Meet Reggie, a junior. He's from Chengdu.

Academic Strength

Passion for biology

Biggest Weakness

Enthusiasm without organization

Extracurricular Strength

Internship at zoo

Well Roundedness 6

The Challenge

In life, you don’t meet many people who are quite as enthusiastic as Reggie. When he looked into the future, he saw an endless array of wonderful possibilities. The problem was he couldn’t focus enough to zero in on just a few and pursue them relentlessly. He had firm academic interests — biology and chemistry with a future career in animal conservation research — but he couldn’t figure out the best way to get from Point A to Point B. To make matters more complicated, he had several peripheral interests that he definitely wanted to explore in college, as well.

Possible Approaches

Sometimes enthusiasm can propel you towards a goal. Other times, it can distract you. For Reggie, I’d suggest an undergraduate program that was able to meet all of his needs, and this would send him on a tangent exploring thirty other schools with vaguely similar curricula. A Skype call to discuss selecting a personal statement topic might have caused Reggie to wax philosophical about a dozen unrelated ideas, none of which would have been foundations for viable essays. The only way to help him was to offer definitive structure in all areas, breaking down and streamlining the application process.

The Admissionado Approach

Since Reggie joined Team Admissionado in spring of junior year, the first order of business was to help him select the best summer activity out of five viable options. Of course, he was excited about each and couldn’t decide. We assessed the pros and cons, discovering which activity closely met his passions while providing solid growth opportunities. He ultimately interned at a famous zoo in his hometown, an experience that became central in his personal statement. Next came the issue of school selection. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Reggie was interested in about 50 programs. We worked together to create a balanced list of reaches, targets, and safeties that had strong biology departments with opportunities for internships in animal conservation. In addition, each school had established extracurricular activities where Reggie could maintain his interests in traditional Chinese music and chess. Finally, essay writing proved tricky because Reggie had so much to say, oftentimes doubling or tripling word counts in early drafts. I steered him in the right direction by giving strict guidelines while still allowing for creative additions where appropriate. Ultimately, his essays emerged as tightly structured and emotionally resonant — with just the right amount of enthusiasm.

The Result

Reggie was accepted to Brandeis University, Boston University, UC Davis, and UC San Diego. He chose Brandeis because of its impressive Life Sciences department where he currently majors in Biology. Reggie is also a star member of the Chess Team, even as a freshman.

Personal Shoutout

Once he learned to hone his passion and zeal, Reggie created applications that were focused and brimming with positivity. His enthusiasm was infectious… I honestly recaptured the excitement of my youth by seeing the world through your eyes, Reggie!

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