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My University Application Experience Lillian Ma Princeton University Langstaff Secondary School.

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Presentation on theme: "My University Application Experience Lillian Ma Princeton University Langstaff Secondary School."— Presentation transcript:

1 My University Application Experience Lillian Ma Princeton University Langstaff Secondary School

2 Self - Introduction Born in Beijing, China Moved to Toronto, Canada in 1999 Began thinking about applying to US colleges in grade 10 Applied to 13 Universities Prospective Major: Integrated Science – Biochemistry

3 Outline Academics SAT I/SAT II Extra-curricular Activities Competitions/Awards Volunteer Summer Activities Arts Interviews The Essay Recommendation Letters

4 My Personal Timeline Junior Year: Took SAT I in June Senior Year: Took SAT II biology in November Took Math II in December Took Chemistry in January Took AP Chemistry, Biology, Calculus AB, Physics B in May

5 Academics Take challenging courses if you are capable All marks matter! (not just your “ top six ” ) Try to learn beyond the course curriculum Access your strong courses and weak courses and balance out your time the yield the best result Try to take diverse courses if possible Don ’ t procrastinate!

6 SAT I Start studying early! Generally taken in May of your junior year Try to aim for a score Plan a schedule to improve each areas Know “ why ” you made mistakes and figure out how to fix them Word Smart, Grammar Smart Short Essays – know how to pace your time Practice, practice, practice!

7 SAT II Generally taken in June of your junior year Make sure you know how many you need and whether they fulfill your requirements Most SAT II may require extra studying of materials not taught in class Generally aim for over 750 May be easier to take one earlier in the year, such as in January

8 AP Take them if you are interested in that field Self-studying – must start early! Make a plan! Order textbooks online – collegeboard.com for information Take notes from the textbooks Do the practice exams!

9 My AP Exams Self-studied Biology, Chemistry, Calculus AB and Physics B in 2 nd semester of Grade 12 Talk to Guidance Counselor – arranged to take the exam at another school Bought Zumdahl ’ s Chemistry, Campbell ’ s Biology, Walker ’ s Physics Don ’ t have to know “ everything ” on the textbook – look at past exams for guidance

10 Competitions (Math and Science) Canadian Math Open, AMC, AIME, Euclid Science: University of Toronto Biology Competition, Chem 13, SIN Physics Contest, Olympiads Require extra studying and practicing previous exams Go over your school notes or AP notes – they help! Research them on google!

11 Competitions (Others) Debating Competitions (Hart House, Queens, Western) Richard Ivey Case Competition Literary Competitions (Research them!) Mock Trial Tournaments Try for them if you get the chance! Most of these you can find out from your extra-curricular activities counselor or teacher

12 Extra-Curricular Activities Start to get involved early! Stay committed and contribute as much as possible Better to focus on a two or three than to dab in many They can reflect your diverse interests

13 My Extra-Curricular Activities Senior Director of Multicultural Show President of Debate Team Co-Head of SOS Darfur Head of Journalism in Yearbook Mock Trial Team Lawyer Prefect

14 Arts Special talent – Instrument, voice, dance, fine arts Find a Studio and make a recording Research the requirements (Some universities require particular compositions and time limits) Know the DEADLINE! It is usually much earlier than your applications deadline

15 Arts – The Piano Requirements Recommendation letter from your instructor Resume of all your past awards, works, and diplomas CD (usually 10 min long) – No DVDs or tapes Do it only if you are beyond the amateur level!

16 Volunteer Work Commit! Choose something that you that you ’ re interested in exploring There are many opportunities – try to go outside your school community Possibilities: Hospitals, Libraries, Ontario Science Centre

17 Summer Activities Stay Active! Do something meaningful or enjoyable Attend camps, travel, volunteer, study for AP and SAT Explore your interests – this is a good time to do something unique Plan your summer activities ahead of time! (in February or early March) ISSYP, Music Theory Classes, York Central Hospital Volunteer

18 ISSYP Physics camp for Grade 11 students across Canada and world 50 chosen Canadian students and 50 chosen International students 2 weeks in Perimeter Institute Learned from the top physicists in the world Meet many new friends To join: udents/ISSYP/ udents/ISSYP/

19 College Applications Research all the requirements and deadlines, and read the application early! (in the summer) Make yourself a calendar or an agenda Know your aim – choose an appropriate amount of colleges to apply Each college has its own definition of “ excellence ” Check whether you want to do Early Decisions

20 College Applications (Continued) Generally take a very long time to do Send the materials early – don ’ t wait for the day before the deadline – interviews are sometimes a first come first serve basis Make sure you track your applications Read over the applications many times – make sure it ’ s errorless!

21 The Essay Make the essay reflect who you are The “ significance ” of the topic does not matter – how you interprets it matters Making up experiences usually does not come out naturally It is a long process – start months earlier from deadline! Read several examples: “ 50 successful Harvard Essays ” - Book Know your tone and writing style

22 The Essay ( “ Continued ” ) I wrote about “ personal growth ” – a childhood experience meeting my best friend and a childhood experience at a bus stop The best essays are usually about experiences that you have a passion for Make every sentence count Try to avoid trite topics – eg. Winning a competition Get them edited by teachers, peer, parents Essay length – anywhere from 400 words to 1000

23 Recommendation Letters Important to set you apart from other applicants Get teachers who know you best Give them resumes of yourself They will also be rating you! Letters should also reflect your passion and personality – anecdotes may help Letters should support what you ’ ve mentioned on your application Different schools may require different types of letters

24 School Reports Rank matters – so keep your grades high! How heavy the workload that you ’ ve taken on is also important Set a good impression on your guidance counselor Photocopy the applications but make sure the signatures are originals!

25 My Interviews - Princeton Lasted about 75 minutes Rabbi Synagogue Asked questions about my favourite books, my passions, my hobbies Talked about extra-curricular activities Very relaxed and fun

26 My Interviews - Harvard Lasted 100 minutes First Canadian Place – conference room Lawyer for Osler & Hoskins He was very talkative and sharp Asked questions about world issues and business news Asked family background (mother and father education and occupation), public or private school, my rank, SAT scores Asked how much I knew about Harvard Was extremely thorough Mainly did the talking - a lot about Harvard ’ s history Spent a lot of time comparing Princeton to Harvard Actually hinted that I am likely be accepted to Princeton

27 My Interviews - MIT Lasted 90 min Starbucks Architect Talked about my hobbies, interests Talked about the different course offerings at MIT Very nice and helpful

28 Tips for Interviews Dress nicely – business casual Bring a resume and/or a small work that you are proud of (eg. Yearbook graphic) Read the newspaper for the week of Go to the homepage of the university ’ s website and read the news Prepare some questions that you would ask Go over your application – keep your answers consistent Show your passion and be motivated Interviewers “ will ” ask for your extracurricular activities and hobbies – prepare for that Show interest in the University Be confident and be yourself – “ you ’ ve prepared for this all your life ”

29 Helpful Guides nkings/brief/t1natudoc_brief.php Various blogs from college ’ s admissions websites Princeton Review ’ s “ How to get into America ’ s Elite Colleges ” “ 50 Successful Harvard Application Essays ” (1 st edition and 2 nd edition) “ On Writing the College Application Essay: The Key to Acceptance and the College of your Choice ” By: Harry Bauld Princeton Review ’ s “ The Best 366 Colleges ” Do your own research on google and amazon: There are many, many more!

30 Conclusion Good luck on your application process Remember, everyone is different – show them what is so special about you


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