Student A Gets into the University of Chicago, Early Decision!

University of Chicago - Early Decision

Student A is an international student who wanted to attend a top-ranked US university. She completed our Candidacy Building, Writing Seminar, Academic Mentorship, and Application Counseling programs. Student A was accepted to the University of Chicago, Early Decision!

Application Persona

Cross-cultural Italian scholar

High School Location






Areas of Interest

Comparative Literature, Italian Renaissance, Art History

Extracurricular Activities

  • Coordinator of Poetry Workshop for Migrant Workers
  • Public Speaker
  • Published Poet
  • Museum Docent
  • Editor-in-Chief of Culture Magazine
  • Founder of Art History Club

The Challenges

  • Since her academic interests were so unique, she also wasn’t sure how to pursue them throughout high school.
  • With an initial GPA of 96/100 and SAT score that started at 1470, Student A’s academic profile was below average for her applicant pool given the competitiveness of her high school.

How Did InGenius Prep Help?

Candidacy Building:

  • Counselor Assignment: We paired Student A with a Former Admissions Officer from Oberlin College and a Graduate Coach from Yale University.
  • Relationship Building: Student A and her counselor began their work by getting to know each other better in order to build a strategy for the application process.

    • Strengths and Weaknesses Form: Student A’s Former Admissions Officer identified her initial strengths and weaknesses and shared them with the team so that Student A understood what she needed to improve.
    • Addressing Weaknesses: Together, they developed a plan for improving her academic performance and diving into her humanities interests to make her profile shine.
  • Application Persona Development: Student A knew she was excited about Italian culture and art, so she and her counselor discussed how to tailor her activities towards an angle that connected her personal background with her interest in the Italian Renaissance. Developing this persona would make her stand out. A passion for Italian culture and art is unique, thus making her profile more compelling in the applicant pool.
  • Testing Plan: Because Student A initially had a 1470, Student A’s counselor helped her develop a study plan in order to turn it around. She also took SAT subject tests to strengthen her application.
  • Academic Writing Seminar: Student A participated in InGenius Prep’s Writing Seminar, which allows students to work with writing instructors from top schools in order to improve their analytical and academic writing skills.

    • Pairing Process: Student A strengthened her writing abilities under the guidance of her instructor, who had a PhD from Columbia and had previously taught English at Harvard University.
    • Final Paper + Speech: Student A’s final paper on Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness resonated with her so much that she used it as the launch pad for a speech on “Constructed Images of the Colonized in Literature” at the International Comparative forum. 
  • Academic Mentorship: To further codify Student A’s interest in Italian art and history, her counseling team paired her with an Academic Mentor with a PhD in the field.
    • Focus: Student A realized she wanted to connect her discussions with her mentor to the way minority groups, particularly working-class people, are represented in literature.
    • Outcome: Student A’s final project comprised of a paper based on an oral history project highlighting a group of workers outside Beijing. This allowed her to work on a college-level paper and further define her interest.

Application Counseling

  • Application Persona: To capture the work Student A had done throughout her Candidacy Building, the team came up with the application persona of “Cross-cultural Italian scholar.”
  • School List:
    • Research Exercise: Based on Student A’s application persona, her counselors suggested colleges that would suit her specific interest within comparative literature. They assigned her to an exercise of determining the pros and cons of various schools to understand her preferences.
    • Creating a Balanced List: Next, they made sure to tier her list. Since Student A wasn’t at the top of her class, it was essential that she was applying to a balanced mix of reach, fit, and safety options.
    • ED Choice: After debating between UChicago and Columbia, Student A’s team decided that she would apply Early Decision to the University of Chicago, as the school offered a more intellectually exciting atmosphere for her. UChicago supports students interested in both European and East Asian languages, thus making it the perfect choice for her.
  • Personal Statement
    • Brainstorming: Student A and her Graduate Coach went over different ideas that would showcase her interest in comparative literature and uniquely capture her personality.
    • Topic Selection: After going over multiple topics, Student A chose one that not only emphasized her application persona and literature interest, but it was also quite personal.
    • High-Level Content Edits: Student A’s counselors offered suggestions that guided the narrative and pushed her to make the essay more personal and memorable.
    • Line-by-Line Edits: Then, Student A’s Graduate Coach offered her line-by-line edits. They went over 10 drafts together to make sure her response was completely polished. 
  • Activities List
    • Activity Selection: Student A had a lot of impressive activities under her belt after Candidacy Building but wasn’t sure which to prioritize in her applications. Her Graduate Coach provided thorough guidance on how to format, order, and strategize the list in a way that would help her stand out.
    • Editing: Student A’s Graduate Coach edited several drafts of her activities list.
    • Final Version: The final version of Student A’s activities list included her Candidacy Building, Writing Seminar and Academic Mentorship work.
  • Supplemental Essays
    • The UChicago Prompt: The University of Chicago is known for its quirky prompts, which often throw off high school students. Although Student A knew that she wanted to connect her response to art, she still struggled to add her own voice to address the unconventional essay prompt.
    • Feedback: Student A’s Graduate Coach pushed her to connect her interest in history with her present experiences.
    • Final Version: While Student A’s earlier drafts presented obscure ideas and lacked specific details, the end result of her UChicago essay was thought provoking.
  • Final Review: Before Student A submitted her UChicago application, she sent it to her Former Admissions Officer for a final round of edits. Student A’s Former Admissions Officer offered feedback on the order of her activities list as well as edits on her personal statement – which primarily consisted of suggestions for tone and grammar. With the help of her Graduate Coach, Student A then implemented this feedback.

      I'm so happy!! Thank you a lot!! Couldn't do this without you guys!!

      Student A
      Student A UChicago - Early Decision

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