and how it can help craft a reflective college application and make the process less stressful. Then, we talk about her new book about moderating the subreddit and her new app that helps students be mindful about their college tours.

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Show Notes:

More AdmissionsMom here

ApplyingtoCollege Subreddit

AdmissionsMom’s Book “Hey AdmissionsMom: Real Talk from Reddit”

CollegeVizzy – a new approach to college visits

 

Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

61 – Entrepreneurship in High School and College Applications with Teland of the Major Jobs Podcast

This week, I talk with Teland from the Major Jobs Podcast. As a fellow podcaster, we talk a little bit about how we both got started and why we do it. Then, we talk about what it’s like to do podcasting as a student: Teland as a high school student and me as a college student. Finally, we discuss Teland’s plans to leverage the podcast on his college admissions.

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Show Notes:

Major Jobs Podcast

 

Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

60 – Real Talk on Standardized Test and Test Prep with Kathryn Zheng

Test prep tutoring is very expensive and a lot of people don’t have those resources. This week, I’m joined by Kathryn Zheng, the founder of Sparky Prep. Sparky Prep is an online peer tutoring program where high school students tutor other high school students on the SAT, ACT, APs, and other academic subjects. I talk about why Kathryn started the organization, how it works, and what she thinks about the value of standardized tests.

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Show Notes:

Sparky Prep

 

Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

59 – Lessons from a Former Admissions Officer with Sean Cai

On Reddit, former admissions officer WilliamTheReader made some harsh accusations against his former bosses. On this episode, I talk with my friend Sean Cai about these accusations and how we as students should react. Among the topics discussed are how school treat private school applicants, low income students, and Asian American students.

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Show Notes:

Reddit thread from WilliamTheReader

 

Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

58 – If You Want To Be Different: Non-Traditional Colleges with Ashley Chen

College admissions is a great time to reflect on your future. That means that not everyone is suited for a traditional, 4-year education. On this episode, I’m joined by incoming Stanford freshman Ashley Chen to talk about alternatives to a traditional education from 2-year community colleges to service academies to colleges with just plain wacky admissions processes and educations (anyone up for cow manure and manual labor?).

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Show Notes:

Make School – Great 2 Year Program w/ No Up-Front Cost

Deep Spring College

Olin College of Engineering

Alice Lloyd College – Free College

Berea College – Free College

Thiel Fellowship

Applying to Service Academies

Find a Community College

 

Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

57 – Finding a Home and a College with Carolyne G.

Your college isn’t just a school; it’s also a home. On this episode, I talk to high school senior Carolyn G. on how she’s learning more about the soft-side of a school: its community, culture, and friendliness. We talk about what questions to ask, who to ask, and when to ask. Then, we finish up with some final tips on how to make the most out of a college visit.

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Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

56 – Computerized Admissions Officers: UT Austin’s Wacky Admissions System with Jeffrey Wang

Jeffrey Wang is the founder of the r/UTAustinAdmissions subreddit. Today, he joins the podcast to talk about UT has essentially computerized half of the admissions process. UT gives each applicant an Academic Index and a Personal Achievement Index. Jeffrey explains how UT calculates these scores and how it uses them to evaluate applications. Turn out that UT’s admissions process isn’t so holistic after all. Stay tuned till the end for the wackiest part – applicants are literally given a coordinate pair that is supposed to encompass their entire application and placed on a 2D Cartesian grid. Wack!

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Show Notes:

FERPA

How to FERPA UT Austin

Academic Index Calculator

 

Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.

55 – Applying to Hogwarts/Schools in the UK with Ethan Summers

America isn’t the only place with great colleges. The United Kingdom has so many wells know schools like Oxford and Cambridge, but it’s also a completely different country, culture, and education system. On this episode, Imperial College student Ethan Summers walks us through the UK college admissions process and how college admissions in the UK are much more focused on academics and scores. We talk about some of the key differences between the UK and US education systems.

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Show Notes:

UCAS

Interview Prep

 

Thanks to Redaf for the Guitar Sound Effect licensed under CC BY 3.0.