College Admissions Info

Columbia University, ‘19
BA, Creative Writing

Profile Overview

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

Student Background

I'm a student at Columbia. I love writing, activism, terrible jokes, and binge-watching Netflix. Aspiring English teacher.
From: San Francisco , California
Gender: Female
Race/Ethnicity: White Non-Hispanic
Legacy: No
Admission: Early Decision
Applied To: 6 schools
Accepted At: Columbia
Denied At:
Waitlisted At:
Withdrew From:
Is English First Language: Yes

Test Scores

Converted SAT Score: 1440
Highest SAT: 2050
SAT Prep:
Highest ACT:
Other ACT Scores:
ACT Prep:
PSAT Scores:
Other Standardized Tests:

High School Performance

Top 25%
High School Type: Other Private
AP / IB Classes and Scores:
College Classes In High School:
Academic Performance in High School: Low one semester/year
Explanation of Any Low Grades:

Extracurriculars & Awards

Sports: Tennis, Swimming/Diving
Extracurricular Activities: Local Orchestra / Symphony / Band, Nonprofit, NGO or Charitable Organization, Nonprofit, NGO or Charitable Organization, School Newspaper/Magazine/Journalism, School Theater/Plays, Community or summer theater/plays
How Spent Summers:
Awards Received:
Application Additional Materials:

College Application Essays

Personal Statement: Story central to identity
595 Words
I want to write a banned book. Admittedly, reading banned books is not as subversive as it used to be. Gone are the days when physical books banned from import or snatched from the classroom are passed from friend to friend. Still, I see myself making an impromptu appearance at a Wichita School Board meeting to defend my book, passing picketers demanding its removal from school library shelves. There are many reasons for this career aspiration. I like the variety...

Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
325 Words
Compared my experience at the Telluride Association Summer Program to my interest in Columbia's Core Curriculum. "This past summer at the Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP), I discovered that it is possible to mime the concepts “existentialism,” “Platonic ideal,” and “systems of oppression.” Even stranger, I discovered that it is possible for other people to understand that those are the concepts being mimed. Charades is a game that demands a common repertoire of experience with the other people playing. If...

Supplemental Essay: Strong beliefs/principles
332 Words
The question was about why I want to study what I want to study at Columbia. I wrote about loving the interdisciplinary focus of Columbia's Creative Writing major. "The moment I received my temporary library access at the University of Michigan this summer, I knew what I wanted to do: track down a map of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963. I wanted to understand the setting of my novel-in-progress about the relationship between two girls, one black and one white, and their...

Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
107 Words
Brown question about where I've lived. "I have lived in San Francisco since I was a baby. Here I can walk into Cliff’s Variety Store and buy a giant yodeling pickle, get stopped in the street and asked to sign a petition banning pink Styrofoam, and attend the Castro Theater’s annual Sound of Music sing-along (costumes encouraged). I love being surrounded by rainbow flags, and to claim as my own the city that refused to cheer for a 4...

Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
142 Words
Book list (for Columbia). "Carry Me Home by Diane McWhorter, Understanding Criminal Law by Joshua Dressler, “A Problem from Hell”: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power, Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, In a Different Voice by Carol Gilligan, America's Game: The Epic Story of How Pro Football Captured a Nation by Michael MacCambridge, The Compass of Pleasure by David J. Linden, Lesbian Out Law: Survival Under the Rule of...

Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
861 Words
Chicago asked me what pH I am. I think this was my weakest essay. "My pH paper has no clear color. My friends would be shocked if they heard me ever describe myself as being anything other than acidic, given how heated up and vocal I sometimes am, but it is the timing of when I am more acidic side and when I am more cool and basic that allows me to write character-driven narratives, collaborate with people from all...

Supplemental Essay: Issue of personal significance
257 Words
Stanford essay on waht matters to you and why. "When I heard about the suicide of Jamey Rodemeyer, a 14-year-old who was bullied for being gay, I lost it. It was September 2011, a year after reports of suicide among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) teens had hit the news. Schools were supposed to be safer, but they weren’t. The thought of Jamey followed me into my school, home, and writing. How could I, in good conscience, live my...

Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
175 Words
Stanford essay on activity that matters to me - "I may be the worst athlete to become a varsity team captain in my school’s history. The first week of badminton sophomore year, I couldn’t even make it through warm-ups, so I sat on the sidelines. Perhaps it looked like I was giving up. No one knew that every day after practice, I drilled the warm ups in my attic over and over again until I could finally sprint...

Additional Essay Details:
67 Words
I just focused on staying true to myself and it worked out alright. I reused many essays for multiple schools, or in the case of "Why Us" essays, reused the same story about myself but compared different parts of it to why I was interested in a certain school. The key here is that I still personalized these essays for each school and didn't just copy/paste.

College Admissions Advice

Most popular extracurricular activities at my college
273 Words
There's a ton of diversity! I, personally, love the dedication many students have to activism. You'd be hard pressed to find a time when there isn't some sort of petition or protest happening, and I think that helps hold Columbia to a higher standard. In particular, I'm involved with the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network, a network of activist groups advocating for racial justice and increased resources for marginalized students. I'm also involved with an anti-sexual violence activist group. You don't...

My favorite course thus far, and why
258 Words
University Writing, one of the mandatory freshman year courses, ended up being my favorite, which is strange because lots of people really dislike the course. My professor (a grad student, believe it or not) was amazing and taught me how to close read, which is a big deal because my high school teachers could never explain it to me in a way that made sense. I actually learned to enjoy academic writing. We were given a ton...

5 adjectives that describe a typical student at my school (Feel free to elaborate!)
90 Words
Passionate - whether people decide to do activism or are just hold strong beliefs Driven - both academically and outside of class, everyone is really motivated...

What I’d change about my school if I were student body president
330 Words
A lot of what I'd do is very political. I'd love to change Student Council to be a bit more student-oriented, because right now, it's very much about compromises with the administration, and I want a council that advocates for us as students completely. I'd endorse the set of demands made by the Barnard Columbia Solidarity Network, which address the experiences of Black students on campus and people of color impacted by Columbia in the surrounding community. This includes hiring more faculty of color, fairly compensating all student workers, etc. You can check the demands out on Facebook if you're...

What I now know about my school that I never would have known prior to enrolling
229 Words
If you take care of yourself, you can do well in school. I was very concerned about this before coming to Columbia, but I was surprised that self-care was a huge key to doing well. Sleep, take 4 classes instead of 5, eat, exercise, etc. It doesn't have to be painful or a huge struggle like high school often was (at least for me). You get to take classes you...

How to approach transferring schools
207 Words
I'm not a transfer student so I can only tell you what I was thinking when I considered it for a time. I think what helped me figure out whether or not I wanted to was focusing on why I wanted to leave, then what I liked about other schools, then seeing if those others schools' strengths matched why I wanted to...

What I’d change about my application process
283 Words
I'd get more sleep. I didn't sleep enough, and my emotions started getting out of wack. I stayed up so much and I don't even know why. I loved every school on my list, which eliminated a lot of stress, but I think everyone else's stress got to me and I stayed up worrying about what admissions officers were thinking about me. I fell into the trap of feeling like my life hinged on what Columbia decided. I was so sure I wasn't going...

Whether I used a private admissions counselor, and advice I received
183 Words
I live with one, so I guess my answer to this is yes. I think what's super valuable about this (and really unfair/perpetuates education inequality in this country) is having someone take the time to help you plan and edit essays and build a schools list you love. Getting help is super important...

List of schools I interviewed with and my interview experience
245 Words
I did interviews at Columbia, Chicago, and Barnard. My Columbia one was a bit awkward because my interviewer and I had such different life philosophies (she didn't like radical activism, I did). However, I followed her lead and toned down my activism talk a bit, so we ended up getting along, even though I probably wouldn't have been friends with her in real life given her dislike of the kind of...

Recommended summer activities during high school and college
305 Words
I recommend the Telluride Association Summer Program (TASP) to everyone on the planet who loves interesting people and intellectual challenge. It's a free, residential, six-week program. 64 rising seniors get in, 32 on each campus (traditionally Cornell and UMich). You get split into two seminars on each campus, but it's really not about the seminars or the professors. I hated my seminar, personally, but it was the best six weeks of my life. I learned so much from everyone else there. I've never had a more intellectually stimulating, fun, hilarious six weeks. I also loved the Stanford Humanities Institute. It's run by...

What set me apart from other applicants
308 Words
The LGBTQ rights activism I focused on was very different, and I think that helped set me apart. Also, my interest in creative writing was probably interesting because I did a lot with it (wrote a novel, got an agent, published journalism pieces, etc.). What I lacked in superior scores, I made up for in interesting extracurriculars and essays. For extracurriculars, part of what made them succeed or stand out was that I took something I was really interested in and did something cool with that interest. I didn't just like LGBTQ activism, but started an organization and did a...

Why I declined other schools
157 Words
I got into Columbia Early Decision, so I didn't have a choice. But I decided to do ED to Columbia because I knew I could see myself in that environment and taking classes there. I connected most with its curriculum and campus vibe. When I visited...

Post-college plans
120 Words
I want to be a secondary school teacher and writer. In particular, I want to get a Masters in Education and become a middle or high school English teacher. (Yes, I actually like middle schoolers.)...

Why I ultimately chose my school
284 Words
As I said above, I connected with the campus. I also met people there I could tell I'd be friends with. At my high school, not many people were interested in changing things. When I got frustrated we didn't have consent education, no one else got frustrated with me, so I felt a bit isolated. At Columbia, everyone has ideas about what needs to be different and many people act upon those ideas, which makes the campus better. I also love Columbia's Core, which...

How I chose schools to apply to
279 Words
I first made sure I had a good distribution of schools with different levels of selectivity so I knew I'd have options. I'm lucky in that my school had Naviance, which allowed me to see statistics about what kinds of grades and scores people had who were admitted to X college, so I was able to get a good grasp on where I stood. I didn't make every school a reach or super difficult for me to get into, because then...

What I like about my school’s location and culture
180 Words
I personally don't like New York as much as the Bay Area and certainly didn't go to Columbia because it's in New York (cue gasping — no one believes me when I tell them this), though a lot of people do go to Columbia because of this. I do like that New York has...

Reaching out to professors and coaches at schools I applied to
203 Words
I didn't reach out to any professors (nor coaches, because I'm a terrible athlete). I did reach out to my regional admissions representative at each school and ask them a question to demonstrate interest in the school. For example, I asked questions about creative writing or LGBTQ student life on campus. I made sure to ask questions that weren't just...

Whether I took out loans or applied for scholarships, and my advice
201 Words
I applied for an outside scholarship for writing (accidentally, but that's a whole other story ...) through the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. I think I was successful because I was very true to myself and my writing, though it still had a luck component in that my writing happened to appeal to whoever was evaluating it. I highly recommend trying...

How to increase chances at my school
260 Words
Be yourself. Seriously. No one ever listens to this, and it's so frustrating to watch. There's no college manual that recommends LGBTQ rights activism and creative writing, but it worked for me because it's what I genuinely loved. Columbia in particular likes people who are really interested in things beyond just academics. It doesn't really matter what it is as long as you're passionate about it and do something cool with that interest throughout high school. My...

What might make for a good “Why Us” essay topic at my school
266 Words
You need to do your own research and figure out why you want to apply to Columbia (or any school, for that matter). Read through course syllabi, go through student clubs, read student experiences on sites that have them, and for Columbia, research the Core thoroughly. Research, research, research. Don't write about prestige. Ever. And don't just about where the school is located. If you're just applying to Columbia because it's in New York, you should reevaluate why...

My advice about getting recommenders
219 Words
Get people who love you to write for you, but also people who can write well, which you can probably tell from comments or emails. Luckily the teachers who knew me well and liked me were teachers whose writing was very specific, so I knew they'd do great jobs conveying specific reasons I'd be a good fit for certain colleges. Also make sure you have...

My extracurricular activities in college, and why I chose them
135 Words
I'm part of an anti-sexual violence activist group on campus, so I do a lot of work around policy and prevention education. This takes up almost every moment of my life (by choice). I'm also super involved with Columbia...