Before coming to Ivy Scholars pro bono program, I was overwhelmed with how many aspects of college admissions I needed to consider and perform well in. I was particularly worried about how I would have to go through the process during the COVID-19 pandemic since it was unprecedented, and I was unable to take the SAT or ACT. I’d accomplished a lot, but I felt like my application wouldn’t be enough compared to others.
For my community service and leadership, I’d been active in my school’s Key Club, actively participating in almost all community service events and meetings, which led to me being elected President of Key Club in 11th grade. I also spent five years working my way up in my town’s Youth Advisory Committee, a program involving students in local government. Starting as a Secretary, I became a Vice President and then a President, leading all meetings, organizing projects, and keeping in contact with city officials to pursue our goals.
To prepare for pre-med, I interned at a local doctor's office for 100 hours in 2019 for two months in the summer. I set appointments, took vitals from patients, shadowed the doctor, and helped organize patient charts with the CMAs in the office. I also worked on my communication skills by founding my school's speech and debate team, and serving as president. We attended several competitions and I won second and third place in some of the Lincoln-Douglas debate competitions.
All this sounds great, right? Well, describing my accomplishments was one thing, but writing college essays was another. I’d tried a few drafts on my own, but I could see they weren’t what they needed to be.
I was terrified that all my hard work wouldn’t be recognized because my storytelling fell flat. Since I had been there for all of the events in my writing, it was difficult for me to see the places in which context and necessary information for new readers may have been left out. My Ivy Scholars mentors helped me recognize those areas and develop my writing so it was ready for admissions readers to review.
I worked mainly with Mr. Cruz. His essay review was the most impactful aspect of my college admissions process. Since essays are what make you stand apart from other applicants, I considered them to be the central part of my applications and appreciated his insight from an outside perspective that made my voice come through more clearly.
It was interesting to gain another perspective on my essays and application and to see what context I was leaving out in my writing. I’m glad I reached out for help. I’m immensely grateful for Ivy Scholars for offering me free assistance.
I am currently attending UC San Diego as a Neurobiology major. While UCLA was my first choice, UC San Diego was my second choice. When I got my acceptance, I was very excited since UC San Diego had been one of my top choices for a long time. I called my mom at work immediately and then we had a celebratory family dinner that night. Mr. Chada, Mr. Cruz, thank you for making that possible.