Student C Gets into Columbia, Early Decision!

Columbia - Early Decision

Student C is an international student who started working with us at the start of 9th grade. She completed our Candidacy Building, Writing Class, Academic Mentorship, Leadership Incubator, and Application Counseling programs. Student C was admitted to Columbia University, Early Decision!

Application Persona

Social entrepreneur actively tackling accessibility issues for migrant populations.

High School Location






Areas of Interest

Social Entrepreneurship

Extracurricular Activities

  • Sociology Research through Academic Mentorship
  • Founder of US Stepping Stones Chapter
  • Director of Healthcare Delivery Organization
  • Member of Field Hockey Team
  • Summer Programs at Stanford and with the ACLU
  • Fly-in Program at Johns Hopkins

The Challenges

  • When Student C came to us, she had many different interests! She did not know how to tie her extracurriculars together and struggled to choose which activities to prioritize.
  • One of Student C’s passions evolved to be social entrepreneurship. Because there weren’t classes or clubs offered at her high school for the topic, she was unsure of how to pursue the field.

How Did InGenius Prep Help?

Candidacy Building:

  • Counselor Assignment: At the start of Student C’s high school experience, we paired her with a Former Admissions Reader from Dartmouth for her Candidacy Building work.
  • Interest Exploration:
    • Reflection: From their initial conversations, it was clear that Student C had many interests! She wanted to volunteer, but also was drawn to public health, education, and more. Student C’s Former Admissions Officer assigned an extracurricular mapping exercise, helping her to conceptualize the connections between her seemingly disparate interests, and understand which activities were most meaningful to her.
    • Focus: From these discussions, it became clear that Student C sought to help others in innovative ways. Her Former Admissions Officer strategized that they use the umbrella of social entrepreneurship to bring together Student C’s pursuits. This approach would allow Student C to continue engaging with different fields, make her activities more unique, while also providing her profile with an angle that made it cohesive.
  • Social Entrepreneurship: Student C’s Former Admissions Officer explained that she could add a social entrepreneurship edge to some of her existing activities and pursue new opportunities in the field:
    • Online Course: Student C’s Former Admissions Officer advised that she sign up for an online course on the topic. Together, they decided that Student C would take a class through Wharton!
    • Stepping Stones: Stepping Stones is a common volunteer opportunity among international applicants. To make this stand out, her Former Admissions Officer crafted a game plan for spearheading a US chapter, with Student C leading her classmates to teach English to migrant children.
    • Field Hockey: Student C enjoyed field hockey, but athletics did not fit with her primary interests. Student C’s Former Admissions Officer brainstormed ways that she could tie this in with social entrepreneurship, and had the idea that Student C could coordinate a team fundraiser for a cause she was excited about. 
    • Starting a Healthcare Delivery Organization: Student C met the founders of an organization that delivers eyecare, eye exams, and glasses to those in need. The group had previously not worked with schools. Student C’s Former Admissions Officer advised that Student C seize this opportunity and adapt the initiative for migrant children in schools.
  • InGenius Prep’s Leadership Incubator: 
    • Nomination Process: Because of the action Student C had taken throughout Candidacy Building, her Former Admissions Officer thought she would be a strong fit for InGenius Prep’s Leadership Incubator: a competitive seminar for high-achieving students that focuses on developing capstone projects. 
    • Acceptance + Project: After the interview and nomination process, Student C was admitted to the Leadership Incubator. Through the program, Student C developed more action plans so that she could continue to expand her efforts of improving education access for migrant children.
  • Summer Program Applications: 
    • Program Selection: Student C’s Former Admissions Officer wanted to maximize her summer breaks to enhance Student C’s profile. Throughout their time together, Student C’s Former Admissions Officer advised that they go after the following types of programs:
    • Competitive humanities programs that admissions officers would recognize because of their selectivity, where Student C could study sociological issues that underlie social entrepreneurship.
    • Programs that would allow Student C to gain hands-on advocacy experience.
    • Program Results: Student C was admitted to Johns Hopkins Humanities Overnight Fly-In Program, the Stanford Summer Humanities Institute, and ACLU’s Summer Advocacy Program!
  • Academic Mentorship:
    • Pairing:  We paired Student C with a PhD Candidate in Sociology at Columbia to study the complexity of social and cultural issues in Chicago.
    • Outcome:In the end, Student C developed a policy proposal and did a presentation on educational intervention. She utilized the sociological theories she learned in the mentorship to conceptualize hands-on solutions. 

Application Counseling:

  • Graduate Coach Introduction: When it was time to put together Student C’s applications, we added a Graduate Coach with a background from Georgetown and Harvard to her team. As a trained writer and editor, Student C’s Graduate Coach would work with her closely to draft all application components and provide guidance through day-to-day assignments.
  • Application Persona: When it came time for Student C to apply, her Former Admissions Officer already had a strong concept of what Student C’s application persona would be. The central narrative of Student C’s application was “The Social entrepreneur actively tackling accessibility issues for migrant populations.” They developed this focus throughout Candidacy Building to make Student C’s profile clear, unique, and memorable. Student C and her counselors would now work to have her persona shine through in each application component. 
  • Activities List: By the time Student C was applying, she had many extracurriculars to go into her activities list! Her counselors carefully strategized this piece in order to capture her interest in social entrepreneurship. 
  • Personal Statement: Student C and her team settled on a topic that shared how Student C’s personal background motivated her to work with migrant populations. This would unpack her application persona in a personal way. With a finalized topic, Student C’s counselors helped her outline her personal statement, provided high-level comments, and gave in-line edits to set her up for success.
  • Supplemental Essays: Student C would need to write numerous supplemental essays for every school on her list. To stay organized and get the brainstorming process started, her Graduate Coach created a master supplemental essay document. This file included all the essay questions for every school Student C was applying to and a schedule to help Student C understand which essays to prioritize when.
  • Final Review: Once Student C had a completed draft of her application, her Former Admissions Officer conducted a Final Review, analyzing Student C’s application as if she was still in the admissions office. With her feedback on word choice, formatting, and more , Student C was ready to submit!

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