College Admissions Info

Columbia University, ‘21
BS, Operations Research

Profile Overview

Profile contains
  • Test Scores
  • High School Performance
  • Extracurriculars & Awards
  • Personal statement
  • 25 supplemental essays
  • 16 advice topics

Student Background

Hi! I'm an incoming engineering student at Columbia University. I am a probability theory enthusiast, bubblegum trap lover, and a pineapple-on-pizza believer.
From: Mumbai , India
Gender: Male
First Gen College Student: No
Race/Ethnicity: Asian
Accepted At: Duke, JHU, NYU, UPenn, WashU, UMich, Middlebury, Case, Wesleyan, Williams
Denied At:
Waitlisted At:
Withdrew From:
Is English First Language: Yes
Other Language(s) Spoken: Tamil, Arabic, French

Test Scores

Converted SAT Score: 1410
Other SAT Scores:
SAT Prep:
Highest ACT:
Other ACT Scores:
ACT Prep:

High School Performance

GPA, Weighted
Top 1%
High School Type: International
AP / IB Classes and Scores:
Academic Performance in High School: Steady

Extracurriculars & Awards

Sports: Tennis
Extracurricular Activities: Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), Math Team, Church, Local Orchestra / Symphony / Band
Elaborate on Extracurriculars or Work:
Volunteer Experiences:
Awards Received:
Application Additional Materials:

College Application Essays

Personal Statement for Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Duke, UPenn, JHU, WashU, UMich, NYU, Case, Williams, Amherst, Middlebury, Harvey Mudd, Wesleyan: Creative personal story, Interest in med/sci/math, One moment that changed you
630 Words
As I strategized which moves to make next, my pudgy little eleven-year-old fingers dexterously slid the red and white tiles around the four-by-four frame. I glanced at my binary watch: 18 seconds (10010 in binary). Only two more rows to go. A grin slowly started to form on my face, stretching from one ear to the other. Right, left, up, down – my eyes grew wider as I continued to reposition the multicolored metal squares into their natural order. As I moved the “15”...

Supplemental Essay for Columbia: “Why us” school essay
322 Words
Please answer the following short answer question (300 words). Please tell us what you value most about Columbia and why: “Oh, you listen to film music? What’s your favorite composition?” Every time I’m asked this question, my response is always the same – “My favorite is undoubtedly Concerning Hobbits by Howard Shore.” Why? Although I may be shorter than average and have unusually large feet, it is not because I am a hobbit. Rather, Concerning Hobbits represents everything that I...

Supplemental Essay for Columbia: Unique question posed by school
359 Words
For applicants to The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, please tell us what from your current and past experiences (either academic or personal) attracts you specifically to the field or fields of study that you noted in the Member Questions section. (300 words or less): I looked across the table and anxiously watched as my grandma placed her card on the table. The two other elderly women at the table laughed as my grandma placed her card face-up....

Supplemental Essay for Columbia: Unique question posed by school
201 Words
The titles of the required readings from courses during the school year or summer that you enjoyed most in the past year (150 words): As none of my A Level courses have a required reading list, I have drawn titles from a list of books that my teachers have suggested to supplement my coursework. History: Empire: The Rise and Demise of the British World Order and the Lessons for Global Power by Niall Ferguson; An Economic History of the USSR by...

Supplemental Essay for Columbia: Unique question posed by school
138 Words
The titles of books read for pleasure that you enjoyed most in the past year (150 words): Non-Fiction: The Pig That Wants to Be Eaten by Julian Baggini; Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil; Probabilistic Methods in Combinatorics by Paul Erdős; The Arrow Impossibility Theorem by Eric Maskin and Amartya Sen; Red state, Blue state, Rich state, Poor state by Andrew Gelman; Diary of a Genius by Salvador Dalí; The Veil and the Male Elite: Feminist Interpretation of...

Supplemental Essay for Columbia: Unique question posed by school
118 Words
The titles of print or electronic publications you read regularly (150 words): Blogs: F1 Data Junkie by Tony Hirst; Interactive Mathematics Miscellany and Puzzles (Cut-the-knot) by Alexander Bogomolny; Mathbabe - Exploring and Venting About Quantitative Issues by Cathy O’Neil; Surrealism Today blog by Jay Gidwitz; Data Colada by Leif Nelson, Joe Simmons, and Uri Simonsohn; Lewis Carroll Society of North America; The Aperiodical (Math humor) Comics: The Oatmeal comics and blog by Matthew Inman; xkcd comics by Randall Munroe; Indexed –...

Supplemental Essay for Columbia: Unique question posed by school
129 Words
The titles of the films, concerts, shows, exhibits, lectures and other entertainments you enjoyed most in the past year (150 words): Films: The Lobster by Yorgos Lanthimos; Spotlight by Tom McCarthy; Monopoly: a mockumentary by Bader Alhomoud Concerts/Shows: Gregory Porter (jazz) at Arad Fort, Bahrain; Tinariwen (African blues) at Cultural Hall, Bahrain; Exhibits: Tawq Al-Hamamah (The Ring of the Dove) by Ebrahim Busaad at Busaad Arts Gallery, Bahrain; Tayir (Bird) by Khalil Hashimi at Bahrain Arts Society; The Mapparium by...

Supplemental Essay for Columbia: Scholarship application
225 Words
Should you wish to be considered for the Egleston Scholars Program, we invite you to submit a brief statement (up to 150 words) describing how the opportunities and resources provided through the Egleston Scholars Program might enrich your experience at Columbia Engineering. There is no right response for your submission; we hope preparing your statement will be an enjoyable exercise about the possibilities that may await you at Columbia: As a researcher at the Bahrain Centre for Strategic, International, and Energy...

Supplemental Essay for NYU: “Why us” school essay
526 Words
We would like to know more about your interest in NYU. We are particularly interested in knowing what motivated you to apply to NYU and more specifically, why you have applied or expressed interest in a particular campus, school, college, program, and/or area of study? If you have applied to more than one, please tell us why you are interested in each of the campuses, schools, colleges, or programs to which you have applied. You may be focused or...

Supplemental Essay for Williams: Unique question posed by school
431 Words
At Williams we believe that bringing together students and professors in small groups produces extraordinary academic outcomes. Our distinctive Oxford-style tutorial classes—in which two students are guided by a professor in deep exploration of a single topic—are a prime example. Each week the students take turns developing independent work—an essay, a problem set, a piece of art—and critiquing their partner’s work. Focused on close reading, writing, and oral defense of ideas, more than 60 tutorials a...

Supplemental Essay for Duke: “Why us” school essay
198 Words
If you are applying to the Trinity College of Arts and Sciences as a first year applicant, please discuss why you consider Duke a good match for you. Is there something particular about Duke that attracts you? (Please limit your response to no more than 150 words.) I dash from my room in Alspaugh to Old Chemistry and make it just in time for my Fundamentals of Decision Science class. I begin to discuss the implications of a Borda count election...

Supplemental Essay for Princeton: Unique question posed by school
595 Words
In addition to the essay you have written for the Common Application, please write an essay of about 500 words (no more than 650 words and no fewer than 250 words). Using one of the themes below as a starting point, write about a person, event, or experience that helped you define one of your values or in some way changed how you approach the world. Please do not repeat, in full or in part, the essay you wrote for the Common Application. 1....

Supplemental Essay for UMich: “Why us” school essay
517 Words
Describe the unique qualities that attract you to the specific undergraduate College or School (including preferred admission and dual degree programs) to which you are applying at the University of Michigan. How would that curriculum support your interests? (500 words max.) When asked why numbers are beautiful, Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős said, “It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don't see why, someone can't tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If they aren't...

Supplemental Essay for UMich: Scholarship application
775 Words
Prompt 1: You come back to your dorm room at the end of a long day and find a potato, a rubber band and a book. What is the book, and what is the relationship between the three items? I place my pepperoni pizza from U-GO beside the potato and the snapped rubber band on my desk. As I hurriedly create an Excel spreadsheet, I grab a kitchen knife from my drawer. I slice the potato. I slice the pizza. I...

Supplemental Essay for UMich, Yale, Stanford, Amherst: Other
134 Words
If you could only do one of the activities you have listed in the Activities section of your Common Application, which one would you keep doing? Why? (Required for all applicants. Approximately 100 words) Unlike most of the world’s population, I love Mondays. Why? Because every Monday, I meet with my fellow TradeQuest team members to debate sector allocation, stock positions, and investment strategies. While the process of investing undoubtedly interests me, it is the weekly TradeQuest team discussions that...

Supplemental Essay for UPenn: “Why us” school essay
681 Words
How will you explore your intellectual and academic interests at the University of Pennsylvania? Please answer this question given the specific undergraduate school to which you are applying. (400-650 words) “Oh, you listen to film music? What’s your favorite composition?” Every time I’m asked this question, my mind is flooded with a flurry of tunes: the invigorating brass of Star Wars’ Main Title; the grandiose strings of Progeny from The Gladiator; the vibrant, metallic banjo from Luis Bacalov...

Supplemental Essay for Yale: Unique question posed by school
130 Words
Why do these areas appeal to you? [In reference to my preferred majors - Economics and Mathematics, Statistics, and Modern Middle East Studies] (100 words or fewer) Mathematics encompasses a complex universe of problems and solutions. When combined with economics, mathematics becomes much more relevant, as the problems now have real-world applications. I would also build upon my understanding of probability theory and learn about statistics, so that I can also explore the world of uncertainty using data. Growing up in...

Supplemental Essay for Yale: “Why us” school essay
114 Words
Why does Yale appeal to you? (100 words or fewer) My teeth sink into the bread, the buffalo sauce dribbling down my chin. I close my eyes and relish the unique taste of the Wenzel. Yale’s unofficial sandwich, which I first tried in 2014, embodies everything that I love about the school. The buffalo chicken doused in hot sauce is vibrant just like the extra-curricular activities that interest me - YUDI, Living Water, and the Bridge Club. The cheese that oozes...

Supplemental Essay for Yale: Unique question posed by school
159 Words
Who or what is a source of inspiration for you? (35 words or fewer) Thanks to Lewis Caroll, I learn unconventionally. After finding out the Mad Hatter’s tea party is an allegory for Hamiltonian quaternions, I too wanted to view mathematics through a lens of surreality. If you could live for a day as another person, past or present, who would it be? Why? (35 words or fewer) Through a painting, one man bridged the divide between science and religion and...

Supplemental Essay for JHU: “Why us” school essay
570 Words
Johns Hopkins University was founded in 1876 on a spirit of exploration and discovery. As a result, students can pursue a multi-dimensional undergraduate experience both in and outside of the classroom. Given the opportunities at Hopkins, please discuss your current interests (academic, extracurricular, personal passions, summer experiences, etc.) and how you will build upon them here. (300-500 word limit) “Oh, you listen to film music? What’s your favorite composition?” Every time I’m asked this question, my mind is flooded...

Supplemental Essay for Harvard: Unique question posed by school
549 Words
Harvard College Writing Supplement: An intellectual experience (course, project, book, discussion, paper, poetry, or research topic in engineering, mathematics, science or other modes of inquiry) that has meant the most to you My most treasured possession is a leather-bound 150th anniversary edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with illustrations by Salvador Dalí. Absurdity is a beautiful thing, and Carroll and Dalí captured it better than anyone. My infatuation with the absurd partially explains why my approach...

Supplemental Essay for Harvey Mudd: “Why us” school essay
536 Words
What influenced you to apply to Harvey Mudd College? What about the HMC curriculum and community appeals to you? Please limit your response to 500 words I first learned about Harvey Mudd while attempting to make a trefoil knot with **** ****** (’02 Mudder and Morgan Prize winner) at *****, last summer. As we miserably failed at twisting our piece of rope the right number of times, Josh told me about how he discovered his passion for knot theory at Mudd. He talked about how...

Supplemental Essay for Harvey Mudd: Unique question posed by school
544 Words
What is one thing we won’t know about you after reading your application that you haven’t already reported in the Common Application “Additional Information” section? My most treasured possession is a leather-bound 150th anniversary edition of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland with illustrations by Salvador Dalí. Absurdity is a beautiful thing, and Carroll and Dalí captured it better than anyone. My infatuation with the absurd partially explains why my approach to learning is unconventional. I...

Supplemental Essay for Case: Scholarship application
418 Words
CWRU Milton A. and Roslyn Z. Wolf Scholarship I dive into the rabbit hole, behind Kelvin Smith library, and begin to tumble helplessly. As my arms and legs flail uncontrollably, I notice a tall, slender man drop in right after me. He catches up. Papers slip out of his pockets, forming a whirlwind around him: voting methods in elections; a proof of the Kronecker-Capelli theorem; conjectures regarding mathematical logic; and a novel called Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. As we...

Supplemental Essay for WashU: Scholarship application
183 Words
Washington University in St. Louis Arthur Holly Compton Scholar Application: If you had the opportunity to have a conversation with an important figure, either contemporary or historical, whom would you choose, and why? (150 words) Absurdity is a beautiful thing, and there is only one man who truly encapsulated it – Charles Dodgson. My approach to learning is most definitely unconventional. I take pleasure in using strange allegories to remember certain concepts such as imagining hyperbolic spaces as real estate investment opportunities....

Supplemental Essay for WashU: Scholarship application
196 Words
Washington University in St. Louis Arthur Holly Compton Scholar Application: Why have you chosen to study the academic discipline associated with the scholarship program you are seeking? You may include comments about both your academic interests and your professional/career goals. (150 words) When asked why numbers are beautiful, Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős said, “It’s like asking why is Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony beautiful. If you don't see why, someone can't tell you. I know numbers are beautiful. If...

College Admissions Advice

My advice about getting recommenders
106 Words
I feel like this is message is trite by now, but I honestly think it is critical in terms of recommendations: ensure you get them from someone who knows you well and...

Recommended summer activities during high school and college
100 Words
One part of the application that is often overlooked by applicants is the summer activities section. While most schools don't explicitly ask for what you did over summer, it is...

What I’d change about my application process
108 Words
This message is extremely trite, but I feel like I have to reiterate it: start your essays as soon as possible. Every year applicants underestimate the difficulty of writing college application essays....

Whether I took out loans or applied for scholarships, and my advice
147 Words
I am going to answer this primarily from the perspective of an international applicant as the need for a loan, scholarships, and financial aid differs greatly for internationals and U.S. citizens. Generally, there are few scholarships offered to international students compared to U...

How to approach transferring schools
137 Words
I do not intend on transferring as I feel like Columbia is the perfect school for me. However, I have talked to quite a few transfer students and have a rough idea how the process works and what the best approach...

Post-college plans
74 Words
I am certain that there are two things that I am really passionate about: math and investing. Thus, I would like to...

What set me apart from other applicants
157 Words
I don't like to conjecture, as I don't believe that making a statement based on incomplete and often inaccurate information is productive or useful in any way, so I will not talk about what I think set me apart from other applicants. However, I was fortunate enough...

Whether I used a private admissions counselor, and advice I received
101 Words
I decided to use a private admissions counsellor mainly, because I go to a British school where approximately 5-10% of the graduating class of 140 end up at a US college....

What might make for a good “Why Us” essay topic at my school (Columbia)
239 Words
From what I've heard, after talking to a few admissions officers at Columbia, the majority of applicants to Columbia mainly talk about two points when it comes to the "Why Columbia" essay: NYC and the Core. While both NYC and the Core are perfectly valid reasons to love Columbia, they are not really personal reasons that show why you are a great fit for Columbia and why Columbia is a great fit...

List of schools I interviewed with and my interview experience (UPenn, Princeton)
181 Words
The interview is one of the more pleasant aspects of the college application process. I only had interviews for Princeton and UPenn as those were the only schools that I applied to that had alumni in Bahrain. I enjoyed talking to both my interviewers as they gave me some really useful information on how...

How to increase chances at my school (Columbia)
179 Words
One thing that is unique to Columbia, with regards to the supplemental essays, is the fact that they ask for your required reading; books you read for pleasure; publications you regularly read; and entertainments that you've enjoyed. There is a reason they ask for all this information: they want to see that you are...

Why I ultimately chose my school (Columbia)
135 Words
I ended up choosing Columbia because of a multitude of reasons. Firstly, Columbia's core values resonated with me more than other schools' did as I truly believe in the concept of receiving a broad, encompassing education that allows you to specialise...

How I chose schools to apply to (Columbia, Duke, JHU, NYU, UPenn, WashU, UMich, Middlebury, Case, Wesleyan, Williams, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Harvey Mudd, Amherst)
200 Words
After talking to various college freshmen and counsellors, it became clear to me that generally people apply to 10-12 schools. However, by September, I had already formed a list of 25 schools that comprised of 10 reaches, 10 fits, and 5 safeties. I then realised that I definitely needed to cut this down to a more reasonable number of schools as the current cost...

Reaching out to professors and coaches at schools I applied to (Columbia, Duke, Princeton, Yale, Harvey Mudd)
157 Words
I didn't reach out to coaches at any of the schools that I applied to as I don't play any sports competitively and am athletic in any way. However, I did reach out to economics professors at Columbia and Yale and mathematics professors at Duke, Harvey Mudd,...

What I like about my school’s location and culture (Columbia)
232 Words
Columbia's location and culture are two of the main reasons that I believe Columbia is a great fit for me. Columbia is unique in the sense that it is your quintessential Ivy League campus except smaller and in the middle of one of the world's busiest cities. The campus can provide you with a sense of security if the city is too big and overwhelming for you, but then at...

5 adjectives that describe a typical student at my school (Feel free to elaborate!) (Columbia)
6 Words
Independent, creative,...