As a strong performer at a reputable international school, Nathan had every right to aim high with his applications. But when he signed up with Admissionado halfway through application season, it became clear that his intended plan was far from feasible.
In our first chat, Nathan declared that he wanted to apply to all the Ivy League schools plus Stanford, MIT, University of Chicago, Duke, Northwestern, Georgetown, and NYU. That’s 15 total with virtually all being reach schools for any applicant. To make matters worse, there were only weeks to go until the regular decision deadline.
The first option would have been to follow Nathan’s plan and hunker down with fifteen applications. His logic was that he already had a decent early action acceptance, so he might as well gamble and try his luck with ALL the top schools. Nothing to lose, right? Wrong! Attempting this mammoth task would have likely netted Nathan zero acceptances because he’d water down the quality of each individual application by attempting so many. Also, some applications — including Stanford, MIT, and Columbia — had long and involved supplements. The second approach, whittling down the list, was the only viable option.
The Admissionado Approach
After explaining the reality of the situation to Nathan, I let him know that the first task was to select five or six schools MAXIMUM. I knew this was the limit given our finite time window, and I assured him that if by some miracle he finished early, we could keep going.
I outlined the best way for Nathan to research the schools so that he could discover which were best suited to his academic and extracurricular interests. Nathan finished his research, emerging with five schools that excited him: Harvard, Dartmouth, Northwestern, Georgetown, and the Stern undergraduate business program at NYU. Since four of these schools (all except Georgetown) were on the Common Application, the next order of business was to crank out an incredible personal statement.
Nathan worked hard, selecting a topic that was emotionally charged yet showed a tremendous level of maturity. After five edits, his personal statement was polished and ready. The final step was to complete the applications in order of preference. Despite fall semester final exams at his high school, Nathan stayed the course and finished each application in advance of the deadline, allowing him time for careful final reviews instead of hasty last-minute submissions.
Nathan was offered admission at four prestigious institutions: Dartmouth, Georgetown, Northwestern, and NYU. By taking a targeted approach and devoting quality time to his work, Nathan proved his value in each application. He ultimately chose Dartmouth for its excellent economics department, broad-based curriculum, and incredible resources both in and outside the classroom.
Nathan is truly inspiring, as his ambition stems from a desire to alleviate the economic problems in his tumultuous home country. His personal statement might have been the only one to ever bring tears to my eyes. The world is a better place because you’re in it, Nathan!