In this blog I interviewed a high school graduate who just got selected to attend Georgia Institute of Technology. This blog is in the same format as the other one. Hope you learn as much as I leaned from inteviewing the student.
College attended: Georgia Inst. of Tech.
SAT Score: 1560
ACT Score: Never took
Number of AP’s taken : 13
In your opinion, what was the number one factor which helped you get selected to attend this university?
Individuality. Admissions officers read hundreds of apps from your region and others. You need to find a way to stand out first from the others applying in your school, then your region, state and beyond. If the officers are able to remember who you are as not only an applicant but as a person and a student amongst the others, you will have a significantly higher chance at acceptance.
In your opinion, were academics the most important aspect of you getting in this college?
Yes and no, the higher end colleges view academics as almost a standard, because after all tests like SAT and the nationwide GPA scale are based on standards and how a student compares against peers. There were times where academics were tough, so during those times other priorities had to be pushed aside to make sure I have enough evidence to a college that I can handle academic rigor. But when things were going smoothly, it's imperative to use your time more productively elsewhere.
What extracurricular activities played a role in helping you get into the college?
Science/Engineering related clubs, Career-related internships, and hobbies like sports that I had genuine passion for.
What extracurricular activities were not as important in helping you get into this college?
"Filler" clubs, where you simply signed up, showed little active participation or achievement in.
Did you start any clubs or any volunteer/intern/research work which might have impacted your acceptance?
I started an engineering club at our school called Innovation club where we discussed and designed innovations to existing everyday products. I interned at a pharmaceutical lab for drug delivery research beginning my freshman year to my senior year, and had substantial evidence of out of school learning and lab experience.
Did you participate in any sports in your school and do you think it might have helped you get into your college ?
I played volleyball my freshman year, and did intramural basketball all 4 years. I found that school sports teams often took too much time and may interfere with a challenging academic schedule. I recommend joining a team only if you can hold a leadership position or are competitive at higher levels (e.g. States).
What advantages or disadvantages did you have against other students applying for this university?
As much as colleges convince you each applicant is treated the same, they really don’t. My demographic (Asian male) applying for engineering typically has more competition than other demographics and other majors. Geographical setting also matters; being a student in the Northeast applying to a lot of Northeast school is considered a disadvantage as colleges are looking for geographical diversity in their accepted pool. My primary advantages included my SAT score and my research work at the lab that I could show.
What things did you make sure to include in your essay which distinguished you from other students?
As mentioned earlier, expressing yourself as an individual is the most important thing when it comes to essays. In my essay, I included an International presentation I gave over my research work at the lab and how it really shifted my mindset on what I want to do with my education and ultimately my life.