Midwestern kid who loves molecular biology and electronic dance music. Let me help you edit your essays!
Features Included


Hometown New Albany, Ohio
EthnicityWhite Non-Hispanic
AdmissionRegular Decision
Class of2020
First Gen College StudentNo
English First Language Yes
Other Language(s) Spoken Spanish

Results, Essays, and Advice

Waitlisted or Withdrew
  • Columbia University (New York, NY)
  • Dartmouth College (Hanover, NH)
  • Cornell University (Ithaca, NY)
  • University of California - Berkeley (Berkeley, CA)
  • Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD)
  • Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN)
  • Rice University (Houston, TX)
  • University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • University of California - Los Angeles (Los Angeles, CA)
  • University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC)
  • University of Texas - Austin (Austin, TX)
  • University of Washington (Seattle, WA)
  • Ohio State University - Columbus (Columbus, Oh)
  • University of California - San Diego (La Jolla, CA)
  • Yale University (New Haven, CT)
  • Harvard University (Cambridge, MA)
  • Stanford University (Stanford, CA)
  • Brown University (Providence, RI)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
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.

Accepted and Enrolled Legacy: No

School Specific Essays

The lessons we take from obstacles we encounter can be fundamental to later success. Recount a time when you faced a challenge, setback, or failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?
Palms, Passes, and PCR They say the only rule of magic is to never tell the audience the secret of the trick. But Wu never cared about rules. "There," he says, his eyes holding a roguish glint, "is that your card?" Disbelief is supposedly a mental state. Yet for me it manifests physically. Shivers trace the slope of my shoulders, up my neck, to my cheeks. The room is suddenly warm, and I can feel my face flushing. My reality...
Supplemental Essay: Strong beliefs/principles
383 Words
Dartmouth Essay: The timer buzzes insistently, signaling my turn to speak. What can I say? Silence. Nothing. "Do you need more prep-time?" drawls the judge, who is perched coolly on the desk across from me. Finally, I let my voice fill the silence. "Judge, my opponents — they — you — they're arguing that — um —" I'm incoherent. I stop, consumed by the failure of the moment. As a dedicated news junkie, I had initially imagined debate to be a contest of raw volume....
Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
299 Words
Columbia Essay: I want to devote my life to solving problems. At Columbia, I see a community uniquely committed to the challenge. I love Columbia's dedication to undergraduate research. I hope to find my spot among the 400 research positions reserved just for undergraduates. I would love to engage in research in a SURF program to pursue a deeper understanding of biology. In particular, I hope to work with the researchers at the Department of Systems Biology. The Department's High-Throughput Molecular...
Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
94 Words
Favorite Films, Shows, and Musical Artists: Films Mad Max: Fury Road; Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens; Inside Out; The Theory of Everything Live Concerts The Glass Animals, Matt and Kim, Bear Hands, Civil Twilight, Cake Shows The Great War, The Late Show, The Daily Show Musical Artists Chance the Rapper, Childish Gambino, Tame Impala, Grouplove, ODESZA, Rizzle Kicks, Mura Masa, Vicetone, Thomas Hayden, Big Gigantic, PHANTOGRAM, Duke Dumont, Klangkarussell, Electric Mantis, Point Point, Nora En Pure, Bondax, Mark...
Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
92 Words
Most Commonly Read Sources: Newspapers/News Sources The New York Times, NPR, The Guardian, BBC, The Washington Post, Reuters, PBS, Bloomberg News, The Atlantic, CNN, The Economist Websites Reddit (http://www.reddit.com/); StumbleUpon (http://www.stumbleupon.com); Quora (http://www.quora.com/); The Onion (http://www.theonion.com/); Medium (http://www.medium.com/); Marginal Revolution (http://www.marginalrevolution.com/); A List Apart (http://www.alistapart.com/); Ars Technica (http://www.arstechnica.com/) Magazines/Journals Wired, Scientific American, New Scientist,...
Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
46 Words
Favorite Books: Foundation and Earth, Isaac Asimov; Guns, Germs and Steel, Jared Diamond; Collapse, Jared Diamond; Genome, Matt Ridley; The Martian, Andy Weir; Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman; The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas; One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Ken Kesey
Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
119 Words
Assigned Reading in the Past Year: Short Stories "The Gilded Six-Bits," Zora Neale Hurston; "How John Boscoe Outsung the Devil," Arthur P. Davis; "Exodus," James Baldwin; "The Goophered Grapevine," Charles Waddell Chesnutt; "Truant," Claude McKay; "The City of Refuge," Rudolph Fisher; "The Lynching of Jube Benson," Paul Lawrence Dunbar Anthologies A Century of the Best African American Short Stories, edited by John Henrik Clarke; The Oxford Anthology of African-American Poetry, edited by Arnold Rampersad Books What Was African American Literature?,...
Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
306 Words
What draws you to the fields you listed? Entering kindergarten, I insisted (to my parents' great amusement) on donning a white lab coat as often as possible. At the time, of course, I had difficulty articulating exactly why, at five years old, I was certain that I wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Today, though I'm less precisely sure of that career choice, I still find biology fascinating. I'm rapt by its mysteries, its complexities; its harrowing diseases, its triumphs of...
Supplemental Essay: “Why us” school essay
625 Words
Cornell Essay: I've spent much of my time in high school at the lab bench. Initially, my experience was driven entirely by intense curiosity. Something as complex as liver cancer cell signaling naturally pulls me in. It's an incredible challenge. I feel obligated to continue probing, searching, fighting for a deeper answer. Yet week after week, as I worked the cancer cells in my hands, I began to feel an intuition for the awful potential of these tiny enigmas. Cancer...
Supplemental Essay: Unique question posed by school
375 Words
UC Berkeley: When I was younger, my parents read a book to me every night. We cycled through the bookshelf every couple of weeks, but we always returned to the books with the yellow covers, now warped by repeated use: Curious George. The plot of each book is mostly identical. George is an unruly, lovable monkey who grows curious, does something mischievous, and gets in trouble. Yet, somehow, he usually emerges a hero. In "Curious George Goes to the Hospital,"...

School Specific Advice

How important school spirit is around athletics at my school
48 Words
There is not a huge culture of athletics at Columbia. For example, when the...
How I would describe the wider community surrounding campus
96 Words
The community around Columbia's undergraduate campus is called Morningside. It's a nice neighborhood, with adequate eateries and bars. However, you don't eat at a restaurant in the neighborhood...
How I would rate the career center or my advisor
110 Words
I had many advisors while at Columbia, and I didn't feel that they were necessarily the strongest advising team. However, they were responsive and helped me when I needed to add or...
My schedule on a typical weekday
208 Words
I'll wake up and get a bagel from Milano Market; then, I'll answer some emails for a bit on my computer (this is if I'm even awake, since I avoid morning classes). I might go back to sleep, or I might head to the engineering library to print some documents for class, such as a study guide or slide deck....
How I would rate the diversity of the student body
59 Words
Columbia's student body is extremely diverse; it's definitely among the most diverse student bodies out there. People have...
The academic rigor of a typical course load or in my major
127 Words
I majored in Computer Science, and designed a custom Elective Track, Computational Biology, which merged the machine learning-related courses from the Computer Science major with the coursework of the Biotechnology Master's program. Advanced Programming, one of the core...
What are opportunities unique to my school
161 Words
It's a common trope that Columbia is in New York, but it really cannot be underestimated. It allows you to get on a 1 train and find yourself at any of the myriad startups downtown. This means that you can work for a high tech company without traveling...
What I’d change about my school if I were student body president
68 Words
Visibility/accessibility of the upper administration to the students. The President (and his office) are great at fundraising, but they...
The stress level and competitiveness of a typical student at my school
76 Words
It really depends on the major. Pre-med students have a reputation for being competitive, but honestly this is not the impression that I've...
My extracurricular activities in college, and why I chose them
132 Words
I was involved with a few financial investment-related organizations, but eventually spent most of my time involved with the entrepreneurship group. I chose the latter because the people who most aligned with my values (even if not my...

More Essays

These essays haven't been tagged by school. Click school logos above to see tagged essays.

Supplemental Essay Other
21 Words
I submitted a research supplement (just an abstract) to Columbia, with an explanation of what my role was in the project.

General Admissions Advice

What might make for a good “Why Us” essay topic at my school
142 Words
Be as specific as possible!!!! I can't stress this enough. These schools want to know why you want to attend there, not why you want to attend "generic good school." It's key to find very specific reasons you are attracted to a school ...
Recommended summer activities during high school and college
133 Words
RESEARCH! The only reason I got in where I did was my research experience. Research also broadens your perspective and exposes you to the world of academia. Universities want researchers because they possess the values that indicate tenacity, critical thinking,...
Why I ultimately chose my school
80 Words
Columbia's research prowess is really fantastic. But the most important thing to me is the fact that the student body is so diverse and...
What I’d change about my application process
61 Words
I would have FINISHED my essays much earlier. I had a tendency to start the essays right away...
Whether I used a private admissions counselor, and advice I received
23 Words
I did not use a private admissions...
List of schools I interviewed with and my interview experience
149 Words
I interviewed at Yale, Penn, Brown and Dartmouth. All of my interviews were a little bit stiff, perhaps with the exception of the Brown interview. I would say that my having done very extensive research about the SPECIFIC perks of each college (residential colleges at...
Why I declined other schools
118 Words
I have a lot of relatives (cousins; I was not an immediate-family legacy) who have recently attended Columbia. I think they will be able to offer me guidance, and their families are wonderful people whom...
My advice about getting recommenders
58 Words
Find teachers who KNOW YOU, not just teachers you think are the ones colleges necessarily want to...
What set me apart from other applicants
89 Words
I'm certain it was my research experience and the abstract I submitted that clearly set me apart from other students. My research was objectively extremely strong, and...
How I chose schools to apply to
75 Words
For me, it was all about resources and research. I wanted a school with enough resources to support whatever I decide to do....
How to increase chances at my school
145 Words
I believe that what Columbia is looking for is for students who 1) get things done, and 2) bring something to the community. In other words, it's very important to indicate through your essays that you care about the work you produce, the organizations you are...
What I like about my school’s location and culture
137 Words
The culture at Columbia is remarkably collaborative, which is a nice change of pace from some of my experience in high school. Yes, some students are cagey, but on the whole, most students are happy to collaborate and share their experiences....
Most popular extracurricular activities at my college
151 Words
Many students choose to participate in debate (parliamentary), although you honestly will rarely see these people be outspoken about the activity. The newspaper (the Spectator) is extremely popular, although many folks joke about how time-consuming it can be. There are also many financial student organizations ...
What I’d change about my school if I were student body president
130 Words
I would make events management far easier. This is my #1 complaint about Columbia. If I'm a part of a club, and I want to make an event happen, by FAR the biggest bottleneck is trying to book space for...
My favorite course thus far, and why
69 Words
My favorite course so far at Columbia would probably be my Data Structures course. The professor is genuinely very funny, he...
How I narrowed down my essay topics
173 Words
I had essentially two stories I could tell: my experience starting a debate team, and my experience getting started in scientific research. My scientific research was the more impressive body of work, but it also spoke more to who I am, someone who takes great joy in discovery and sharing my...
What I learned transitioning from high school to college
307 Words
I had already moved high schools (entering my senior year of high school), and I moved to smaller school in which everyone knew each other. Socially, this was challenging, because I felt like I was "breaking in" to the social structure at the school. College felt similar in the sense of not knowing anyone, but it was easier because neither did anyone else! So that made orientation less scary. The workload was quite different, and required a lot more independent effort. In high school, I used to do all of my work during class. Listening to one lecture or watching...
Recommended summer activities during high school and college
223 Words
Something I'd add that I hadn't thought about when I last wrote the advice is to consider interning at a startup. Learn marketing or product management, or learn to program (consider Codecademy), although none of these are necessarily prerequisites. You can cold email startups, and some of them will gladly allow you to work with them. You'll learn important skills in the process, and it will...

High School Performance

Weighted GPA
(equivalent to 4.00 unweighted)
Top 5%
High School TypeOther Private
Academic Performance in High School Steady

Test Scores

Highest ACT
ACT Score Details
Other ACT Scores
ACT Prep
Highest SAT
SAT Score Details
Converted SAT Score1540
Other SAT Scores
SAT Prep
PSAT Scores

AP / IB Classes and Scores

Details9 classes and scores




ActivitiesDebate Club/Team, Model Congress / Model UN, Chess, Science Club/Team, School Jazz / Orchestra
Elaborate on Extracurriculars or Work

Experience & Awards

How Spent Summers
Volunteer Experiences
Awards Received
Application Additional Materials

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