B.A., History
I'm a sophomore at Columbia University studying history, philosophy, creative writing, and comparative literature.
Features Included


Hometown Dayton, Ohio
EthnicityWhite Non-Hispanic
Class of2020
First Gen College StudentNo

Results, Essays, and Advice

Waitlisted or Withdrew
  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • University of California - Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
  • University of California - Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
Tap/click a school logo above to view essays and advice specific to that school.

Columbia University (New York, NY)

Applied for a B.A. in History

Accepted and Enrolled Legacy: No

School Specific Essays

Prompt (from Common App 2016): The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience? Straight Sixes I stood at the front of the near-empty classroom, fidgeting with a folded piece of notebook paper and stammering through my introduction. My palms were sweaty and my knees shook as I dissolved into panic. “And this leads us to...
Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
307 Words
On the morning I first visited Columbia University, there was a New York Times paper lying by the door of our hotel room. There was an article in it by Columbia Professor Joseph Stiglitz, entitled "Inequality is not Inevitable", which I read as we ate breakfast. What immediately struck me about Stiglitz's attitude was his willingness to question conventional assumptions, his concern for the marginalized in all parts of the globe, and his readiness to take into account the complexities...
Supplemental Essay: Other
328 Words
Prompt: what attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section? I traced my fingers along the surface of the fabric, feeling its texture. It was my first day at the Dayton International Peace Museum, and I was talking to a refugee from Burundi about the "Golden Rule" quilt on display in the lobby. As I continued to volunteer at the museum week after week, as I talked to Chinese students...

School Specific Advice

My favorite course thus far, and why
203 Words
It's really hard for me to chose just one favorite course from my first year at Columbia, because I've loved almost every course I've taken so far (with maybe only two exceptions, aka University Writing and Frontiers of Science, which I thought were a little too reminiscent of high school). I loved Lit Hum (short for Literature Humanities), which is the...
Why I ultimately chose my school
303 Words
I chose to apply to Columbia ED (Early Decision), meaning that if I was accepted, I'd be obligated to enroll there. I decided to do this because--after my first visit to the Columbia campus two months before the ED deadline--I realized that I wanted to go there more than anywhere else. At the beginning of that summer, though, this definitely wasn't the case for me, and I was still pretty undecided about where I wanted to go. To be honest, the reasons I first began to consider applying to Columbia had a lot to do with location (which I think...
How I chose schools to apply to
177 Words
I chose schools to apply to based mainly on their academic reputation, especially when it came to fields I wanted to major in or take a lot of classes in (in my case, history, writing, literature, and philosophy). After Columbia (which I was attracted to because of the Core Curriculum--I elaborate more about...
List of schools I interviewed with and my interview experience
324 Words
I didn't interview with Columbia, because they didn't offer on-campus interviews and only provide interviews to students who live in areas where there are enough alumni willing to be interviewers (which wasn't the case for me). However, that didn't really matter too much, since Columbia doesn't place very much (if any) emphasis on interviews as a factor for admissions, and it's mainly just a good way to talk to alumni about the school. That being said, I did interview with three schools: Yale, UChicago, and Barnard (which is basically a woman's college affiliated with Columbia). My UChicago interview definitely went...
How to increase chances at my school
243 Words
If you end up deciding that Columbia is your top choice, I'd strongly recommend applying ED. It's hard to determine exactly how much of an advantage this gives you in the admissions process (the acceptance rate for ED applicants is usually noticeably higher than for RD applicants--though of course correlation doesn't equal causation, and it could also be the case that the types of people who apply ED to Columbia just tend to...
My extracurricular activities in college, and why I chose them
269 Words
Overall, I'm much less involved in extracurriculars in college compared to high school. This is in part because I took on an above-average workload for Columbia College students both semesters of my first year (six courses, around the previous credit cap of 22 points) and as a result I spent most of my time focused on schoolwork. That being said, I was able to devote a decent amount of time (at least my first semester) to two extracurricular activities in college: Columbia's...
What I like about my school’s location and culture
294 Words
couldn't be happier with Columbia's location--it's right in Manhattan, and it has a perfect combination of a really nice (though fairly compact) campus and a very urban environment. Some people think that Morningside Heights is a relatively boring part of NYC, but personally it's one of my favorite neighborhoods in the city. The restaurants in Morningside are generally way cheaper than anywhere else I've been to in the city, and there's also a nice park (called Riverside) located just a few minutes' walk away. It's also very easy...
What might make for a good “Why Us” essay topic at my school
556 Words
I think that one of the biggest pitfalls in writing a "why us" essay for Columbia is to just write about how you want to go to Columbia because it's in NYC. Of course that's one of the really awesome things about Columbia, and one of the aspects that differentiate it from the other Ivy League schools, but it doesn't really tell your reader why you want to go to Columbia specifically. After all, there are tons of universities in NYC, and if your "why us" essay could also serve equally well as an explanation of why you want to...

More Essays

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General Admissions Advice

What set me apart from other applicants
274 Words
I think that one of the things that helped set me apart from other applicants were my extracurriculars--in particular, Academic Decathlon and my creative writing-related activities--which I chose to really emphasize in my application. I'd put a lot of effort into both of these activities over the years, because I really loved them and because they were both very central to who I am and what my major interests in life are (writing, learning about history and other humanities subjects). So by...
My advice about getting recommenders
234 Words
When it comes to recommendations, my major advice would just be to request them from someone who knows you really well and who can talk about your strengths. These strengths don't necessarily have to be related to the major you want to pursue, and in fact it might be even better if you use the recommendations as a way to show another side of your character or personality that doesn't...
Recommended summer activities during high school and college
408 Words
My main advice for summer would be to just spend the time learning about things that interest you and doing more of something that you love to do, but maybe don't have time for during the school year. In my case, that meant a lot of writing and reading about a wide range of topics in history, philosophy, and literature. I also spent a lot of time taking summer courses, sometimes to get in a few extra APs, and sometimes just for the fun of learning something new. If you look in the right places, it's easy to find online...
What I’d change about my application process
191 Words
There isn't too much I'd want to change about my application process, since I'm pretty happy with how it went and where I got in, but I think I would change my approach about applying ED. I'd still apply ED to Columbia (since I think it gave me at least a small advantage in getting accepted, and...

High School Performance

Weighted GPA
Top 5%
Academic Performance in High School Steady

Test Scores

Highest ACT
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Other ACT Scores
ACT Prep
Highest SAT
SAT Score Details
Converted SAT Score1550
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PSAT Scores

AP / IB Classes and Scores

Details11 classes and scores



ActivitiesAcademic Decathlon, Debate Club/Team, Quiz Bowl/Academic Bowl, National Honor Society, Model Congress / Model UN, Mock Trial, World/Global Affairs Club, Library Volunteer
Elaborate on Extracurriculars or Work

Experience & Awards

Volunteer Experiences
Awards Received
Application Additional Materials

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